Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The profound neurodevelopmental disorder called Autism Spectrum Disorder, virtually non-existent less than a century ago, has increased to one in 54 in children aged 8 years in 2016.1

In addition, the CDC reports that today more than seven million American children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including 388,000 children aged just two to five years old.2

The number of ADHD diagnoses swelled by 42 percent between 2003 and 2011 and continues to increase an average of five percent per year.3

“The estimate for learning disabilities in 2011–2012 was 8.0 percent for children of ages 3–17 (NSCH, 2012a).”4

“The root causes of the present global pandemic of neurodevelopmental disorders are only partly understood,” according to a review in Lancet Neurology, which points to a significant role for environmental toxins in its causation. “Although genetic factors have a role, they cannot explain recent increases in reported prevalence, and none of the genes discovered so far seem to be responsible for more than a small proportion of cases.”5

ASD is projected to continue on its ascending trajectory into the future as its causes are unidentified and unaddressed.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 27, 2020. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/ss/ss6904a1.htm?s_cid=ss6904a1_w

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Data and Statistics about ADHD. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

3. Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003—2011. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/features/key-findings-adhd72013.html

4. Boat TF, Wu JT, eds. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015. Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK332880/

5. Grandjean & Landrigan (2014). Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurology 13(3):330–338. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3

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