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'Most adults with autism go undiagnosed' -- new findings
Date:5/4/2011

Not a single person identified with autism or asperger's syndrome during a community survey in England actually knew they had the condition, research led by the University of Leicester reveals.

According to Dr Traolach Brugha, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Leicester, the research has already revealed that autism was commoner in males, those without higher educational qualifications, and those living in social (government financed) housing. Prevalence was not related to the age of those with the condition.

The findings emerge from the first ever general population survey of autism in adulthood. They are based on a two phase epidemiological survey in England (7,461 screening interviews; 618 diagnostic) carried out in 2007. The findings are now published fully in the world's leading peer refereed mental health scientific journal the Archives of General Psychiatry (http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/68/5/459). This means that the survey carried out from Leicester is now internationally endorsed officially.

Dr Brugha, who is also a consultant psychiatrist working in the NHS with the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said none of the cases with autism found in the community survey throughout England knew that they were autistic or had received an official diagnosis of autism or asperger syndrome.

Dr Brugha said the new scientific article confirms the already published report from the survey (2009) that 9.8 per thousand adults in England meet official diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. There was no evidence of an 'autism epidemic' of marked increase in people with the condition.

He said: "Overall our findings suggest that prevalence is neither rising nor falling significantly over time. This favours the interpretation that methods of ascertainment (case finding) have changed in more recent surveys of
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Contact: Terry Brugha
tsb@le.ac.uk
44-116-258-4395
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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