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Clinical genetics evaluation in identifying the etiology of autism spectrum disorders

By G. Bradley Schaefer and Nancy J. Mendelsohn


The autism spectrum disorders are a collection of conditions, which have, in common, impaired socialization and communication in association with stereotypic behaviors. The reported incidence of autism spectrum disorders has increased markedly over the past decade. In addition, a large amount of attention has been paid to these conditions among lay and professional groups. These influences have resulted in a marked increase in the number of referrals to clinical geneticists for evaluation of persons with autism spectrum disorders. The primary role of the geneticist in this process is to define etiology, if possible, and to provide counseling and contribute to case management based on the results of such investigations. In deciding upon the appropriate evaluation scheme for a particular patient, the geneticist must consider a host of different factors. Such considerations would include (1) Assuring an accurate diagnosis of autism before proceeding with any investigation. (2) Discussing testing options, diagnostic yields, and patient investment before proceeding with an evaluation. (3) Communication and coordination with the patient’s medical home. (4) Assessing the continuously expanding and evolving list of available laboratory testing modalities in light of evidence-based medicine. (5) Recognizing expanded phenotypes of well-described syndromic and metabolic conditions that encompass autism spectrum disorders. (6) Defining an individualized evaluation scheme based on the unique history and clinical features of a given patient. The guidelines in this article have been developed to assist the clinician in the consideration of these factors

Topics: ACMG Practice Guidelines
Publisher: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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