Study To Assess How Common Autism Is In China

A new research collaboration will explore whether autism is currently under-diagnosed in China.

AsianScientist (Apr. 22, 2013) – A new research collaboration will explore whether autism is currently under-diagnosed in China.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) launched the new collaborative study on April 18 to look into the prevalence of autism in mainland China.

At the launch were the University of Cambridge’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Joseph Sung, and Director-General of Rehabilitation Department of CDPF Professor Hong You.

Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) affect one percent of the general population in Western countries. However, it is unclear as to whether autism is as prevalent in China.

A pilot study conducted by the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Center and Cambridge Institute of Public Health suggests that autism in China is currently under-diagnosed and may be in line with Western countries at one percent.

The collaboration, led by Dr. Sophia Xiang Sun of CUHK’s School of Public Health and Primary Care, will entail a large epidemiological study involving 250,000 people across 14 cities within 14 provincial regions in mainland China.

The CUHK and CDPF funded project will determine whether a one percent estimate also applies to China, a statistic that would correspond to an astonishing 14 million people with the condition. The researchers argue that a correct estimate of the number of people affected will enable better care and planning for these individuals.

“Previous research into the autism spectrum in China has mainly focused on the most severe subtype, childhood autism. That may partly explain the low prevalence previously reported. By adopting standardized study methodology and instruments, we can compare the results with Western countries and obtain a better understanding of the current situation of this condition in China,” said Dr. Sun.


Source: SPHPC.
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