Autism is a common condition that manifests itself from an early age. The disorder is characterized by low social skills, repetitive behavior, and challenges to verbal and nonverbal communication. While autism rates are believed to have increased, a new study actually suggests the opposite.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, between 2014 and 2016 the autism rates have not increased in any significant way.
“…it is encouraging that the most recent national data failed to find any increased during the most recent three-year period,” states Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
While Adesman believes the decline of autism cases is encouraging, he notes that researchers still don’t know why the condition’s prevalence was so apparent in recent previous years.
According to a new report from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 2.41 percent of children in the United States have autism. The rate has since decreased to 1.47, researchers of the new study claim.
Senior author of the study and epidemiologist with the University of Iowa College of Public Health, Dr. Wei Bao, stresses that the results are to be taken with a grain of salt, mainly because the results were limited to three years. According to Bao, it is difficult to observe a noticeable increase or decrease over that span of time.
The study’s results were based on an annual poll called the National Health Interview Survey, which is conducted by the NIH.
Bao notes that the NIH data had different results than previous attempts, which might stem from underreported autism rates.
The study also revealed that boys are three times more likely to develop autism than girls. Bao and his colleagues couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason behind this, however, they theorize it might have something to do with the genetic difference between the two sexes. More so, they discovered that white and black children have a higher risk of developing autism than Hispanic children.
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