Monday, April 7, 2014

CDC Reports Continuing Rise in Autism Prevalence Rates

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1 in 68 8-year-old children in the United States (14.7 per 1,000) had autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2010, the most recent year for which these data are available. This number is about 30% higher than the prevalence of ASD that the CDC reported in its previous survey released two years ago, which was 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000). The CDC said a child meets its criteria for ASD "if a comprehensive evaluation of that child completed by a qualified professional describes behaviors consistent with the...DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for any of the following conditions: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (including atypical autism), or Asperger disorder."

"The CDC report was based on a review of records rather than actual clinical assessments," David Fassler, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and APA treasurer, told Psychiatric News. "As a result, it tells us more about how often autism is being diagnosed as opposed to changes in the underlying incidence. The data were also derived from relatively few states—just 11 were surveyed. However, even in this limited sample, the geographic variations are quite striking and clearly warrant further investigation. From a clinical perspective, increased awareness is leading to earlier recognition and more accurate diagnoses. The real challenge is to make sure that all these kids have access to the comprehensive services they need and deserve."

More information about autism and research into potential treatment options can be found in the Psychiatric News articles, "Pieces of Autism Puzzle Slowly Coming Together" and "Oxytocin Treatment May Improve Social Communication in Autism."

(Image: ivelin radkov/


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