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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that autism rates in the United States have increased 30 percent from 2012.
The estimated increase is a jump from a CDC report from two years ago that said 1 child in 88 suffered from autism, reports The Washington Post. The new report looked at 8-year-olds spread across 11 states and is not necessarily a representative of the U.S. as a whole, the CDC did caution.
Each of the states examined also had widely different diagnosis numbers, such as 1 in 45 found in New Jersey versus 1 in 175 in Alabama. Autism numbers for children with higher IQs also were up as well.
According to child neurologist Dr. Max Wiznitzer, from the Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, the 30 percent increase could actually just be a reflection of more diagnoses and not "the true prevalence of autism," notes NBC News.
"I'm not convinced that the true numbers of autism are rising, rising, rising every time we survey them."
Speaking at a telephone news conference, the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Director Coleen Boyle similarly said the rise could also be "that doctors are getting better at identifying these children, there could be a growing number of children with high intelligence [who are autistic], or it could be both."