A sub-study of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) headed by Ms Posserud was conducted as part of the "Barn i Bergen" (Children in Bergen) project. The study shows that the diagnosis of ASD may apply to as much as one per cent of the population.
ASD is a collective term for diagnoses such as autism (childhood autism), Asperger's syndrome, atypical autism and other autistic traits. The classic signs of autistic behaviour include communication difficulties, poor social skills, repetitive behaviour and narrowly focused interests.
A study conducted in 1998 found that autism occurred in 0.05 per cent of Norwegian children. The figures from the "Barn i Bergen" project could therefore be interpreted to mean that the incidence of autism has risen dramatically. However, Ms Posserud thinks it is important to downplay the difference in results.
"It is difficult to know whether the differences in these studies reflect a genuine increase in the incidence of ASD. Our conclusion is that the rise in ASD can be explained mainly by the use of more thorough mapping methods and, consequently, that we are not seeing the emergence of an autism epidemic," says Ms Posserud, who is a doctor and researcher in the field.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
New Prevalence Data
Science Daily presents a news release on a Norwegian study: