A Survey of Epidemiological Studies and Risk Factors of ASD, with a Focus on China

Meng Wu, PhD, Yiming Wu, BS, Li Yu, Jun Liu, MD, Mei Zhang, PhD, June Kong, MD, Bai-Lin Wu, MMed, PhD

Abstract


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of pervasive developmental disorders which usually first appear in childhood. ASD was considered rare in the past, however, it has become a relatively common disease with a dramatic increase of prevalence recently. For years, epidemiological studies for ASD were carried out in many countries and relevant methodologies for investigation have become comparably mature. By the contrary, only a few epidemiological studies for ASD have been completed in China, involving only a small portion of China’s vast population. So far, many explanations for the increased prevalence have been proposed, and yet these studies are almost exclusively conducted in the western world. Research suggests that some environmental risk factors, which may interact with susceptible genes, are likely to play a role in the etiology of ASD. ASD exerts great burden on affected families and the society. Therefore, it’s vital to better define ASD prevalence and understand its risk factors in different regions of the world, in order to help prevent, diagnose and treat this group of diseases.

[N A J Med Sci. 2017;10(3):124-132.   DOI:  10.7156/najms.2017.1003124]


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