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Autism Spectrum Disorder May Affect 673,000 Children in U.S.

Data from large national study suggests point-prevalence has increased to 110 per 10,000

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, the point-prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in children may be significantly higher than previously estimated, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in Pediatrics.

Michael D. Kogan, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Md., and colleagues analyzed 2007 National Survey of Children's Health data collected from 78,037 children ages 3 to 17 years.

The researchers estimated that the weighted current autism spectrum disorder point-prevalence is 110 per 10,000, and that the disorder affects approximately 673,000 U.S. children. They also found boys are four times as likely as girls to be affected, Caucasian children are more likely to be affected than African-American and multiracial children, and that nearly 40 percent of children who had been diagnosed with the condition were reported to not currently have it.

"The observed point-prevalence is higher than previous U.S. estimates. More inclusive survey questions, increased population awareness, and improved screening and identification by providers may partly explain this finding," the authors conclude.

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