“… this is a period of unprecedented scientific progress, with many people from diverse fields now joining the ASD research community. This growth in our community, and the surge of investments made in ASD research over the past decade, are paying off by deepening our understanding of this complex disorder and laying the groundwork for future advances that will ultimately improve the lives of people with ASD and their families” (Insel, 2012).
Thomas Insel, M.D. is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He kicked off the new year with current facts and promising goals regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Highlights of his report:
How common is ASD?
- The current incidence rate of ASD is reported as 1 in 88 children; 1 in 100 adults.
- Many adults have gone previously undiagnosed.
- Improved identification and assessment methods for diagnosing ASD may be one reason for an increased number of ASD cases.
- However, public health professionals must assume ASD is on the increase – that there are “more affected, not just more detected.”
What causes ASD?
- About 25% of cases of ASD are associated with genetic variants.
- Many genetic variants are unexplained; this could be due to environmental exposures.
- Advanced age of fathers is associated with increased risk of having a child with ASD.
- Genetic disorders often have environmental corrections. Researchers are still looking for proven connections to provide prevention and/or treatment of ASD.
Is there any hopeful news?
- ASD starts prenatally with neurological differences evident before behavioral deficits emerge.
- SO, the early intervention of ASD leads to significant reduction in behavioral symptoms and positive EEG studies suggesting neurodevelopmental progress.
Early identification of ASD risk factors can and does lead to significant developmental progress and improved quality of life for persons with ASD and their families.
Read Dr. Insel’s report at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2012/autism-progress.shtml
Another source of helpful information, featuring a webinar with the latest findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be found at: http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/12/28/american-academy-pediatrics-webinar-autism
CRG is proud to provide evidence-based best practices in the diagnosis and treatment of ASD for patients across the lifespan and their families.