Research — 15 August 2014

here is no evidence of increase in autism in the past two decades, according to a new study. The findings counter the reports that the said rates of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are on the rise.

The study is first-of-its-kind analysis of research data from 1990 to 2010. bigstock-Child-Portrait-5332592

“We found that the prevalence of ASDs in 2010 was one in 132 people, which represents no change from 1990,” said lead researcher Dr Amanda Baxter from UQ’s Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research at the School of Population Health.

“We found that better recognition of the disorders and improved diagnostic criteria explain much of the difference in study findings over time.”

ASDs are disabling problems that stem from problems with brain development. The disorder targets people from a young age and are among the world’s most disabling childhood conditions.

According to the study, about 52 million children and adults around the globe meet diagnostic criteria for an ASD.

“As ASDs cause substantial lifelong health issues, an accurate understanding of the burden of these disorders can inform public health policy as well as help allocate necessary resources for education, housing and employment,” Dr Baxte said.

The study has been published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

This article first appeared on ‘Counsel&Heal’ on 14 August 2014.

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