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Autism affects one in 100 adults

Autism is just as common in adults as in children, with about one in 100 grown-ups affected, according to research.

Over 4,000 families in England were included in the world's first study into the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders, including autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Autism sufferers have a range of problems, such as difficulty communicating their feelings or interacting with other people.

People answered questions to determine their psychiatric health, but the NHS Information Centre study found no link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab, nor any evidence that autism rates were rising.

People in their twenties and younger would have higher rates of autism if there was a link with the vaccine, but this was not the case, according to the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Study 2007, funded by the Department of Health.

Men were more likely to have a form of autism than women, with 1.8% and 0.2% respectively.

NHS Information Centre chief executive, Tim Straughan, said: "The recent report by the National Audit Office on supporting people with autism through adulthood suggests very little recognition and service provision by local authorities or the NHS for adults with autism spectrum disorder."

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NHS Information Centre