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Arch Hellen Med, 37(2), March-April 2020, 169-180


The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder

K. Seretopoulos, D. Lamnisos, K. Giannakou
Department of Health Sciences, School of Sciences, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex, lifelong, neurodevelopmental condition of largely unknown cause. The prevalence of ASD has been estimated at between 1% and 3% in children and adolescents, and 7.6 per 1,000 persons, globally, accounting for 111 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 100,000 global population. Language deficits are present in the majority of the ASD population, and have a significant impact on communication and interaction. They are considered one of the foremost causes of disability in children with ASD, who often require high levels of support, which imposes not only a high societal cost, but also a substantial economic, emotional, and physical burden on the families. Although considerable advances have been made in epidemiological research on ASD over the last decade, its etiology remains unclear, and is believed to be multifactorial, with various genetic predispositions and non-genetic factors being associated with an increased risk. The management of ASD is a major challenge, and currently there is no treatment aimed at complete recovery.

Key words: Asperger syndrome, Autism, Autism spectrum disorders, Epidemiology.

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