Autism has always been puzzling. It's a spectral disorder that is often hard to identify and diagnose, simply because it's effects can be obvious, or fairly subtle. The subjectivity of whether one's signs and symptoms qualify for diagnosis as autism has made it difficult to quantify incidences of autism.
Epidemiology has been employed to study autism, mainly as a means of identifying correlations between influences, contributing factors, co-morbidities and in doing so, potential causes of the disorder. Let's consider one particular article that illustrates this point. In summary, epidemiological techniques have correlated a range of behavioral patterns, deficiencies and prevalence of psychological disorders with autism. For example, a strong correlation of mental retardation, and less strong anxiety and depression seems to be prevalent in individuals with autism. Other studies have studied co-morbidities thatseem to suggest that individuals with autism also seem to suffer from gastrointestinal issues, and immune system dysregulation. In short, ...
How epidemiology has been used to define the public health problem of Autism is determined.