No rise in autism in US in past three years: study

January 2, 2018
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

After more than a decade of steady increases in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether or not their had been diagnosed with (ASD).

"The estimated ASD prevalence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years," said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood.

The ADDM had documented a "continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010."

The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translate to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by "differences in study design and participant characteristics."

The JAMA report, based on the annual National Health Interview Survey, did not delve into "underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also noted a plateau in the rate in 2016, but said it was "too soon to know whether ASD prevalence in the United States might be starting to stabilize."

Explore further: Autism may be overdiagnosed in the United States

More information: Guifeng Xu et al, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among US Children and Adolescents, 2014-2016, JAMA (2018). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.17812

Related Stories

Autism may be overdiagnosed in the United States

October 27, 2015
(HealthDay)—As many as 9 percent of American children diagnosed with autism may not have the disorder, according to a federal government study published online Oct. 20 in Autism.

Time between pregnancies may affect autism risk

November 22, 2017
Investigators have found a link between the amount of time between pregnancies and Autism Spectrum Disorder in children. The findings are published in Autism Research.

U.S. autism rate unchanged at 1 in 68 kids: CDC

March 31, 2016
(HealthDay)—The autism rate among school-aged children in the United States has held steady in recent years, but it's too early to determine whether rates are stabilizing, according to a federal government report released ...

Individuals with autism at substantially heightened risk for injury death

March 21, 2017
Deaths in individuals with autism increased 700 percent in the past 16 years and were three times as likely as in the general population to be caused by injuries, according to a new study by Columbia University's Mailman ...

Another study finds no link between vaccine, autism

April 21, 2015
Yet another scientific study has found no link between autism and the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), according to US research published on Tuesday.

Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses

July 22, 2015
The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among students in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due in large part to the reclassification of individuals who previously ...

Recommended for you

Nearly imperceptible fluctuations in movement correspond to autism diagnoses

January 17, 2018
A new study led by researchers at Indiana University and Rutgers University provides the strongest evidence yet that nearly imperceptible changes in how people move can be used to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, including ...

Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors

January 16, 2018
Scientists have long tried to pin down the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have expanded the search for genetic links from identifying genes toward epigenetics, the study of factors that control gene expression ...

Being bilingual may help autistic children

January 16, 2018
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have a hard time switching gears from one task to another. But being bilingual may actually make it a bit easier for them to do so, according to a new study which was recently ...

No rise in autism in US in past three years: study

January 2, 2018
After more than a decade of steady increases in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

Autism therapy: Brain stimulation restores social behavior in mice

December 13, 2017
Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.

Social phobia linked to autism and schizophrenia

December 11, 2017
New Swinburne research shows that people who find social situations difficult tend to have similar brain responses to those with schizophrenia or autism.

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tblakely1357
not rated yet Jan 02, 2018
Has there really been an increase in autism or just an increase in diagnosing autism?
katesisco
5 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2018
This seems to be based on what parents were led to believe. The school room is the true indicator. If there are across-the-board standards then the results will be there. What are the results at the end of the 3rd grade?
aksdad
not rated yet Jan 02, 2018
tblakely1357, likely just an increase in diagnosing it. When I was younger we didn't have a name for it other than "he's weird". Now we have a name for it, autism spectrum disorder. In all that time I've known only 4 people who were clearly autistic, and they were from two families. Genetics or epigenetics appear to be the most significant influence.
rrwillsj
not rated yet Jan 03, 2018
All three of the previous commentators are correct. Every large population has a multitude of environmental factors, for and against simultaneously.

Then you pile in the crapshoot of genetic complexity and you have a recipe for mass confusion.

Unfortunately there are many fraudulent quacks, bunco artists and anti-science demagogues who prey upon the overwhelmed parents of autistic children.

Those parents of autistic children that I've known, feel guilt and fear of being blamed for the affliction. But genetics is a lot more complicated then the simple-mindeds 'blame game'.

An example is. At my age, I still have a full head of hair. Yet my father (whom I have always strongly resembled) went bald as did the other men in his lineage.

However, my Mother's Father died with a full head of hair. Many genetic quirks such as this example may skip generations. Which leads to the whole dominant and recessive gene mess.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.