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Evidence of increasing recorded diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in Wales, UK – an e-cohort study

Underwood, Jack F. G., DelPozo-Banos, Marcos, Frizzati, Aura, John, Ann and Hall, Jeremy 2021. Evidence of increasing recorded diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in Wales, UK – an e-cohort study. Autism 10.1177/13623613211059674

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Estimates place the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (autism) at around 1% in the population. New services for adult diagnosis have been set up in Wales, UK, at a time of ris-ing awareness of the spectrum of autism experiences, however no studies have examined adult autism prevalence in Wales. In this study we use an anonymised e-cohort comprised of healthcare record data to produce all-age estimates of prevalence and incidence of record-ed autism for the years 2001-2016. We found the overall prevalence rate of autism in healthcare records was 0.51%. The number of new-recorded cases of autism increased from 0.188 per 1000 person-years in 2001 to 0.644 per 1000 person-years in 2016. The estimate of 0.51% prevalence in the population is lower than suggested by population survey and co-hort studies study methodologies, but comparable to other administrative record study es-timates. Rates of new incident diagnoses of autism saw a >150% increase in the years 2008-2016, with a trend towards more diagnoses in those over 35 and an eightfold increase in diagnoses in women from 2000-2016. Our study suggests that while the number of people being diagnosed with autism is increasing, many are still unrecognised by healthcare ser-vices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1362-3613
Funders: Wellcome Trust (Grant 222849/Z/21/Z), Healthcare Research Wales (CA04), Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17212), Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17211)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 11 October 2021
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 17:22

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