April 11 (UPI) – Autism rates have risen at an alarming rate in several states of the country since 2010, according to a new study.
The average rate of autism is 1 in 59 for children in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the findings released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It's very likely that the next time we investigate autism in children, the rate will be even higher," said Walter Zahorodny, associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and author of the Study, in a press release.
The researchers studied the medical records of 4-year-olds between 2010 and 2014 and 8-year-olds during the same period. They discovered that children with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders were likely to be diagnosed before the age of four.
Between 2010 and 2014, New Jersey recorded a 43% increase in autism cases, the largest of all states measured in the study. In all, about 1 in 35 children in the state has autism, compared to 8 out of every 1,000 children in Missouri.
"These are real influences that have an effect, but they are not enough to explain the high prevalence rate of autism," said Zahorodny. "There are still undetermined environmental risks that contribute to this significant increase, factors that could affect a child's in utero development, related to the complications of birth or the neonatal period." We need more research on the non-genetic triggers of autism. "
Researchers do not know why autism rates have increased across the country. However, factors such as parents over the age of 30 with children, genetic mutations, a birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy and more than one birth could explain this increase.
On average, researchers say that autism was diagnosed in children in 53 months, a number that has not changed for more than a decade. They want the detection
"Children who are assessed for autism early – around the age of two – often respond better to treatment than those diagnosed later," Zahorodny said. "However, it seems that only the most severely affected children are being evaluated at a crucial time, which can delay access to treatment and specialized services."