Research shows no rise in autism in last two decades

Posted by egg3 at Aug 15, 2014 11:36 AM |
Professor Terry Brugha involved in research which reveals no change in prevalence of autism spectrum disorders between 1990 and 2010
Research shows no rise in autism in last two decades

Professor Terry (Traolach) Brugha of the University's Department of Health Sciences.

Professor Terry Brugha (pictured) from the Department of Health Sciences has been involved in a world-first study researching the global rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from 1990 to 2010 and has found that over the 20 year period the prevalence rates of autism has remained steady, despite reports that the rate of autism disorder diagnosis has been on the rise.

The study was led by Dr Amanda Baxter from UQ’s Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research. Professor Brugha has been advising the University of Queensland and the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) group on rates of autism in adults and in older life in the general population.

ASDs are disabling, neurodevelopment disorders that affect children from a young age. The study revealed that about 52 million children and adults across the globe currently suffer from an ASD.

Professor Brugha said: “The analyses from the GBD group reported in this paper support and provide further explanations to the conclusion of the Leicester research which is that the true rate of autism in the population is stable over time suggesting that it is the rate of diagnosis of autism only that is increasing.”

Furthermore, the research shows that factors present in early childhood such as vaccination have no effect on autism prevalence. There was some evidence to suggest that maternal stress, obesity and advanced parental age may increase the risk of ASDs, but further research is needed in order to confirm this.

The study is the largest ever to effectively assess rates of ASDs in the wider community. The research has been published in journal Psychological Medicine.

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