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Autism Cases on the Rise

A new study, published in October 2009 by the journal Pediatrics, reports an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study estimates cases of ASD at 1 out of every 91 kids between the ages of 3 and 17. This averages out to about one percent, or 673,000 children total.

Other recent research has also indicated growth at an alarming rate. A study conducted in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 1 in 150 children have ASD; today, they estimate that number has jumped to 1 in 100 8-year-olds in the U.S. as having this disorder. The CDC has also found a higher prevalence in boys, ranging from more than three to more than six boys for every girl with ASD.

These numbers are alarming, considering that in the 1970s and 1980s, the number of children diagnosed with ASD was about one in 2,000. But what is really behind these statistics?



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