The Epidemiology of Autism
This chapter reviews the major epidemiological studies performed in the field of autism (including so-called ASDs). Studies published in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and from 2000 are considered. It is shown that autistic disorder occurs in approximately 0.2% of the general population of children. Spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome, are probably considerably more common than “classic” autism. The link between ASD and male gender remains strong according to recent prevalence studies, but it is likely that females are currently underdiagnosed. The link between autism and various other types of brain disorders and brain damaging factors is strong, although the pattern is different and more complex once the whole spectrum of clinical presentations of autism is taken into account.
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