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Neurosci Bull. 2017 Apr;33(2):183-193. doi: 10.1007/s12264-017-0100-y. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

An Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Heterogeneity and Treatment Options.

Author information

1
Autism Clinic for Translational Research, Brain and Mind Centre, Central Clinical School, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
2
Autism Clinic for Translational Research, Brain and Mind Centre, Central Clinical School, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. adam.guastella@sydney.edu.au.

Abstract

Since the documented observations of Kanner in 1943, there has been great debate about the diagnoses, the sub-types, and the diagnostic threshold that relates to what is now known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Reflecting this complicated history, there has been continual refinement from DSM-III with 'Infantile Autism' to the current DSM-V diagnosis. The disorder is now widely accepted as a complex, pervasive, heterogeneous condition with multiple etiologies, sub-types, and developmental trajectories. Diagnosis remains based on observation of atypical behaviors, with criteria of persistent deficits in social communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. This review provides a broad overview of the history, prevalence, etiology, clinical presentation, and heterogeneity of ASD. Factors contributing to heterogeneity, including genetic variability, comorbidity, and gender are reviewed. We then explore current evidence-based pharmacological and behavioral treatments for ASD and highlight the complexities of conducting clinical trials that evaluate therapeutic efficacy in ASD populations. Finally, we discuss the potential of a new wave of research examining objective biomarkers to facilitate the evaluation of sub-typing, diagnosis, and treatment response in ASD.

KEYWORDS:

Autism Spectrum Disorder; Diagnosis; Heterogeneity; Treatment

PMID:
28213805
PMCID:
PMC5360849
DOI:
10.1007/s12264-017-0100-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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