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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
March 2012

CDC Announces New Autism Numbers - Prevalence Rate Now 1 in 88

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a report released on March 29, 2012, the prevalence rate of autism has now increased to 1 in every 88 children, and boys are five times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder than girls.

To view the latest information from the CDC and description of the 2008 study and findings, click here.

To view a Reuters (March 29, 2012) article on the CDC report, “New high in U.S. autism rates inspires renewed debate,” click here.


Annual Costs of Autism Have More Than Tripled Since 2006

As reported in Science Codex (March 29, 2012), “Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced preliminary results of new research that estimates autism costs society a staggering $126 billion per year (U.S.) – a number that has more than tripled since 2006...”

Several representatives of Autism Speaks provided comments in regard to the recent study results --

Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, said, "Autism is a global public health crisis. The costs are staggering and will continue to rise as prevalence continues to increase. We know that early diagnosis and treatment are critical, so it is imperative that the U.S. and governments around the world step up their commitment to helping people living with autism today. The investment we make now is essential to reducing the long-term costs of autism."

"The burden on families affected by autism is enormous," continued Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr. "The extraordinary cost further exacerbates that burden. The time and effort involved in coordinating the care and treatment plan across a large number of providers has reduced the ability of many families to earn a living. Too many families are still denied insurance coverage for essential treatments and services, and the economics add to overall emotional burden on families."

To view the entire Science Codex (March 29, 2012) article, click here.


Light It Up Blue for Autism on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2012!

Join Autism Speaks in celebrating World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Light It Up Blue to help shine a light on autism. Whether it's your front porch or your local city hall, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism.

Light It Up Blue, in its third year, is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support.

For more information on the Light It Up Blue Campaign, click here.


CDC Set to Release New ASD Numbers

According to Michelle Diament from DisabilityScoop (March 9, 2012), the disability community can expect to see updated prevalence rates for ASD from the CDC as early as this month. Currently, the CDC places the rate of ASD at 1 in every 110 children, and those numbers are expected to increase rather than decrease. The CDC isn’t the only agency updating prevalence rates for ASD. Cathy Pratt from The Indiana Resource Center for Autism recently discussed Indiana’s new identification rate of 1 in 83 at the IRCA website (2012).

To read the DisabilityScoop (March 9, 2012), article, click here.

The view the article and information from The Indiana Resource Center for Autism, click here.


Moving the Needle: Lowering the Age of Diagnosis

Last week, Geri Dawson reported on an Autism Speaks blog (March 5, 2012) that representatives from various federal agencies including the CDC, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration met to discuss ways of improving and enhancing early diagnosis of ASD by lowering the age of diagnosis and increasing access to early intervention. While early screening assessments and tools have improved dramatically over the years, this has not translated into earlier diagnosis for many children and far too many are still missing treatment during those crucial early intervention years. Family empowerment was discussed as a positive tool towards improving outcomes, as well as utilizing task shifting to manage shortages through education and training of nursing staff, birth through three service providers, and community volunteers. The task force recognized the vital role of the pediatrician in linking families with appropriate services while advocating for use of improved technology such as smart phones, iPads, and video conferencing in underserved areas. Comments are encouraged and should be sent to

To read the Autism Speaks blog (March 5, 2012), click here.


New Under-Connectivity Research in ASD

New research from Carnegie Mellon University, as reported at Science Daily (March 6, 2012), suggests that white matter tracts, or pathways, in the brains of individuals with ASD are altered and abnormal. Such abnormal pathways affect the rate and speed information travels throughout the brain and supports previous global theories of under-connectivity in ASD. This model also suggests that poor connectivity between frontal and posterior lobes of the brain contribute to the social deficits seen in ASD, as well as, challenges in language comprehension. In previous research, such connectivity issues found in those with learning disabilities were repaired through extensive behavioral interventions. Future research in this area may yield new treatment possibilities for not only ASD, but also Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

To access this Science Daily (March 6, 2012) article, click here.


Anesthesia and Dental Care: Increased Use among All Preschool Aged Children

Catherine Saint Louis reported in the New York Times (March 6, 2012) on the recent statistics that indicate more and more preschool-aged children are put under general anesthesia for dental work. Data suggests cavities are increasing in this population, thus increasing the amount of dental work required in one sitting. While some families and dentists may be over-using the operating room for dental treatment, families raising children with ASD recognize the need for anesthesia in oral care. Children with ASD are often highly sensitive to the amount of touch required for dental treatments and are also negatively affected by the lights, sounds, and smells of the dental clinic. Sitting still for lengthy periods of time also proves difficult for children with ASD. Some families must resort to anesthesia for even routine teeth cleanings. Dentists continue to urge all families to reduce snacking, limit access to sugar snacks and juices, use fluoridated tap water instead of bottled water, and to schedule a first dental appointment for children by their first birthday, even if they do not have teeth yet.

To view the complete New York Times (March 6, 2012) article, please click here.


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