Monday, May 9, 2011

New Autism Research-- higher estimates than previously thought

New research came out today in the American Journal of Psychiatry on autism 
prevalence rates. In this study conducted in Seoul, South Korea researchers started by
sending out 55,266 screening questionnaires to parents and teachers of children between
the ages 7 and 12. They received 23, 234 responses from the regular education system 
(in addition to 294 students already identified through special education). Of these 
students 1, 214 received positive results from the screening and 286 of these received
a full clinical evaluation. of the 286 students who were evaluated, 201 were diagnosed 
as being on the autism spectrum. Based on their mathematical calculations they 
estimated that 1 in 38 children in this city have an autism spectrum disorder. 
Click  here for the full article.

The authors were surprised by a couple of things found in the study. Firstly, more girls 
were identified that the current numbers suggest and two thirds of the children had not 
previously been identified. This could be partly be due to cultural differences, but 
the authors expect that if we used similar research strategies here in the United States
that our numbers would actually be pretty similar (regarding the number of children 
with the disorder). Currently the CDC is considering doing a similar analysis, but this
research has not yet started. Clearly this study suggests that we have a lot more 
research to do and that this disorder is prevalent throughout the world and across
ethnic and geographic boundaries. Very interesting things to think about.

- Molly


  1. I heard about that study on the news this morning- just a two or three sentence story. Thanks for the link, I was meaning to look that up tonight.

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of this.

  2. I know, the numbers are hard to believe! I wonder if there will be more of a systematic push to screen children and evaluate them in schools?

  3. I would hope that if nothing else the pediatricians will start using the MCHAT. They acted like I was paranoid when I filled it out and brought it to my daughter's 18 month checkup. Unbelievable, especially given the fact that A's delays showed up between the 18 month and 24 month checkups.

  4. I wish the MD's would get on board with this...or something to early identify specturm kids. Interestng study.

  5. Christy and Lizbeth, you are so starts at the peds offices. Parents are having to push to have concerns heard but these screenings should be standard best practice!