Rate of autism disorders climbs to 1 percent among 8-year-olds

Dec 18, 2009

Autism and related development disorders are becoming more common, with a prevalence rate approaching 1 percent among American 8-year-olds, according to new data from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study is a partnership between UAB, the CDC and 10 other U.S. research sites. It shows that one in 110 American 8-year-olds is classified as having an spectrum disorder (ASD), a 57 percent increase in ASD cases compared to four years earlier.

The new findings, published Dec. 18 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), highlight the need for social and educational services to help those affected by the condition, said Beverly Mulvihill, Ph.D., a UAB associate professor of public health and co-author on the study.

ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities such as autism and Asperger disorder that are characterized by delays or changes in childhood socialization, communication and behavior.

"This is a dramatic increase in the number of kids classified as autistic or documented on the spectrum of similar disorders," Mulvihill said. "It is not entirely clear what is causing the rise, but we know major collaborative efforts are needed to improve the understanding and lives of people and families impacted."

The MMWR study discusses possible factors that might contribute to the increase in ASD cases. They include a broader definition of autism disorders and a heightened awareness of ASD by parents, doctors, educators and other professionals. The findings do not address whether or not any of the increase is attributable to a true increase in the risk of developing ASD, more frequent and earlier diagnoses, and other factors.

Data comes from the Autism and Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a collection of 11 sites in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. ADDM reviewers are uniformly trained to review and confirm cases; some children included in the study have documented ASD symptoms but never received a diagnosis.

The study also found that boys are 4.5 times more likely than girls to have ASD, a finding that confirms earlier studies, says Martha Wingate, Dr.P.H., a UAB assistant professor of and study co-author.

"It still is not clear why males more frequently are affected," Wingate said. "One thing we know for sure is that more research is needed to quantify the effects of single or multiple factors such as diagnosis patterns, inclusion of milder cases and other components."

The ADDM sites are not selected based on any statistical pattern, but the 300,000-plus children included in the study represent 8 percent of the nation's 8-year-olds.

Explore further: Saudi Arabia reports three more deaths from MERS virus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study estimates one in 91 individuals have autism

Nov 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders marked by impaired social interactions, restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, and communication impairment, which persist throughout ...

Toward a long-sought saliva test for autism

Jan 12, 2009

Researchers in Italy are reporting discovery of abnormal proteins in the saliva of autism patients that could eventually provide a clue for the molecular basis of this severe developmental disorder and could be used as a ...

Placenta seen to yield clues to autism

Jun 26, 2006

Researchers at Yale University medical school say the placenta may yield clues to problems that lead to onset of autism, a developmental disorder.

Autism explained by weak brain links

Apr 10, 2006

Poor communication between brain areas in people with autism may give clues to difficulties they have in relating with other people, a study has found.

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

Apr 20, 2014

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Apr 20, 2014

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 13

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mysticshakra
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 18, 2009
Its vaccines stupid. Autism was unheard of before mass vaccination started. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.
thales
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 18, 2009
Its vaccines stupid. Autism was unheard of before mass vaccination started. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.


No no, the problem is electricity! Autism was unheard of before we started massively using all this magic zip-zap. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.
thales
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 18, 2009
Its vaccines stupid. Autism was unheard of before mass vaccination started. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.

You know, I've given it some more thought. The real problem must be airplanes. Think about it: All that air getting pushed around all the time, and you think it won't have an effect on our brain chemistry? Autism was unheard of before airplanes were invented. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2009
Its vaccines stupid. Autism was unheard of before mass vaccination started. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.

This PDF says you're wrong.

http://www.scoinc...d014.pdf
thales
4 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2009
You know what else was unheard of before mass vaccinations started? Polio! Oh wait... no, that was after.
NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2009
it's the church of identity stupid. The 21st century is encouraging schizophrenia by making people change identity. Its an open secret.
HealingMindN
5 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2009
Of all the origins of disease, the mainstream medical establishment is the leading cause. Ask any epidemiologist. Thimerosol, anti-psychotics, neuroleptics and all the other garbage pushed on kids is meant to bring down humanity.

BTW: When conventional doctors want to push garbage on my family, I get in their faces and they back down.
wiserd
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2009
Kids with autism are more likely to have mutations in glutatione peroxidase, IIRC. That suggests that at least some cases of autism have a chemical cause. (glutathione is used by your body to detox various chemicals, mercury included.)
Sinister181
5 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2009
it's the church of identity stupid. The 21st century is encouraging schizophrenia by making people change identity. Its an open secret.


Actually, Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness.
Sinister181
not rated yet Dec 19, 2009
it's the church of identity stupid. The 21st century is encouraging schizophrenia by making people change identity. Its an open secret.


Actually, Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness, characterized by hallucinations, delusions and an altered sense of reality. *Sigh*
thales
not rated yet Dec 20, 2009
Going, don't be a hit-and-run coward. You have such a problem with vaccinations? Post a comment.
Shootist
not rated yet Dec 24, 2009
Its vaccines stupid. Autism was unheard of before mass vaccination started. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.


No no, the problem is electricity! Autism was unheard of before we started massively using all this magic zip-zap. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.


No. No, the problem is aeroplanes. Autism was unheard of before we started massively using all those flight corridors and pumping all that water vapor and CO2 into the (holy) atmosphere. Aboriginal cultures don't have this issue.
Distort
not rated yet Dec 24, 2009
I think all you people who just commented proved that The Internet is causing us to catch Aspergers.

Aboriginal Cultures mean absolutely nothing in this context, so kindly quit the bickering. With as sharp of an increase as 1 percent in the past four years something has obviously changed in our very recent past. We raise our kids so entirely differently from the ways we have for centuries that there's zero room for comparison. Hell, raising kids in front of Sponge Bob is probably enough.

More news stories

Scientists make critical end-stage liver discovery

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers in the University of Arizona's College of Pharmacy has discovered a molecular pathway that could be key to creating new therapeutics that would slow or even reverse ...

Solving cancer's secrets

Some fathers play ball with their sons. Or take them fishing. Chuck Perou's father took his son to his pathology lab to show him how a pathologist conducts tests and runs experiments. Perou, a nature junky ...

Harm-reduction program optimizes HIV/AIDS prevention

(Medical Xpress)—New research from UC San Francisco and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has found that clients participating in a harm-reduction substance use treatment program, the Stonewall Project, decrease their use ...

Meth mouth menace

Something was up in Idaho. While visiting a friend in Athol, a small town north of Coeur d'Alene, Jennifer Towers, director of research affairs at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, noticed ...