Rates of Incidence of Various Conditions in the U.S.A.

The other day in the car, Stu started pondering aloud about the public attention that various worthy causes get, and whether autism gets its proportionate due.  This led me to spend way too many hours researching the prevalence of several conditions in the United States, and the amount of public funding that goes toward research on these subjects (as filtered through the NIH in 2009).  I got most of my figures from the NIH website, and from wrongdiagnosis.com, as well as other sources.  My calculations here are totally non-scientific, but interesting nonetheless.

Reports of the prevalence of autism in the US vary wildly, but I’ve frequently seen the figure 1 in 91.  To put this in perspective, here’s the rate of incidence of a random sampling of some other well-known conditions: 
 
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) – 1 in 250,000 (0.0004%)
Epilepsy – 1 in 118 (0.85%)
Herpes – 1 in 4 (25%) – EWWW!
Homelessness – 0.6% to 15% of population (reporting varies widely)
Hunger – 1 in 6 kids at risk of hunger (16.7%); 3.8% of US households have an adult go hungry at least one day during the year
Lung Cancer – 1 in 1,605 (0.06%)
Lyme Disease – 1 in 2,719 (0.04%)
Meningitis, Bacterial – 3 in 100,000 (0.003%)
Meningitis, Viral – 10 in 100,000 (0.01%)
Multiple Sclerosis – 1 in 700 (0.14%)
Muscular Dystrophy – 1 in 651,450 (0.00015%)
Narcolepsy – 1 in 1,359 (0.07%)
Parkinson’s Disease – 1 in 272 (0.37%)
SIDS – 2 per 1,000 live births (0.2%)
US armed forces – historically less than 1% of populationFor my fellow geeks, I present you this chart of 2009 NIH research spending per person affected:

If I had included diseases than kill people, there wouldn’t have been room on the screen for the height of the bar for ALS research dollars per person affected (if my data are to be believed, over $35k per person!).

Awareness is nice, but money gets more research done.

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Meredith Zolty
My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at http://notanaffliction.blogspot.com/
Meredith Zolty

TheRyanFiles

My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at http://notanaffliction.blogspot.com/

0 thoughts on “Rates of Incidence of Various Conditions in the U.S.A.

  • October 3, 2010 at 10:48 am
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    Even the rates of 1 per 110 include all the adults self-diagnosed with ASD (me included), so who knows if the figures are reliable?  Personally I think its ridiculous to include adults with social problems along with non-verbal children.  It trivialises the issues and makes people think that Autism is diagnosed somewat like ADHD – all kids have it if the parents insist it to the doctor and here’s the prescription….  Not only are the issues way different but the treatment is too. 

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