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

children compared to the earliest surveys in which the rates reported were considerably lower".

In a comment on the possible causes of autism the researchers suggest that "the [non genetic or environmental] causes of autism appear to be temporally constant, and that recent apparent rises in rates of diagnosis must therefore reflect better case finding, rather than some new environmental toxin. However, we would urge caution and the need for independent replication of this first set of adult community survey findings".

Professor Brugha also drew attention to the newly reported finding that none of their cases of autism were already known to have the condition: "It is very concerning that none of the cases we confirmed using rigorous diagnostic assessment methods in the community knew that they had the condition or had an official diagnosis. As in all community surveys it is of course likely that most of the cases we found were relatively mild and few were severe. We know that severe autism particularly when accompanied by learning disability is much more likely to be recognised. We are beginning to provide training to psychiatrists in the diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions in adulthood through the Royal College of Psychiatrists Education and Training Centre, London (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/PDF/Asperger_interview_USE_THIS_ONE.pdf)."

The initial findings of the survey, which appeared first in 2009 (www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/asdpsychiatricmorbidity07), attracted considerable media attention. The survey was carried out jointly with the National Centre for Social Research (www.natcen.ac.uk) and a team of methodological experts from collaborating Universities (University of Cambridge, UCL, and King's College, London). Further work extending the survey to adults i
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Contact: Terry Brugha
tsb@le.ac.uk
44-116-258-4395
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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