Monday, July 25, 2005

Clinic Notes: An Autism Gene

Rita Cantor reports in the American Journal of Human Genetics that the segment 17q21 located on chromosome 17 contains several genes, one of which raises the risk of autism in boys. No doubt other genes involved in autism exist, but this discovery could lead to a screening test that could mean getting services to a child at an earlier age. The question then becomes which services should be provided? Of course, I would vote for ABA,and perhaps OT and speech. But what about drugs, such as the SSRI's to increase serotonin levels? We identify cases now as early as two and put children on Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexia, off label, because they are not approved by the FDA. Will we be ready to give infants these drugs?

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