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Autism spectrum disorder rate calculated at record high in 2014.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affected an estimated 1.68 per 1,000 8-year-olds in 11 U.S. states in 2014, the highest number since monitoring began in 2000, a new federal report found.

The number suggests the ASD diagnosis rate has continued its steady rise since 2000-2002, when only 0.67 per 1,000 8-year-olds were believed to have the condition.

The report also found that, while the gap in diagnosis rates between blacks and whites has dwindled, ASD prevalence "continues to vary among certain racial/ethnic groups and communities." Indeed, the ASD rate approached 3% in some communities, according to the report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The findings are based on statistics gathered by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which uses multiple strategies to track ASD diagnoses among 8-year-olds in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The network, which started its work in 2000, monitors 8-year-old children because that's the age when ASD prevalence is thought to be at its highest.

The new report, by Jon Baio of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and his associates relied upon ASD definitions from DSM-IV-TR and DSM5. While the definitions seem to be quite different, the report states, "the prevalence of ASD and characteristics of children identified by each case definition were similar in 2014." Prevalence estimates in the report are only based on DSM-IV-TR criteria.

In total, the report for 2014 tracked 325,483 children aged 8 years, which accounted for 8% of the entire U.S. population in that age group. Of those, 5,473 were determined to have ASD.

The overall ASD prevalence was 16.8 per 1,000 (1 in 59) children. In 2000, the rate was estimated at 6.7 per 1,000. (The researchers caution that the states included in the monitoring network have changed over time.)

New Jersey had the highest prevalence of ASD (29.3 per 1,000, or 2.93%), and the difference when compared with each of the other 10 states was statistically significant (P less than .01).

The overall ASD rate was 26.6 per 1,000 for boys and 6.6 per 1,000 for girls (P less than .01). For whites, it was 17.2 per 1,000, while blacks (16.0 per 1,000) and Hispanics (14.0 per 1,000) had lower rates.

When intelligence quotient information was available, 44% of those with ASD had IQ greater than 85. Blacks (44%) and Hispanics (35%) with ASD were more likely than whites (22%) to have IQs less than or equal to 70, a sign of intellectual disability, the researcher reported.

Of the children with ASD, 80% previously had been diagnosed with the condition or determined to be eligible for autism services.

In light of the report findings, the authors wrote, "With prevalence of ASD reaching nearly 3% in some communities and representing an increase of 150% since 2000, ASD is an urgent public health concern that could benefit from enhanced strategies to help identify ASD earlier; to determine possible risk factors; and to address the growing behavioral, educational, residential and occupational needs of this population."

Funding and disclosures were not reported.

SOURCE: Baio J et al. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Apr 27;67(6): 1-28.


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Title Annotation:CDC NEWS
Author:Dotinga, Randy
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Date:Jun 1, 2018
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