Autism is a behavioral health problem characterized by certain antisocial behaviors. A new autism study reveals that there have been more people diagnosed with this condition worldwide because of increased awareness and more advanced knowledge on the topic of autism. In recent years, the autism cases have increased in comparison to previous years when, when not much information was available.
The new autism study was made at the Aarhus University in partnership with the Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research. The scientists examined data from 678,000 children born between 1980 and 1991 in Denmark. 3,965 of the people involved in the study were diagnosed with autism by December 2011.
The scientists involved in the new autism study compared the number of cases based on the time periods and discovered that the rate of autism cases increased from 192, between 1980 and 1992, to 3,664, between 1996 and the period when the study ended. The team of researchers involved in the new autism study found out that in 1994, the autism diagnose criteria in Denmark changed and, one year later, in 1995, Denmark’s health registries started to include cases of autism that were diagnosed outside the hospital, as well.
One of the doctors who were involved in the new autism study, Dr. Stefan Hansen said that:
“As our study shows, much of the increase can be attributed to the redefinition of what autism is and which diagnoses are reported. The increase in the observed autism prevalence is not due alone to environmental factors that we have not yet discovered.”
The researchers believe that more than 60% of the cases of autism are attributed to the changes of diagnostic criteria in recent years. The scientists could not determine the factors involving the remaining 40% of the autism cases. The team of scientists only assume that the other factors could have been the parents’ age during conception and other environmental factors.
Amy Daniels, the assistant director of public health research at Autism Speaks said added that:
“The findings from this study are consistent with past research documenting the role of non-causal factors, such as increase in autism awareness, changes to diagnostic criteria and the increase in autism prevalence over time.”