Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Evdokia Anagnostou
  • Eric Hollander
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Autism is a developmental disorder, characterized by repetitive behaviors and by deficits in social skills and communicative abilities. Autism spectrum disorders affect 60 out of 10,000 individuals, resulting in significant costs to families and society. Neuropathological and imaging studies point to abnormalities in the limbic system and the cerebellum, and accelerated brain grown in the first 2 years of life. Abnormalities in serotonin function have been identified in affected patients and their families. Genetic studies document high concordance in monozygotic twins and genome screens have identified multiple loci as possibly associated with autism, with the strongest evidence pointing to regions 2q and 7q. Although there is a relative lack of well-controlled treatment studies, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and atypical antipsychotics are useful in the treatment of repetitive behaviors and aggression. Nonpharamacological interventions include intensive early childhood educational programs, and interventions targeted at problem behaviors and social skills improvement.

Key Words

PDD autism Asperger’s neurobiology genetics phenomenology treatment 


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Further Reading

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  5. Klin A, Jones W, Schultz R, Volkmar F, Cohen D. Defining and quantifying the social phenotype in autism. Am J Psych 2002;159:895–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evdokia Anagnostou
    • 1
  • Eric Hollander
    • 1
  1. 1.Seaver and New York Autism Center of Excellence, Department of PsychiatryMount Sinai School of MedicineNew York

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