Study finds wide variation in best-estimate clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders
In a study conducted at 12 university-based research sites, there was wide variation in how best-estimate clinical diagnoses within the autism spectrum were assigned to individual children, according to a study being published Online First by the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. In the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), diagnostic instruments have been helpful in defining populations, merging samples, and comparing results across studies, according to background information in the article. Nevertheless, best-estimate clinical (BEC) diagnoses of specific autism spectrum disorders have long been the gold standard. These specific ASDs include autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.
Catherine Lord, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College, White Plains, New York, and colleagues conducted an observational study to determine whether the relationships between behavioral appearance and clinical diagnoses of different ASDs vary across 12 university-based sites. The study included 2,102 participants (1,814 male) between 4 and 18 years of age who met autism spectrum criteria on two diagnostic assessments and who had a clinical diagnosis of an ASD. The study authors collected demographic, diagnostic, and developmental data for genetic research.
The authors report that clinical distinctions among categorical diagnostic ASD subtypes were not reliable, even across sites with well-documented fidelity using standardized diagnostic instruments.
"Although distributions of scores on standardized measures were similar across sites, significant site differences emerged in best-estimate clinical diagnoses of specific autism spectrum disorders," the authors write.
"Relationships between clinical diagnoses and standardized scores, particularly verbal IQ, language level, and core diagnostic features, varied across sites in weighting of information and cutoffs," they continue.
The authors suggest that differences in diagnoses could reflect regional variations. "For example, in some regions, children with diagnoses of autistic disorder receive different services than do children with other ASD diagnoses; elsewhere, autistic disorder diagnoses may be avoided as more stigmatizing than diagnoses of PDD-NOS or Asperger syndrome," they write.
The authors point out that their study results have implications for revisions of current diagnostic frameworks. "Results support the move from existing subgroupings of autism spectrum disorders to dimensional descriptions of core features of social affect and fixated, repetitive behaviors, together with characteristics such as language level and cognitive function," they conclude.
Source: JAMA and Archives Journals
- Study estimates rate of autism spectrum disorder in adults in EnglandMon, 2 May 2011, 17:35:06 EDT
- Study of twins suggests genetic component of autism spectrum disorders may be moderateMon, 4 Jul 2011, 17:01:59 EDT
- Prevalence of autism in South Korea estimated at 1 in 38 children Mon, 9 May 2011, 0:31:52 EDT
- Study finds autism-related early brain overgrowth slows by age 2 yearsMon, 2 May 2011, 17:35:07 EDT
- Prenatal exposure to certain antidepressants may modestly increase risk of autism spectrum disordersMon, 4 Jul 2011, 19:32:43 EDT
- Autism linked with excess of neurons in prefrontal cortexfrom Science DailyTue, 8 Nov 2011, 22:30:30 EST
- Abnormal number of neurons in brains of children with autism, preliminary study findsfrom Science DailyTue, 8 Nov 2011, 22:30:29 EST
- Pre-birth brain growth problems linked to autism, study showsfrom Science DailyTue, 8 Nov 2011, 22:30:28 EST
- Autism linked with excess of neurons in prefrontal cortexfrom PhysorgTue, 8 Nov 2011, 16:32:29 EST
- Multi-site study finds wide variation in best-estimate clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disordersfrom Science DailyTue, 8 Nov 2011, 10:30:34 EST
- Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissuefrom Science DailyTue, 8 Nov 2011, 10:30:32 EST
- Study finds wide variation in best-estimate clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disordersfrom PhysorgMon, 7 Nov 2011, 17:01:46 EST
- Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissuefrom PhysorgMon, 7 Nov 2011, 17:01:43 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- UC Davis engineers create on-wetting fabric drains sweat
- Amazon River exhales virtually all carbon taken up by rain forest
- Not just blowing in the wind: Compressing air for renewable energy storage
- Slow earthquakes: It's all in the rock mechanics
- 1 in 10 teens using 'study drugs,' but parents aren't paying attention
No popular news yet
No popular news yet
- Stem cell transplant restores memory, learning in mice
- 2 landmark studies report on success of using image-guided brachytherapy to treat cervical cancer
- Researchers discover mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements
- Cutting back on sleep harms blood vessel function and breathing control
- Study: Low-dose aspirin stymies proliferation of 2 breast cancer lines