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PSYC 338 article - lundstrom.docx

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PSYC 338
Robert Pihl

Monday March 11 2013 Autism Spectrum Disorders and Autisticlike Traits By Lundstrom et al. Definitions Autism spectrum disorders (ASD): characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication and behavioral flexibility  Prevalence – 1% of the population  Heterogeneous condition, this means that no two people have the same symptoms  This makes ASDs particularly hard to diagnose  DSM lacks finite criteria Autsiticlike traits (ALT): sub-threshold autistic traits, such as sociocommunicative behavior problems, distorted perceptions of others or of oneself and problems in adapting to the environment (these children do not meet criteria for ASDs) This article focuses of the goal of identifying the differences, if any, in the etiology of ASDs and ALTs. The researchers ask  Whether the two cocepts have different underlying genetic and/or environmental components, or are they merely different intensities of the same disorder? Research on this subject revealed two proposed models that give opposite answers to the question The first model states that 1. On a distribution of normal behavior, ASD simply falls on the lowermost end of the distribution a. Reasoning for this proposal approaches the behaviors in terms of social adaptation and communication. Basically these individuals cannot meet the social norms b. According to this model, both individuals with ASD and ALT would have similar problems and would be found on the same distribution at different severities i. Both have similar comorbidities (ADHD, CD) ii. ALT first noticed in siblings and relatives of those with ASD iii. Share similar risk factors such as maternal age at birth The second model states that 2. ASD and ALT have distinct causes, more importantly, genetic differences a. A Genome-wide association study i. Found no similar gene mutation that is responsible for both ASD and ALT and ii. Failed to find ASD phenotype b. Twin studies failed to confirm results as well The first model is therefore the one hypothesized to support the etiology of ASDs and ALTs, supporting a dimensional approach while the second model takes a categorical approach Sample  19208 Swedish twins o Of the same sex o Age 9-12 years old o 51.2% male o 28% MZ, 36% DZ o Opposite sex DZ twins and twins with unknown zygosity were excluded along with participants with brain damage or chromosomal abnormalities  There was a fairly high response rate of 80% Measures  Telephone interviews were the method of measurement in the study with o 17 items, 12 of which were from DSM criteria for autism disorder o 6 for language, 6 for social interaction and 5 for restricted and repetitive o Scale  1 point for ‘yes’, 0.5 for ‘yes to some extent,’ and 0 for ‘no’ Method  Extreme analysis measured prevalence of o 4 cutoffs 1. High cutoff (HiC)  accounting for a score of 8.5 on the interview a. Prevalence 80% 2. Low cutoff (LoC)  accounting for a score of score of 4.5 on the interview a. Prevalence 3% b. WIDE variation between 3% and 80% is obvious here, and so the last 3. Two cutoffs capture this with cutoffs around the 10 or 15 percentile on the distribution of normal variation to account for the wide variation of ALTs (10C and 15C) a. Prevalence 8.7%-12.4% Res
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