ATLANTA (AP) - Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday.
The rate of U.S. cases rose to about 1 in 88 children. The previous estimate was 1 in 110.
The new figure is from the latest in a series of studies that have been steadily increasing the government's autism estimate. This new number means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was only five years ago, and likely affects roughly 1 million U.S. children and teens.
Health officials attribute the increase largely to better recognition of cases, through wide screening and better diagnosis. But the search for the cause of autism is really only beginning, and officials acknowledge that other factors may be helping to drive up the numbers.
"We're not quite sure the reasons for the increase," said Dr. Coleen Boyle of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As in the past, advocacy groups seized on the new numbers as further evidence that autism research and services should get greater emphasis. The new figures indicate "a public health emergency that demands immediate attention," said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks.
The CDC study released Thursday is considered the most comprehensive U.S. investigation of autism prevalence to date. Researcher gathered data from areas in 14 states - Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.
They looked specifically at children who were 8 years old because most autism is diagnosed by that age. They checked health and school records and calculated how common autism was in each place and overall.
An earlier report based on 2002 findings estimated that about 1 in 150 children that age had autism or a related disorder such as Asperger's syndrome. After seeing 2006 data, the figure was revised to about 1 in 110. The estimate released Thursday, based on 2008 data, is 1 in 88.
Thursday, June 8 2017 12:44 PM EDT2017-06-08 16:44:50 GMT
A man wanted on charges in a kidnapping and shooting in Alabama is under arrest in New Jersey after a traffic stop. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police say an officer pulled over 23-year-old Birmingham...More >>
Investigators are searching for a motive in an Alabama murder-suicide that left a mother and her son dead. Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit assistant commander Capt. Kip Hart told the Tuscaloosa News that 71-year-old...More >>
Thursday, July 27 2017 10:42 AM EDT2017-07-27 14:42:50 GMT
The Associated Press has named Alex Sanz as its new deputy director of newsgathering for the U.S. South, a position overseeing breaking news and enterprise across all media formats in 13 states.More >>
ATLANTA (AP) - The Associated Press has named Alex Sanz as its new deputy director of newsgathering for the U.S. South, a position overseeing breaking news and enterprise across all media formats in 13 states.More >>
Thursday, June 8 2017 3:36 AM EDT2017-06-08 07:36:10 GMT
ATLANTA (AP) - Paul Millsap scored 22 points and the Atlanta Hawks took advantage of Cleveland's fourth-quarter collapse to overcome a 26-point deficit and stun the Cavaliers 126-125More >>
The Atlanta Braves have optioned struggling shortstop Dansby Swanson to Triple-A Gwinnett. Swanson was expected to be the figurehead of a rebuilding team. He was the first overall pick by Arizona in 2015 but has hit only...More >>
Thursday, June 8 2017 2:45 PM EDT2017-06-08 18:45:08 GMT
Authorities say a Georgia police officer responded to the wrong house and shot and injured the homeowner. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that Henry County police asked the agency to...More >>
A Georgia sheriff accused of exposing himself in an Atlanta park has pleaded guilty to violating two city ordinances after prosecutors agreed to drop a public indecency charge. News outlets report DeKalb County Sheriff...More >>