Impact of New Diagnostic Criteria

"Given the potential implications of these findings for service eligibility, our findings offer important information for consideration by the task force finalising DSM-5 diagnostic criteria," said Doctor Fred Volkmar.

Volkmar and his team performed an analysis of symptoms observed in 933 individuals evaluated for autism in the field trial for DSM-4. They found that about 25 per cent of those diagnosed with classic autism and 75 per cent of those with Asperger's Syndrome or pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, would not meet the new criteria for autism. The study also suggests that higher-functioning individuals may be less likely to meet the new criteria than individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Volkmar cautioned that these findings reflect analyses of a single data set and that more information will be provided by upcoming field trials overseen by the APA. He stressed that it is critical to examine the impact of proposed criteria in both clinical and research settings.

"Use of such labels, particularly in the United States, can have important implications for service," he said. "Major changes in diagnosis also pose issues for comparing results across research studies."

MEDICA.de; Source: Yale University