Study finds autism diagnoses for girls occurs prevalently later in life than in boys

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In a recent study released in the journal Autism Research, a group of researchers identified a few anomalies regarding gender differences in diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children, such that hasn’t been unveiled in prevous findings.

According to researchers at Brown University, from the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART), the first 1,000 US-based participants diagnosed with autism were analyzed. The participants ranged from 21 months to 64 years of age.

From the findings, researchers noted a determination of clinical importance: females were more prevalent at receiving a first diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder at a later age than males.

On average, females with autism were approximately 1.5 years later than boys at receiving a diagnosis. This is possibly the result of females with autism attaining more advanced language capabilities than their male counterparts, researchers theorized.

“We observed a high rate of co‐occurring medical and psychiatric conditions in affected individuals,” the study reads. “Among the most prominent findings of immediate clinical importance, we found that females received a first diagnosis of ASD at a later age than males, potentially due to more advanced language abilities in females with ASD.”

“In summary, this is the first analysis of a large, population‐based U.S. cohort with ASD. Given the depth of sampling, the RI‐CART study reflects an important new resource for studying ASD in a representative U.S. population. Psychiatric and medical comorbidities in ASD constitute a substantial burden and warrant adequate attention as part of overall treatment.”

“Our study also suggests that new strategies for earlier diagnosis of ASD in females may be warranted,” the study concluded.