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      The Changing Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders

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          Abstract

          Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition with lifelong impacts. Genetic and environmental factors contribute to ASD etiology, which remains incompletely understood. Research on ASD epidemiology has made significant advances in the past decade. Current prevalence is estimated to be at least 1.5% in developed countries, with recent increases primarily among those without comorbid intellectual disability. Genetic studies have identified a number of rare de novo mutations and gained footing in the areas of polygenic risk, epigenetics, and gene-by-environment interaction. Epidemiologic investigations focused on nongenetic factors have established advanced parental age and preterm birth as ASD risk factors, indicated that prenatal exposure to air pollution and short interpregnancy interval are potential risk factors, and suggested the need for further exploration of certain prenatal nutrients, metabolic conditions, and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. We discuss future challenges and goals for ASD epidemiology as well as public health implications.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Annual Review of Public Health
          Annu. Rev. Public Health
          Annual Reviews
          0163-7525
          1545-2093
          March 20 2017
          March 20 2017
          : 38
          : 1
          : 81-102
          Article
          10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044318
          6566093
          28068486
          3f5f04e8-de8f-4ba7-afb0-1c0bab3b0e3c
          © 2017

          https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

          History

          Medicine,Pediatrics,Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine,Genetics,Health & Social care,Public health

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