CHICAGO -- About 1 in 100 of America's 8-year-olds have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers, who will be releasing details of their study later this year.
That's a 50 percent increase from two years ago, when the government estimated the rate at 1 in 150.
Dr. Ileana Arias, deputy director of the CDC, said the agency considers the disorder "a significant issue that needs immediate attention."
But the higher rate might not mean more kids have autism spectrum disorder, scientists cautioned.
"It is not clear more children are affected rather than just changes in our ability to detect," said Dr. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.