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Frequency of autism spectrum disorder in US stable in recent years

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Bottom Line: The frequency of autism spectrum disorder among U.S. children and adolescents was stable from 2014-2016 based on data from a nationally representative annual survey.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Previous surveys have reported a steady increase in the frequency of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in U.S. children over the past two decades but a recent estimate suggested a plateau in 2012.

Who: 30,502 U.S. children and adolescents

What and When: Estimate of the frequency of ASD from 2014-2016 using data from the National Health Interview Survey

How (Study Design): This is a descriptive study, so the researchers did not gather information about underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.

Authors: Wei Bao, M.D., Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, and coauthors.

Results – There was no apparent increase over the three year study period in the frequency of ASD.

Study Limitations: ASD diagnosis was self-reported rather than measured or diagnosed by experts in child health.

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17812)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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