To compare the annual prevalence of the autism symptom phenotype and of registered diagnoses for autism spectrum disorder during a 10 year period in children.
Population based study.
Child and Adolescent Twin Study and national patient register, Sweden.
19,?993 twins (190 with autism spectrum disorder) and all children (n=1,078,975; 4620 with autism spectrum disorder) born in Sweden over a 10 year period from 1993 to 2002.
Annual prevalence of the autism symptom phenotype (that is, symptoms on which the diagnostic criteria are based) assessed by a validated parental telephone interview (the Autism-Tics, ADHD and other Comorbidities inventory), and annual prevalence of reported diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder in the national patient register.
The annual prevalence of the autism symptom phenotype was stable during the 10 year period (P=0.87 for linear time trend). In contrast, there was a monotonic significant increase in prevalence of registered diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder in the national patient register (P