Perspective Article: Autism as a Medical Disorder

Christopher Gillberg

in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965212 | DOI:
Perspective Article: Autism as a Medical Disorder

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  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have traditionally been regarded as a set of functional disabilities that are best contained within the realm of “psychoeducation.” Only rarely, if at all, is autism looked at from the point of view of general clinical medicine, which is quite surprising, given the great amount of data that exist to suggest that autism is a collection of medical disorders rather than a specific disorder in its own right. For instance, in population-based studies, children with autistic disorder have an identifiable medical disorder—such as tuberous sclerosis or the Fragile X syndrome—in about 25% of all cases. In males with Asperger's disorder, a similar medical condition may currently be identified in about 15% of all cases. This article discusses the conditions that have a more than coincidental chance of being associated with ASD; genetic aspects of ASD; and the appropriate level of medical work-up in individuals presenting with autistic symptomatology.

Chapter.  7495 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience

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