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.
From the mentioned article (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6302.pdf):
"The findings in this report are subject to at least fivelimitations. First, although data in this report were obtainedthrough the largest ongoing investigation of ASD prevalencein the United States, the surveillance sites were not selectedto be representative of the entire United States, nor were theyselected to be representative of the states in which they arelocated. Limitations regarding population size and racial/ethnicdistribution among sites were considered when interpretingresults. However, differences by sex and race/ethnicity reportedin the overall findings might be confounded by site, and thesepatterns might not be universal among all sites.Second, population denominators used for this report werebased on the 2010 decennial census. Decennial populationcounts are considered to be more accurate than postcensalestimates, which are modeled for years following a decennialcensus and for intercensal estimates, which are modeled foryears in between the two most recent decennial census counts(28). ADDM reports from nondecennial surveillance yearssuch as 2002, 2006, and 2008 are likely influenced by greatererror in the population denominators used for those previoussurveillance years, which were based on postcensal estimates. Forthis reason and others described previously, comparisons withprevious ADDM findings should be interpreted with caution.The method of adjusting census counts using school enrollmentdata, as described in the analytic methods section of this report,introduces another source of denominator error specific to theArizona ADDM site.Third, three of the nine sites with access to review childrenâ€™seducation records did not receive permission to do so in allindividual school districts within the siteâ€™s overall surveillancearea. In North Carolina, the impact of this could be addressedin the evaluation of missing records, and because the schooldistricts participating in this study comprised the vast majority(>90%) of the overall population covered by the NorthCarolina ADDM site, prevalence estimates for North Carolinawere similar whether including or excluding the geographicarea encompassed by the nonparticipating school district.In Colorado, the participating school districts compriseda relatively small portion (10%) of the overall populationcovered by the Colorado ADDM site. Consistent with theresults from Colorado as reported for the 2008 surveillance year(11), prevalence estimates for the geographic area encompassedby the participating school districts were higher than for theoverall surveillance area. In Alabama, where the participatingschool districts also comprised a relatively small portion (about10%) of the overall population covered, prevalence estimatesfor the geographic areas encompassed by participating schooldistricts were similar to those from the remainder of the overallsurveillance area. For all three of these sites, the extent to whichthese comparisons reflect completeness of case ascertainmentor geographic differences such as regional and socioeconomicdisparities in access to services is uncertain. Study of this topicin much greater depth is planned.Fourth, all results describing intellectual ability wererestricted to sites that had these data for at least 70% of childrenwith ASD, with the proportion ranging from 76% to 96%.Therefore, findings that address intellectual ability might notbe generalizable to all ADDM sites or, among the seven sitesreporting data on intellectual ability, to those children withASD for whom these data were not available.Finally, throughout this report, race and ethnicity arepresented in very broad terms and should not be interpretedas generalizable to all persons within those categories. Forexample, children were categorized as Hispanic regardlessof their racial group or geographic origin, which mightdiffer among ADDM sites. Likewise, other attributes suchas socioeconomic status might differ widely among childrencategorized in any single category of race/ethnicity."