Research News

Rise in US autism cases is mostly due to changes in diagnosis, study claims

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4209 (Published 04 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4209
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

An apparent fourfold rise in autism cases in the United States in the first decade of the 21st century was mostly due to the reclassification of children with neurodevelopmental disorders rather than a true spike in cases, research published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics has shown.1

Statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the prevalence of autism had rocketed from 1 in 5000 in 1975 to 1 in 150 in 2002 and to 1 in 68 in 2012. These figures were already widely suspected to represent changes in diagnostic practice …

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