Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Findings on Autism

Rates of autism have been soaring in the United States, and parents of children with the disorder are desperate for more information about the still-mysterious causes of autism and about effective interventions for affected children. Some valuable information on this topic has recently been published and is reported in the August 19 issue of Psychiatric News. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging that pediatricians screen all children for autism at well-child visits at 18 months and 24 months so interventions can begin early if needed. And a new pilot project indicates that pediatricians can assess children for autism as early as age 12 months through a simple screening test. Read more about this pilot screening project at

Researchers are also devoting considerable effort to the search for the roots of autism, with the goal of learning enough about the etiology to prevent some cases of autism. A new study reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that environment plays a more crucial role than previously thought and may contribute more to autism's etiology than genes do. Read about the role of environmental risk factors in Psychiatric News at

For an in-depth review of the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of autism, see the Textbook of Autism Spectrum Disorders, from American Psychiatric Publishing. Information on this book is posted at

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