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Key Autism Research May Ignore Ethnic Diversity

According to an opinion article written by Laura Geggel in the Simons Foundation Autism Research initiative over 70pc of autism research studies do not record the ethnicities of their subjects.

She bases her opinion piece on a review was published in Journal of Developmental Disorders on February 4, and argues that ignoring the ethnicity of the children used as primary test subjects in research could mean that some vital trends or patterns could be missed, and correlations could be missed.

Research into autism ethnicity seems to have historically been group based. Specific studies have been funded for Hispanic, Somali and Asian children, but these are population based. Autism daily Newscast have reported on these research papers but minority groups are being pushed aside when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

Ms Geggel writes:

“Basing research on large, diverse study groups can reveal risk factors specific to particular ethnic or cultural groups. For instance, one of the dozen studies that analyzed ethnicity data found that several factors elevate the risk of hospitalization for children with autism, including adoption and living in a single-parent home. And it found that African-American children with autism have a particularly high risk of being hospitalized for the disorder.

“Taking ethnicity into account can also uncover important differences in prescription rates and health care access. One study found that Hispanic children with autism are less likely to be prescribed medications for autism and related conditions such as depression than are white and African-American children.

“This may be because Hispanic children have fewer symptoms that respond to treatment or receive fewer prescriptions from their doctors than other children do. Only a study that includes ethnicity in its analysis can resolve questions like this one.”

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