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January 2013

Dramatic Increase in Autism Prevalence Parallels Explosion of Research Into Its Biology and Causes

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Autism Speaks, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(1):9-10. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.488

This issue of the journal features 3 articles on autism.1-3 A decade ago, the journal published about the same number of autism articles per year. This reflects a broad expansion in the number and diversity of research publications on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A recent analysis conducted by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee4 reveals that ASD publication growth matched broader publication growth until the late 1990s. A dramatic increase in the growth of ASD-related publications began in 2000 and has continued, outpacing publications on similar health-related topics. Most publications focus on biology; in fact, 2 of the 3 articles on autism published in this issue1,2 explore the neural basis of autism. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee analysis found that publications on treatments and risk factors tie for the second most frequent type of publication.

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