Huge Spike in Autism Rates May Be Scaring Parents for No Reason

autism definitionFrom the reports we've had about autism rates skyrocketing in recent years, some have used the word "epidemic" to describe the number of kids being diagnosed with the spectrum disorder. Not a bad use of the word when you consider we've gone from 1 in 150 kids on the spectrum back in 2002 to 1 in 68 today (according to the CDC). But could it be that autism rates aren't climbing at all ... that the same number of kids have autism, but more are being diagnosed? That's what researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden are saying now.

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In a study published in the British Medical Journal, the scientists are now claiming that autism rates aren't rising at all but that better autism awareness is helping get kids diagnosed. And this is no flash in the pan study. The conclusions were drawn after the researchers looked at nearly 20,000 twins whose families were asked about their symptoms plus the diagnostic records for more than a million children born between 1993 and 2002.

More From The Stir: Autism From A to Z: Everything a Mom Needs to Know

By reviewing symptoms, they say they found that the incidence of autism has been "fairly steady for decades," even as Swedish rates increased. What's more, the researchers say there's no reason their findings don't translate to the diagnoses of autism in other developed nations -- including the United States.

So is this good news for moms? That all depends on how you look at it. Sure, this would indicate there is no sudden autism epidemic, but it still does not explain what's causing 1 in 68 kids to land on the spectrum in the first place.

What do you think is causing the spike in autism rates?

 

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