US autism numbers soar
A new survey of parents suggests as many as one out of every 45 US children between three and 17 have autism, which far exceeds official estimates of one in 68. The results reflect a near doubling in autism rates over the past three years, but the US Centers for Disease Control, which released the data last week, says the shift is largely due to a change in the way the survey was worded.The new survey included the names of specific diagnoses in the autism spectrum, such as Asperger's, "to help cue recall of past diagnoses".CDC epidemiologist Benjamin Zablotsky said the new questions improved the accuracy of the survey, but did not reflect a surge in prevalence of autism in the US."We can't rule out entirely that there could be a true increase. But that that would require really dramatic and rapid changes to the risk factors involved, and that seems unlikely."