The current state of autism: From etiology to treatment

Starting at birth or very early in life, autism spectrum disorder encompasses a broad range of syndromes, and the complexity of the condition can contribute to significant difficulty in management. However, recent changes in our understanding of this social learning disability are driving advances in diagnosis, evidence-based treatment, and ultimately patient outcomes. 

In his presentation at the 2017 Psych Congress, Fred Volkmar, MD, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at Yale University School of Medicine, in New Haven Connecticut, explained how we now recognize the strong neural and genetic basis for autism, as well as the impact of environmental influences.  From 50 to 100 genes are involved in autism; while boys are 4- to 5-times more likely to have autism, girls are more significantly impaired by the condition. Autism is also associated with increased rates of onset of seizure disorder, notably at 2 peak time points:  one in early life (<3 years of age) and a second in early adolescence (11 to 14 years of age).

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17th September 2017
Psychiatry Advisor