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The Effects of Maternal Age on the Prevalence of Autism

Autism's cause is unknown, but suggested causes are often attributed to genetic or environmental factors. This research examines whether advancing maternal age contributes to the increasing prevalence of autism. The model used to achieve this objective generates values that represent the proportion of offspring expected to be diagnosed with autism, provided their mother belongs to a specific age class. The age class consisting of ages 40-44 was most affected. From these values, projections were made about the prevalence of autism in future populations, specifically, for the United States and California. These projections predict a continued increase in the prevalence of autism.

Poster session award recipient at the 2009 AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meeting in Washington DC

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Melissa A. Bilbao, California State Polytechnic University
Alexander D. Castro, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tyler A. Rigazio, University of Maine
Graduate Mentors:
Naala Brewer, Arizona State University
Kimberly Rude, Montclair State University
Faculty Advisors:
Stephen Tennenbaum, Arizona State University
Baojun Song, Montclair State University
Xiaohong Wang, Arizona State University