CDC: 1 in 100 eight-year-olds have autism-related disorders

Officials with the CDC have released its highest ever estimate of the prevalence of autism-related disorders, while admitting that they don't know why the numbers have climbed so much.

According to the new estimate, almost 1 in 100 U.S. 8-year-olds are afflicted with autism, Asperger's syndrome or related development problems--a group of conditions known collectively as autism spectrum disorders. The CDC drew this conclusion after analyzing medical and school records for 400,000 children across the country.

The new estimate is sharply higher than previous estimates, jumping from 1 in 300 in the early part of this decade. Scientists say they don't know if these conditions are being diagnosed more often, or whether the disorder has actually become more common.

To learn more about these stats:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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