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From The CriticsReviewer: Shiraz Butt, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book provides a comprehensive update on the recent advances in the field of autism with a focus on the neurobiology of this disorder.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an understanding of autism as a syndrome caused by a variety of pathophysiological processes. These are extremely worthy objectives and a book like this helps further our understanding of autism. The authors are able to clarify the diagnostic issues in the autistic spectrum disorders.
Audience: This book is written for physicians who diagnose and treat patients with an autistic disorder. It is intended for psychiatrists, neurologists, developmental pediatricians, and neuropsychiatrists. The author has done extensive research in this area with numerous publications.
Features: This book provides an extensive overview of the clinical diagnosis of autism There is an attempt to differentiate classic autism from related conditions. The course of the illness through various developmental stages is laid out. The book highlights the neurobiology of autism focusing on the empirical evidence. The genetic research is presented very well and a neurological model is adopted to identify a lesion responsible for causing autism. The chapter on double syndromes, which describes patients with a dual diagnosis of a known medical syndrome plus an autistic syndrome, is very useful. The review of brain imaging research is extremely thorough. There is a separate chapter on Asperger's Syndrome with an attempt to clarify the controversial issues in diagnosis.
Assessment: The field of autism has seen an increase in research and literature in the last few decades. This book is an updated edition providing a detailed account of the latest research in the neuroimaging, genetics, and biochemistry of autism. It also addresses the diagnostic issues in autistic disorders, which is a matter of much controversy. The authors view autism as a neurodevelopmental process with a neurobiological insult to the brain occurring very early on in development, very likely in fetal life. The field of autism and its related disorders is changing so rapidly that an updated edition has come at the right time. The relationship of autism to known medical diseases and genetic syndromes is very well covered. The authors view autism as a syndrome and not as a single disease entity emphasizing the critical role of an individualized evaluation in each unique case.