Two new government studies indicate about 1 in 100 children have autism disorders. The figure is much higher than a previous U.S. estimate of 1 in 150. While federal health officials claim that greater awareness, broader definitions and spotting autism in younger children may explain some of the increase it's the same explanation given every time the figures escalate. The latest estimate translates to about 673,000 American children having autism compared to earlier estimates which put the number at about 560,000.
"The concern here is that buried in these numbers is a true increase," said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "We're going to have to think very hard about what we're going to do for the 1 in 100."
The bigger question, the one nobody seems to be asking, is what are we doing to our health in this country to produce this problem?