Basic Summary for Autism


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Main name of condition: Autism
Other names or spellings: Autistic disorder, Classic autism


What is Autism?
  Brief description of Autism: Childhood mental condition with social and communication difficulties.
  Parent types of Autism: Pervasive developmental disorders, Possibly autoimmune diseases, Brain conditions, Behavioral disorders, Mental illness, Psychological disorders, Psychiatric disorders
  Organs Affected by Autism: mental, brain
  Types of Autism: Autistic-savant
How many people get Autism?
  Prevalance of Autism: 1 in 500 to 1 in 2,500 (NIMH); 1-in-1000 to 2-in-1000, depending on diagnostic criteria
  Prevalance Rate of Autism: approx 1 in 500 or 0.20% or 544,000 people in USA [about data]
  Incidence (annual) of Autism: 3,000 new cases in the USA 2001 (BBC News, 2002)
  Incidence Rate of Autism: approx 1 in 90,666 or 0.00% or 3,000 people in USA [about data]
  Prevalance of Autism: Autism affects an estimated 10 to 20 of every 10,000 people, depending on the diagnostic criteria used. Most estimates that include people with similar disorders are two to three times greater. 1 ... Autism affects an estimated 10 to 20 of every 10,000 people, depending on diagnostic criteria used, and strikes males about four times more often than females. 2 ... Emerging in childhood, it affects about 1 or 2 people in every thousand and is three to four times more common in boys than girls.3
Who gets Autism?
  Patient Profile for Autism: Usually starts in first 3 years, typically 18-36 months.
  Profile for Autism: Autism strikes males about four times as often as females, and has been found throughout the world in people of all racial and social backgrounds. 1 ... Symptoms usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue through life. 2
  Gender Profile for Autism: 4 times more common in males than females
How serious is Autism?
  Prognosis of Autism: Normal life expectancy but impaired social function.
  Prognosis of Autism: Although there is no cure, appropriate early educational intervention may improve social development and reduce undesirable behaviors. People with autism have a normal life expectancy. 1 ... Autism varies a great deal in severity. The most severe cases are marked by extremely repetitive, unusual, self-injurious, and aggressive behavior. This behavior may persist over time and prove very difficult to change, posing a tremendous challenge to those who must live with, treat, and teach these individuals. The mildest forms of autism resemble a personality disorder associated with a perceived learning disability. 1 ... Symptoms in many children with autism improve with intervention or as the children mature. Some people with autism eventually lead normal or near-normal lives. About a third of children with autistic spectrum disorders eventually develop epilepsy. The risk is highest in children with severe cognitive impairment and motor deficits. Adolescence may worsen behavior problems in some children with autism, who may become depressed or increasingly unmanageable. Parents should be ready to adjust treatment for their child's changing needs. 1 ... People with autism have normal life expectancies. Symptoms in many children improve with intervention or as the children age. Some people with autism eventually lead normal or near-normal lives. 2
  Complications of Autism: see complications of Autism
What causes Autism?
  Causes of Autism: Autism has no single cause. Researchers have identified a number of genes that play a role in the disorder. In some children, environmental factors also may play a role in development of the disorder. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain, including the cerebellum, amygdala, hippocampus, septum, and mamillary bodies. Neurons in these regions appear smaller than normal and have stunted nerve fibers, which may interfere with nerve signaling. These abnormalities suggest that autism results from disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development. Other studies suggest that people with autism have abnormalities of serotonin or other signaling molecules in the brain. While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study. The early belief that parental practices are responsible for autism has now been disproved. 1
  Class of Condition for Autism: behavior, autoimmune possibly
  Causes of Autism: see causes of Autism
  Risk factors for Autism: see risk factors for Autism
What are the symptoms of Autism?
  Symptoms of Autism: see symptoms of Autism
Can anyone else get Autism?
  Inheritance: see inheritance of Autism
How is it treated?
  Treatments for Autism: see treatments for Autism
  Research for Autism: see research for Autism
Society issues for Autism
  Costs of Autism: more than $3 billion each year in health and educational services (NIMH)
  Costs of Autism: In addition to loss of personal potential, the cost of health and educational services to those affected exceeds $3 billion each year.3
  Hospitalization statistics for Autism: The following are statistics from various sources about hospitalizations and Autism:
  • 0.006% (750) of hospital consultant episodes were for childhood autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 97% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 68% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 32% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 19% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 18.9 days was the mean length of stay in hospitals for childhood autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 1 days was the median length of stay in hospitals for childhood autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 9 was the mean age of patients hospitalised for childhood autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 32% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism occurred in 15-59 year olds in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism occurred in people over 75 in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0% of hospital consultant episodes for childhood autism were single day episodes in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0.008% (4,450) of hospital bed days were for childhood autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0.001% (145) of hospital consultant episodes were for atypical autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 97% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 68% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 32% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 19% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 83.5 days was the mean length of stay in hospitals for atypical autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 2 days was the median length of stay in hospitals for atypical autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 17 was the mean age of patients hospitalised for atypical autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 32% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism occurred in 15-59 year olds in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism occurred in people over 75 in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0% of hospital consultant episodes for atypical autism were single day episodes in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0.004% (1,962) of hospital bed days were for atypical autism in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)


Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Autism Fact Sheet: NINDS
2. excerpt from NINDS Autism Information Page: NINDS
3. excerpt from Autism: NIMH

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