What is the real prevalence of ASD?

Unfortunately this podcast does not really provide an answer, but does highlight data published over the holidays which shows in another dataset, that the prevalence of autism seems to be leveling out, rather than continue to increase as it has done for the past several decades.  It isn’t the final word and clearly there may be exceptions, but now two national datasets have shown no further increase in autism prevalence in the last few years of looking.  Is it 1:68 as reported in one study or 1:39 in another?  Is it somewhere in between?  Still to early to say, but white boys seem to be the most likely to get a diagnosis no matter where you look.  Also, folic acid proves to show an effect on the probability of not just an autism diagnosis, but autism symptoms.  This is especially important for women taking anti epileptic medications for seizures and bipolar depression.  Welcome to 2018!

Here are links to the articles.  Some of them are open access!







Pregnant and concerned about autism? Folic acid can help.

This week a bunch of new studies came out that focused on changes in probability of having a child with autism after folic acid consumption during pregnancy.  Moderate consumption folic acid and slightly elevated levels of plasma folate during pregnancy has now been shown in at least half a dozen scientific studies to reduce the chance of that child to be later diagnosed with autism.  This is not a prevention effect, but a reduction in probability.   There are enough studies on this question for a Chinese group to have organized them, put their data together, reanalyze them together and conclude that this is a real thing.  If this was an effect seen after say, drinking battery acid, maybe it might require more consideration to recommend to the community.  However, taking folic acid during pregnancy is something medical doctors are recommending pregnant women do anyway.

Want to learn more?  Here are the studies:

Swedish Study:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28978695



Denmark Study:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28946926