Saturday, January 21, 2012

One of the major changes being review by a panel is the definition of autism. The definition is under review by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The study results, presented on Thursday at a meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association, are still preliminary, but they offer the latest and most dramatic estimate of how tightening the criteria for autism could affect the rate of diagnosis. 

English: People with Asperger's Syndrome are o...
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 The "vagueness" of the DSM-IV criteria have, it is thought, led to too many being dignosed with autism. In the new analysis, Dr., along with Brian Reichow and James McPartland, both at Yale, used data from a large 1993 study that served as the basis for the current criteria. They focused on 372 children and adults who were among the highest-functioning and found that over all, only 45 percent of them would qualify for the proposed autism spectrum diagnosis now under review. Proposed changes to the definition would eliminate the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome and what's known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified. They would be combined with autism into one diagnosis, Autism Spectrum Disorder. "When we looked at individuals with cognitive abilities in the average range, it looks like half of them will continue to meet and half wouldn't meet criteria," McPartland said. Some have speculated that various environmental causes were the reason while others have pointed to the expanded diagnostic criteria

The DSM-IV (1994) and DSM-IVR (2000) specified that a person had to present with six out of twelve criteria in such areas. The new proposed criteria in the DSM-V introduce a new diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder, that will encompass a number of current diagnoses, Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Under the changes, the manual would eliminate Asperger's and a disorder known as PDD-NOS and instead group everyone under autism spectrum disorder. It also would tighten the criteria for those who get diagnosed. In one analysis based on a 1993 study, 55% of those diagnosed would not qualify under the new definition--though the authors say the percentage could be high because they focused on high-functioning patients.

 New Autism Rule Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests from New York Times
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