The US Department of Education figures, based on the number of children receiving special education assistance, have internal ''anomalies" and are in conflict with a number of studies on the prevalence of the condition, said the report from Portland State University in Oregon.Diagnosing autism has become a big fad.
''Basically we don't know what the true prevalence of autism is in this country," the study's author, physician James Laidler, said in an interview. ''The problem with the data is that it may be including kids who have problems other than autism -- a less severe degree than was included even . . . a year or five years ago -- and it has some internal inconsistencies."
''That said, there may still be an autism epidemic in the United States," but the figures most widely used to demonstrate that are not valid, Laidler said.
The government figures estimate that autism as recorded in the US public school population went from 5,415 cases in 1991-1992 to 118,602 in 2001-2002.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Phony autism numbers
Don't trust autism figures: