A study has found a 50% surge of American children and teens with autism from 2017-2020.
China's Researchers Guangdong Pharmaceutical University found 3.49% of American children or teens – about 1-in-30 kids – have been diagnosed with autism by 2020, the Daily Mail reported.
Notably, U.S. and Europe have higher rates of autism because of better medical care and more prevalent medical diagnostics of the condition, according to the report. Just 2.2% of American children had autism in 2017, and the study suggested better surveillance and diagnosing the condition since 2016.
The demographics of autism in the U.S. show boys (5%) more likely to be diagnosed than girls (2%), along with poorer children and Black kids, the study found using data from the annual National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
People with autism have difficulty with social, emotional, and communication skills, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, some of the signs of autism could include:
- Unusual reactions to smell, taste, look, feel or sound.
- Difficulty adapting to changes in routine.
- Unable to repeat or echo what is said to them.
- Difficulty expressing desires using words or motions.
- Unable to discuss their own feelings or other people's.
- Difficulty with acts of affection like hugging.
- Prefer to be alone and avoid eye contact.
- Difficulty relating to other people.
- Unable to point at objects or look at objects when others point to them.
Experts have warned older parents, pollution exposure while in the womb, and a mother who was obese during pregnancy are all higher risk for having a child with autism, according to the report.
Also, in 2020, University of Ottawa researchers found pregnant women who used cannabis were 1.5 times more likely to have a child with autism than women who did not. U.S. lawmakers have been actively pushing to legalize marijuana in many states over the past decade.
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