Health written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were diagnosed as being autistic in (a) 1990, (b) 2000 and (c) the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

Details of the number of people diagnosed with autism are not available. The Medical Research Council (MRC) published a comprehensive review of autism research in December 2001, which provides an authoritative overview of the current state of knowledge on the prevalence, incidence and causes of autism. The report was commissioned by the Department of Health. It is available on the MRC website at

The MRC report notes that according to recent reviews, there appears fairly good agreement that autism spectrum disorders affect approximately 60, and more narrowly defined autism 10 to 30, per 10,000 children under eight. The prevalence of autism among adult populations is not known.

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