Autism Spectrum Disorder

Original Editor - Kirenga Bamurange Liliane Top Contributors - Kirenga Bamurange Liliane and Kim Jackson

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by patterns of delay and deviance in the development of social, communicative, and cognitive skills that arise in the first years of life [1]. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) [2]. It is characterized by deficits in social communication and the presence of restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. ASD can also be defined as a neurobiological disorder predisposed by both genetic and environmental factors affecting the developing brain. [3]

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the international prevalence of ASD at 0.76%; however, this only accounts for approximately 16% of the global child population with an increase over the past two decades.

Causes[edit | edit source]

ASD is a neurobiological disorder influenced by both genetic and environmental factors affecting the developing brain. Currently, no single universal cause has been identified but researches are still ongoing to deepen our understanding of potential etiologic mechanisms in ASD.

Risk Factors [3][edit | edit source]

  • Several factors such hereditary factors, parental history of psychiatric disorders, pre-term births, and fetal exposure to psychotropic drugs or insecticides have all been linked to higher risk of ASD.
  • Although several genetic diagnoses have a high rate of co-occurring ASD compared to the average population, some of the known genetic disorders such as fragile X, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome, Rett syndrome, among others; account for a very small amount of overall ASD cases.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Volkmar, F., Siegel, M., Woodbury-Smith, M., King, B., McCracken, J. and State, M., 2014. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(2), pp.237-257.
  2. Sharma SR, Gonda X, Tarazi FI. Autism spectrum disorder: classification, diagnosis and therapy. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2018 Oct 1;190:91-104.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hodges H, Fealko C, Soares N. Autism spectrum disorder: definition, epidemiology, causes, and clinical evaluation. Translational pediatrics. 2020 Feb; 9(Suppl 1): S55.