Autism rise not due to environmental toxin

THE rise in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is not linked to a “new environmental toxin”, a UK-based study involving more than 7400 adults has concluded.

The weighted prevalence of ASD in the adults was 9.8 per 1000 – much higher in men at 18.2 per 1000 compared to 2 per 1000 in women.

“Prevalence was greatest in men, in those living in social housing and in those with the lowest educational qualifications,” the study found.

“Our data suggests that the causes of autism appear to be temporally constant and that recent apparent rises in rates of diagnosis must therefore reflect better survey case finding rather than some new environmental toxin.”

The prevalence has risen dramatically from the 1990s when it was 12.7 per 10,000.

Arch Gen Psychiatry 2011; 68:459-66