The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) was May 17-19 in Toronto. The annual event is organized by the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and is essentially the annual rotating Mecca for those involved or interested in autism research.
To give you an idea of the content at IMFAR, one of the organizers, Dr. Stephen Scherer, introduced the conference by saying that a lot of the information presented was unpublished, but certainly will lead to publication. This makes it very exciting, but also forces us to buffer our excitement and understand that so much of this research is in its early stages.
Read full post »
If you’ve been watching the news today you’ve probably heard something about the study out of UC Davis, released today, entitled “Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders”. The study looked at the link between obesity, diabetes and autism and found an association between metabolic conditions during pregnancy (diabetes, obesity and hypertension), and developmental delays. Please see what Dr. Bryan King, director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center, says are the take away messages: Read full post »
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 »
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 »
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 »