Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Good Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorders- a Case of Over-Diagnosis?

There has been much discussion recently about the anticipated release of DSM-V and how it will impact the diagnosing of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I was especially interested in the discussion that came about from two Op-Ed pieces recently published by the NY times. My wife often criticizes me for playing “devil’s advocate” in debates (which I usually lose when the “debate” is actually with my wife), so it is not surprising that I feel compelled to chime in on the discussion surrounding our current diagnostic criteria for ASD. Read full post »

DSM 5 and Autism- An Update From the Front Lines Part 2

We’ve all heard the adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The questions we face surrounding autism in the DSM 5 are first, is it broken, and if so, how should it be fixed? In the current system, Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) are treated like distinct conditions. Indeed, if a medication is FDA approved for the treatment of Autism, that approval does not extend to Asperger’s or PDD. It is not uncommon for service systems to treat these diagnoses as distinct conditions, and differentially recognize them (or not).  Read full post »

DSM 5 and Autism- An Update From the Front Lines

A new round of interest in the potential impact of diagnostic changes being proposed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or “DSM”, was sparked last week by a report suggesting that many individuals would likely lose their diagnoses if the defining criteria for autism, Asperger’s disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified are changed. A number of the stories that we were seeing suggested that the definition was being tightened because of concerns relating to over-diagnosis, with one commenter offering that the change in definition would solve the autism epidemic by “nipping it in the bud”.

As one who has been directly involved in the DSM process and whose fingerprints are on some of these proposed changes, I have been asked to clarify what is going on and thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts here.  Read full post »

Why the Sharp Rise in Autism Rates?

A while back The Autism Blog received a comment from someone who suggested that the sharp rise in autism rates is a direct result of people wanting to make money. The person who posted this comment seemed quite frustrated by the apparent increase in the number of people being diagnosed with autism. I can thoroughly identify with and appreciate his or her frustration.

So, let’s take a deeper look at the issue. There is no doubt that the diagnosis of autism has increased tremendously in the past 15 years. And, are there undoubtedly people who have made money from many parents confused, frustrated and angry about this condition. That makes me sad and a bit angry as well. Nevertheless, to tarnish the entire professional community is unfair and inaccurate.  Read full post »

From Freeways to Antidepressants- Cautionary Tales of the Causes of Autism

It seems a month doesn’t go by without an article in the news highlighting some research study that has discovered a new risk for developing autism.

Just within the last year, published research articles in reputable scientific journals have correlated everything from antidepressants and paternal age to closely-spaced pregnancies and living in close proximity to freeways as associated with an autism diagnosis.

After the lay press editorializes and sensationalizes the findings, the correlation study has been converted into wording that implies causation. Read full post »