Large-Scale Autism Screening at 1 Year of Age Feasible

Widespread early screening may lead to early insights into autism, other developmental problems

FRIDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Screening implemented at infants' 12-month check-ups may be able to identify autism and other developmental disorders, which can help researchers learn more about these disorders in their earliest manifestations, according to research published online April 29 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Karen Pierce, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues reported on a study involving 10,479 babies screened for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), language delay (LD), and developmental delay (DD) at their 1-year pediatric check-up to determine the feasibility of implementing a broad-band screen of all infants at 12 months.

Of the 184 infants who failed the screen and were evaluated and tracked, the researchers found that 32 were provisionally or finally diagnosed with ASD, 56 with LD, nine with DD, and 36 with "other." Five infants who initially tested positive for ASD did not meet criteria at follow-up. The rest of the subjects in the sample were false positives. The researchers estimated the positive predictive value to be 0.75.

"The 1-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach shows promise as a simple mechanism to detect cases of ASD, LD, and DD at 1 year for research and clinical purposes. This procedure offers an alternative to the baby-sibling design as a mechanism to study autism prospectively, the results of which will enrich our understanding of autism at an early age," the authors write.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on April 29, 2011

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