An abstract of a study released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the study's "2010 [Autism Spectrum Disorder] prevalence estimate of 14.7 per 1,000 (95% CI = 14.3-15.1), or one in 68 children aged 8 years, was 29% higher than the preceding estimate of 11.3 per 1,000 (95% CI = 11.0-11.7), or one in 88 children aged 8 years in 2008." Of the sites surveyed, four counties in New Jersey had the highest prevalence estimate, with 21.9 per 1,000 (95% CI = 20.4-23.6). National Public Radio quotes CDC experts that "skyrocketing estimates don't necessarily mean that kids are more likely to have autism now than they were 10 years ago."
"It may be that we're getting better at identifying autism," says , director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.Researchers say intervention in early childhood may help the developing brain compensate by rewiring to work around the trouble spots.
Another abstract of a "small, explorative study" from The New England Journal of Medicine describes Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism and suggests "a probable dysregulation of layer formation and layer-specific neuronal differentiation at prenatal developmental stages." CBS News demystifies the study as "brain abnormalities may begin in utero." [Ed's note: Link intermittent]
Last month, we discussed findings that suggest that delaying fatherhood may increase the risk of fathering children with disorders including Autism.
You are technically correct, but consider the DSM isn't the leading edge. The ADA tends to follow the trend of medicine when the majority of opinions shift. So by 2010, the number of medical professionals were already redefining what they considered autism (I understand it's a spectrum, but my point stands regardless) and so the APA was already being pressured to redefine it. By 2012, presumably the APA got enough pressure to make it official. These CDC studies were done on the upswing in diagnosing and attention, so of course more doctors were aware of it.
The takeaway did a great story here (http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/182190-what-happ ens-if-we-define-autism-new-ways/) and I wish I could find an even better story I had heard, but the internet is too big and I'm busy.
The result is definitely not surprising and this will draw more attention to the subject at hand. Ridding the world of all the shitty associations people have with autism isn't gonna happen any time soon, but this is a start.