June 7, 2012

CDC: 1 in 88 Kids Has Autism; Docs Debate Cause

ABC - Diane Sawyer
Autism Diagnosis: 1 in 88 Children Watch Video

By LAWRENCE BORGES, M.D., ABC News Medical Unit

One in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, by age 8, according to a study released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- a rate that has risen far above the 2006 estimate of 1 in 110.

But experts remain locked in debate about whether these numbers tell the whole story.

The CDC report, which analyzed data from 2008, indicates a 23 percent rise in diagnoses of ASDs over a two-year period.

The news could be most alarming for boys. The study reports that on average 1 in 54 boys was diagnosed with autism, compared to only 1 in 252 girls.

But what this rise actually means is still a mystery. Some doctors contacted by ABC News believe a broader definition of autism has contributed to rising rates.  READ MORE >>

Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo | Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter

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