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New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. According to these data, in 2006, 1 of every 110 children in the United States was affected by autism. This is a 57% increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism in 2002. Boys were more frequently diagnosed with autism than girls: 1 in 70 boys was diagnosed with autism; 1 in 315 girls was diagnosed with autism.
The reasons for the increased diagnosis of autism are not clear. It is likely that better diagnosis and awareness of autism is at least partially responsible for the increase. Other factors such as environmental toxins or viruses may also be involved.
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