Prevalence of autism in early 1970s may have been underestimated

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7313.633 (Published 15 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:633
  1. Helen Heussler, lecturer in community child health (honey.heussler@nottingham.ac.uk),
  2. Leon Polnay, professor of community paediatrics,
  3. Elizabeth Marder, consultant community paediatrician,
  4. Penny Standen, reader in health psychology and learning disability,
  5. Chin Lyn U, formerly data manager BCS70 Nottingham,
  6. Neville Butler, senior research fellow BCS70
  1. Division of Child Health, School of Human Development, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  2. Department of Paediatrics, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 32UH
  3. Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  4. Division of Psychiatry, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG3 6AA
  5. 80 Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6UG

    EDITOR—Recently, concerns about an apparent increase in the prevalence of autism in the general population, and the pathophysiology behind this, have been prominent in the press. Before these concerns can be addressed we need to be sure that the prevalence has truly increased. A cohort study was thought suitable to provide an insight into whether the prevalence of autistic disorders has increased.

    In the British cohort 1970 study …

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