Largest Autism Study to Date Released

The initial results of the largest study of autism to date have been released. The study, which looked at 8-year olds in 2000 and 2002, was funded and conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a controversial player in the debates over autism and vaccines.

The key conclusions:

  • The study has found that autism spectrum disorders (defined in the study as including PDD-NOS, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified) are being diagnosed at the astonishing rate of 1 in 150 children. (A Los Angeles Times article on the study notes that since the study parameters were different from previous studies it is possible that this does not indicate an increase in autism.)
  • Prevalence of autism diagnosis rates varied greatly among states included in the study, from a low of 3.3 per 1,000 children in Alabama to a high of 10.6 per 1,000 children in New Jersey. It is hoped that the CDC will investigate whether these wide disparities are due to vaccination rates, diagnosis abilities within the state, environmental factors, or genetic factors, among other potential contributing factors.
  • The study continues to take the CDC's long-held position that there is no relationship between autism and childhood vaccinations.

Cure Autism Now and the Autism Society of America have both commented, demanding greater attention to the disorders and increased funding for research and treatment.

You can access, download and read the full published results in a PDF file at the CDC's website.

For an article on the study in USA Today, click here.

Diedre Wachbrit is an attorney in Westlake Village, California, and a co-founder of the Academy of Special Needs Planners. Article Last Modified: 02/12/2007