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Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 1;66(9):1667-74.

Autism: a medical primer.

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1
Department of Family Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga 37403, USA.

Abstract

Autistic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder resulting in social, language, or sensorimotor deficits, occurs in approximately seven of 10,000 persons. Early detection and intervention significantly improve outcome, with about one third of autistic persons achieving some degree of independent living. Indications for developmental evaluation include no babbling, pointing, or use of other gestures by 12 months of age, no single words by 16 months of age, no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age, and loss of previously learned language or social skills at any age. The differential diagnosis includes other psychiatric and pervasive developmental disorders, deafness, and profound hearing loss. Autism is frequently associated with fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, and may be caused by lead poisoning and metabolic disorders. Common comorbidities include mental retardation, seizure disorder, and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Behavior modification programs are helpful and are usually administered by multidisciplinary teams, targeted medication is used to address behavior concerns. Many different treatment approaches can be used, some of which are unproven and have little scientific support. Parents may be encouraged to investigate national resources and local support networks.

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PMID:
12449265
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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