themcglynn.com

29 Mar

The rate of U.S. cases of Autism and related disorders rose to about 1 in 88 children. The previous estimate was 1 in 110.

Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited

Leah: So the CDC has declared childhood obesity an epidemic but not autism….?

The McGlynn: The above is the continuing excuse used by the CDC for countless years.

How long must we read such nonsense and not endeavor with our full might to find the cause!

Updated: 9:07 a.m. Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Posted: 9:00 a.m. Thursday, March 29, 2012

Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited photo
Associated Press
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, in her bedroom on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in New York. Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday, March 2012. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited photo
Associated Press
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, in her bedroom on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in New York. Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday, March 2012. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited photo
Associated Press
Christopher Astacio stands in the doorway watching, as his daughter Cristina, 2, recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, plays in her bedroom on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in New York. Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday, March 2012. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited photo
Associated Press
Cristina Astacio, 2, recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, reacts as reads with her dad Christopher Astacio on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in New York. Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday, March 2012. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

By MIKE STOBBE

The Associated Press

ATLANTA —

Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday.

The rate of U.S. cases of autism and related disorders rose to about 1 in 88 children. The previous estimate was 1 in 110.

The new figure is from the latest in a series of studies that have been steadily increasing the government’s autism estimate. This new number means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was only five years ago, and likely affects roughly 1 million U.S. children and teens.

Health officials attribute the increase largely to better recognition of cases, through wide screening and better diagnosis. But the search for the cause of autism is really only beginning, and officials acknowledge that other factors may be helping to drive up the numbers.

“We’re not quite sure the reasons for the increase,” said Coleen Boyle of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Autism is diagnosed by making judgments about a child’s behavior; there are no blood or biologic tests. For decades, the diagnosis was given only to kids with severe language and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. The definition of autism has gradually expanded, and “autism” is now shorthand for a group of milder, related conditions, including Asperger’s syndrome. Meanwhile, there’s been an explosion in autism-related treatment and services for children.

As in the past, advocacy groups seized on the new numbers as further evidence that autism research and services should get greater emphasis. The new figures indicate “a public health emergency that demands immediate attention,” said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

The CDC study released Thursday is considered the most comprehensive U.S. investigation of autism prevalence to date. Researcher gathered data from areas in 14 states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

They looked specifically at 8-year-old children because most autism is diagnosed by that age. They checked health and school records to see which children met the criteria for autism, even if they hadn’t been formally diagnosed. Then, the researchers calculated how common autism was in each place and overall.

An earlier report based on 2002 findings estimated that about 1 in 150 children that age had autism or a related disorder such as Asperger’s. After seeing 2006 data, the figure was revised to about 1 in 110. The estimate released Thursday, based on 2008 data, is 1 in 88.

The study also found that autism disorders were almost five times more common in boys. And that an increasingly large proportion of children with autism have IQs of 85 or higher — a finding that contradicts a past assumption that most autistic kids had IQs of 70 or lower.

Also, higher autism rates were found in some places than others. For example in Utah, as many as 1 in 47 of the 8-year-olds had an autism spectrum disorder. In New Jersey, 1 in 49 did.

Alabama was at the other end the scale, with only about 1 in 210 identified as autistic. The difference was attributed to less information out of Alabama. Researchers were not able to access school information in that state and a few others, and as a result believe they have a less complete picture.

That’s a reasonable explanation, said Zachary Warren, director of an autism treatment and research institute at Vanderbilt University.

“How you go looking for something is going to affect what you find,” he said.

In the early 1990s, only a few out of every 10,000 children were diagnosed with the condition, based on some small studies in individual states or cities. But the numbers began to change dramatically after 2000, when Congress directed federal health officials to do more autism research, and CDC started the larger study to see how common autism is.

CDC is also studying the cause of autism, which has remained a mystery.

From the CDC:

Tracking the Number of Children Identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders

CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities has been tracking ASDs for over a decade through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The newest estimates from the ADDM Network are based on data collected in 14 areas of the United States during 2008. These 14 communities comprised over eight percent of the United States population of 8-year-olds in 2008. Information was collected on children who were 8 years old because previous work has shown that, by this age, most children with ASDs have been identified for services.

CDC estimates 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000) has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

  • .This marks a 23% increase since our last report in 2009. And, a 78% increase since our first report in 2007. Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their local communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors in unknown.
  • The number of children identified with ASDs varied widely across the 14 ADDM Network sites, from 1 in 47 (21.2 per 1,000) to 1 in 210 (4.8 per 1,000).
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
  • The largest increases over time were among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). We suspect that some of this increase is due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups. However, this finding explains only part of the increase over time, as more children are being identified in all groups.
  • There were increases over time among children without intellectual disability (those having IQ scores above 70), although there were also increases in the estimated prevalence of ASDs at all levels of intellectual ability.
  • More children are being diagnosed at earlier ages—a growing number of them by age 3. Still, most children are not diagnosed until after they reach age 4, even though early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills. This is why CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program is essential. Through this program, CDC provides free tools to help parents track their child’s development and free resources for doctors and educators. CDC is also working with states and communities to improve early identification.
  • CDC also provided leadership in establishing Healthy People 2020 objectives and supporting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all children be screened by age 2, because early screening and diagnosis improve access to services during a child’s most critical developmental period.

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