According to studies by the CDC and other experts, there has been a 78 percent increase in autism diagnoses in the past decade.
(Image source: DiseaseTreatments.com ) BY JIM FLINK ANCHOR NATHAN BYRNE A huge spike in the number of children diagnosed with autism in the United States has parents and medical professionals asking — what’s going on? First to the study — released by the Centers for Disease Control , or CDC. It saw a 78 percent increase in autism diagnoses in the last decade. And experts point to a subgroup — where diagnoses seemed to spike. “Is the increased recognition of autism in traditionally underserved minorities. Children who are Hispanic and African American. This is important because the children are underdiagnosed.” So better diagnosis might lead to higher numbers. Along with — up til now — a broader definition of what’s included. TIME has details. “Autism used to be diagnosed only in children with severe language and social problems and repetitive behaviors, but several years ago, researchers expanded the criteria for diagnosis to also include autism spectrum disorders — a wider range of developmental conditions associated with autism.” Autism is still — largely — broken down by gender and geography. CBS News reports... “Boys are still about five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism in the U.S. than girls, according to the CDC report. It estimated one in 54 boys have autism, while one in 252 girls do. The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah.” Still — a 78 percent increase in diagnoses seems to go beyond some of the explanations. CNN notes, it can’t be focused on genetics alone. “Researcher have identified many genes which are related to autism. But genes are only one part of the equation. And genes alone wouldn’t change that fast in only ten years.” WebMD notes, until there is a consistency in methodology used in gathering data, the numbers may continue to vary widely. “Study sites that relied only on health records to identify children with autism had significantly lower autism rates than sites that had both health and education records. In Colorado, for example, there was a single county with access to both education and health records. The autism rate there was twice as high as the rate in six Colorado counties with health records only.”