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UK autism rate levels off while US rates continue to climb

Annual incidence rates of autism diagnoses in the UK - which increased hugely during the 1990s - "reached a plateau" by the beginning of the 2000s and have remained steady since, a study published today in BMJ Open suggests.

A population study of almost 2 million children in the UK who were 8 years old between 2004 and 2010 showed that yearly prevalence rates during this period stayed steady at approximately 3.8 per 1000 boys and 0.8 per 1000 girls.

In addition, incidence rates for UK children stayed around 1.2 per 1000 boys and 0.2 per 1000 girls each year of the study period.

These findings differ significantly from a report released last year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which showed that the prevalence rates of autism in American 8-year-olds increased 78% between 2004 and 2008, to a 2008 rate of 1 in 88 children.

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