By Tim Culbert, MD
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States has risen over the last four decades. Two recent studies (one in Pediatrics and the other in JAMA Pediatrics) found that rates continue to grow, reporting that about 1 in every 40 children are diagnosed with ASD.
Why are so many more kids being diagnosed with ASD? Two key possibilities:
- There’s no real rise in the number of children with ASD. Instead, there’s more awareness of autism, better diagnostic tools, and a changing definition of ASD. Head to the bottom of this post for some extras about the history and evolution of autism.
- There is an actual rise in ASD prevalence. This could be related to increased exposure of environmental toxins both in the womb and out. This exposure could be causing negative interactions with certain genetic tendencies.
Another big problem: 30% of children with ASD are not receiving appropriate treatments. Treatments for ASD include medications,...