2009, pp 291-311

Microbiological Theory of Autism in Childhood

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Introduction

Kanner first described the symptoms of autism in 1943. He defined autism as a “biological inability for social relatedness”.1 To date, autism is considered to be part of the term Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which includes autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other associated disorders. These disorders are composed of a complex and heterogeneous group of conditions.

Autism is a severely disabling disorder resulting in profound behavioural and emotional problems and is typified by defects in communication and repetitive patterns of behaviour.2 It is a syndrome characterized by impairments in social relatedness and communication, repetitive behaviour, abnormal movements, and sensory dysfunction. ASD clinically is present at 3 years of age. Studies have, however, shown that abnormalities in social and communication skills may represent early indicators of autism. These can sometimes be detected as early a