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From The CriticsReviewer: Richelle Strauss, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive, systematic, well-structured, and well-timed review of current evidence in the clinical syndrome, assessment, differential, symptoms, causes and treatments of autism spectrum conditions.
Purpose: The purpose is to address the history, diagnosis, recognition, phenomenology, incidence, assessment, comorbidity, causes, new and established educational approaches, methods to study and influence clinical practice, various classes of psychopharmacological agents, alternative and experimental therapies, and family and community approaches to these disorders.
Audience: While most chapters are likely more technical than patients or patient family members would be seeking, advanced residents or practitioners in the field of general adult or child psychiatry or individuals interested in autistic spectrum disorder research would find this book interesting and well written. Clinicians would find the succinct review of current evidence on treatments most useful and researchers would appreciate the in-depth, summarized layout of the current state of the research into the causes, and current endeavors to discover the causes, of this complex and fascinating condition.
Features: In the 47 well-organized chapters, authors detail the current state of the literature in their particular area with a summary of available evidence. This book excels as an evidence-based, up-to-date review and offers educated readers a more detailed and in-depth supplement to the established comprehensive textbooks on child and adolescent psychiatry. The chapters are logically organized and contain a systematic summary of the current research and literature with concluding discussions and thoughts on future directions. Augmenting the largely summary style text are tables of well-organized research study results or visual presentations to illustrate MRI, PET, and SPECT data, such as the classic demonstrations of decreased activation in the fusiform face area in patients with autistic disorder.
Assessment: Given the uncertainty in the etiology of autism spectrum conditions, the strength of this book is the systematic and comprehensive review of the current state of the literature on the causes of these conditions. Perhaps this area stands out not because others are weak but because of the timeliness of the review in the context of the evolving ideas on the etiology of this condition. I would recommend this book to any colleagues seeking an in-depth review of this complex clinical area.