Number of children with autism now 1 in 50, says CDC

Posted on Mar 26, 2013 in Autism

In a report published Wednesday, The Center for Disease Control now estimates that 1 in 50 children have autism, much higher than previously thought.

The CDC released a report a year ago estimating 1 in 88 American children has a form of autism spectrum disorder – neurodevelopmental disorders that lead to impaired language, communication and social skills. The report looked at medical and educational records of all 8 year-olds living in 14 areas of the United States during 2008.

However, a new study of the year 2012, 1 in 50 kids between the ages of 6 and 17 has some form of autism, compared with one in 88 only five years earlier, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve been underestimating how common autism is,” said Michael Rosanoff of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. He believes the figure is much higher.

What causes Autism?

Autism spectrum Disorders, or ASD, are idiopathic, meaning they don’t have a known cause. While scientists are still investigating the issue, they say the disorder likely has a number of causes involving both our genes and our environment, or some combination of the two.

Exposure to pesticides has also been linked to autism. Some studies have found that pesticides may interfere with genes involved in the central nervous system, said Dr. Alice Mao, an associate professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Two theories link autism and vaccines. The first theory suggests that the MMR (Mumps-Measles-Rubella) vaccine may cause intestinal problems leading to the development of autism. The digestive system makes up a very large part of the immune system The second theory suggests that a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, used in some vaccines, could be connected to autism.

It is important to note that these theories are antecdotal and have not been proven. Likewise, however, not enough testing has been done on vaccines to disprove the theories.

Source:, posted March 20th 2013 by Emily Sutherlin