August 22, 2014

CDC estimates 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000 eight year olds) being identified with an autism spectrum disorder.    The number of children identified with ASD ranged from 1 in 175 children in Alabama to 1 in 45 children in New Jersey.
The surveillance summary report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010,” was published today in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Researchers reviewed records from community sources that educate, diagnose, treat and/or provide services to children with developmental disabilities. The criteria used to diagnose ASDs and the methods used to collect data have not changed.
The data continue to show that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls:  1 in 42 boys versus 1 in 189 girls. White children are more likely to be identified as having ASD than are black or Hispanic children.

If you suspect that your child may have ASD:
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about your concerns.
  • At the same time, call your local early intervention program or school system for a free evaluation.
  • It’s never too late to get help for your child.

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Children With Autism Have Extra Synapses In Their Brains | by Lisa Winter

Photo credit: (Left) Excess synapses in the brain of a child with autism (Right) Properly pruned synapses of a developmentally typical child. Credit: Guomei Tang/Mark S. Sonders/Columbia University Medical Center

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects about 1 in 68 children born in the United States. In an effort to find out why, a group of researchers led by David Sulzer at Columbia University Medical Center examined the synapses in the brains of children with autism. They discovered that during childhood, children with autism do not undergo regular synaptic pruning, resulting in having an excess. This also identified a potential conversion of genetic targets that could be used to create a new treatment for ASD. The paper was published in the journal Neuron
Throughout childhood development, regular cellular processes get rid of about half of the synapses the child was born with. Synapses allow neurons to communicate with one another through chemical or electrical signaling. Though some have speculated that excess synapses could be a sign of autism, there had not been any studies on the matter until now.  Read more