Autism spectrum disorders: clinical and research frontiers
- 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
- 2Departments of Pediatrics & Genetics and Genomics, Center for Human Genetics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
- 3Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology & Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
- Dr Elizabeth B Caronna, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, 88 East Newton St, Vose Hall 4, Boston, MA 02118, USA;
- Accepted 12 February 2008
- Published Online First 27 February 2008
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are common neurodevelopmental disorders that occur along a broad continuum of severity with impairments in social interactions, communication and behaviour. This review highlights recent advances in autism research that shed light on the causes of the disorder and that have implications for clinical practice. It focuses on (1) the rising prevalence of ASD with attention given to recent epidemiological studies, (2) important genetic discoveries that may affect clinical evaluation of children with ASD, (3) active areas of research in cognitive neuroscience that seek to explain the underlying mechanisms of a complex disorder and (4) important studies on clinical populations with implications for screening and early identification of infants and toddlers with ASD.
Funding: This work was funded through grants from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (T77MC00016; EBC), the Irving B Harris Foundation (EBC), the Autism Consortium (EBC and JMM), the National Institutes of Health (U19DC03610, U54MH66398, R21DC08637; HT-F) and Autism Speaks (HT-F).
Competing interests: None.