Overview of selected basic research in autism
Basic research in autism is reviewed. There is mounting indication, but as yet inconclusive evidence, of unique physiologic disturbances etiologically related to autism. Additionally there is indication that some of the physiologic disturbances found in autistic children are also present in children with other developmental disorders. Children called autistic probably represent a complex of clinically similar manifestations in a variety of different subgroups of children, each subgroup representing a basically different physiologic disturbance. However, the possibility remains that there is only one basic disturbance that in varying degrees affects many body systems and thus manifests in a variety of overlapping syndromes. Objective markers are needed so as to allow the demarcation of subgroups of autistic children for further study. Possible markers may be decreased duration of postrotatory nystagmus, auditory evoked response deviations, lymphocytic hyporesponsivity, increased blood platelet serotonin efflux, and/or the presence of urinary DMT or bufotenin.
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