Study Offers Clues To Soaring Autism Rates
[Source: Disability Scoop]
The substantial rise in autism in recent years is primarily, but not entirely, due to changes in how the developmental disorder is defined and reported, a new study suggests.
In a review of records on every person born in Denmark between 1980 and 1991, researchers found that major changes to the diagnostic criteria for autism in the mid-1990s accounted for a third of the increase in people with the condition, according to findings published this month in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
“Putting it simply, we can say that a person with an autism diagnosis has a slightly different symptom profile after the middle of the 1990s than previously, which is reflected in the statistics,” said Stefan Nygaard Hansen of Aarhus University in Denmark who led the effort.
For the study, researchers used information from Danish health registries to track the experiences of 677,915 people from their births through 2011. Overall, they found that 3,956 were ultimately diagnosed with autism, the vast majority of whom were identified after 1995.
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