Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lopez-Duran: Recent Autism Increases Are NOT Due to Different Diagnostic Criteria

Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD is a clinical child psychologist and researcher, currently working as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Lopez-Duran also authors the Child Psychology Research Blog which purports to offer research based commentary on child psychology. Professor Lopez-Duran takes A closer look at the new CDC autism prevalence rates and draws a number of interesting conclusions:

- The same diagnostic criteria was used in 2002 and 2006. The changes are NOT due to differences in diagnostic criteria.


Within State variability is so great that it is very likely that fluctuations in prevalence between states are due to methodological differences.

- HOWEVER, significant increases were also observed between sites that did not have changes in methodological procedures between 2002 and 2006.

- Thus, the increases from 2002 to 2006 are unlikely to be due to methodological differences

- There were no major changes from 2000 to 2002, which highlights the significance of the changes in diagnoses from 2002 to 2006

Professor Lopez-Duran, as always, provides some of the most disciplined, objective, non-ideological, non-agenda driven autism research commentary on the internet.  In his comments he expressly refrains from drawing any conclusions about WHY the prevalence rate of autism increased from 2002 to 2006.  His analysis is most important to the various autism causation debates  in highlighting the fact that changed diagnostic criteria are not factors in the recent autism increases reported by the CDC.

Those who deny that autism is rising, particularly those with access to influential mainstream media outlets to express their views, and those internet bloggers who claim to be "science" bloggers,  should discontinue their repeated knee jerk reliance on changes in diagnostic criteria dating back to 1993-4 to explain why autism is rising. 

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