Economic study confirms growth in autism
News Sep 11, 2014
The number of autism cases has soared over the past three decades, leading some to wonder if mental health professionals might be overdiagnosing the disorder.
Two economists who used market theory to study the trend in autism growth, however, have confirmed that at least part of the increase is real.
Researchers Jose Fernandez and Dhaval Dave analyzed the number and wages of auxiliary health providers based on California Department of Developmental Services data from 2002 to 2011. Each time autism cases doubled, the number of autism health providers grew by as much as 14 percent over that of non-autism health providers, they found.
The wages of autism health providers also rose higher, increasing up to 11 percent more.
"We focused on auxiliary providers because, unlike physicians and psychologists who can diagnose autism, these workers cannot induce their own demand," Fernandez said.
The pair also found that although autism supplanted mental retardation in one of every three diagnoses during the period, actual autism cases still grew from 50 percent to 65 percent.
Fernandez is an economics associate professor at the University of Louisville's College of Business. Dave is an economics professor at Bentley University and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The study is scheduled for publication in the journal Economic Inquiry.
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Dhaval M. Dave, Jose M. Fernandez. Rising Autism Prevalence: Real or Displacing Other Mental Disorders? Evidence From Demand for Auxiliary Healthcare Workers in California. Economic Inquiry, Published Online August 25 2014. doi: 10.1111/ecin.12137
All in a Droplet: Atomic Resolution of ALS Protein ResolvedNews
Researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone.READ MORE
Pupil Size Couples to Cortical States to Protect Deep Sleep StabilityNews
Researchers have found that mice pupil size fluctuates during sleep. They also show that pupil size is a reliable indicator of sleep states.READ MORE
A Place to Think: Persistent neuronal activity in human prefrontal cortex links perception and actionNews
Neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception.READ MORE