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  • Should autism and Aspergers be considered separate disorders?

  • The debate in the medical community rages on.

  • Hey, guys, this is Annie guest-hosting for D News.

  • This week, the Scottish singer Susan Boyle

  • made headlines by announcing her diagnosis of Asperger's

  • Syndrome, opening up new conversations

  • about the often misunderstood condition.

  • Asperger's is characterized by difficulty

  • in social interaction and nonverbal communication,

  • and in some cases, clumsiness, atypical use of language,

  • and other symptoms.

  • And currently, it's considered part of autism spectrum

  • disorder, a diagnosis that's increased significantly

  • over the past two decades.

  • According to the British Medical Journal,

  • autism diagnoses were rare in the UK and the US

  • until the '90s, when the rates began surging.

  • They've since leveled off in the UK,

  • but according to the Center for Disease Control,

  • autism rates have continued to grow in the US.

  • As of 2008, one in 88 children were

  • identified as being on the autism spectrum.

  • The spectrum contains a range of conditions, characterized

  • by social and communicated challenges

  • in certain behavioral pattern.

  • ASD is about five times as prevalent in boys as in girls.

  • The spike in rates is not fully understood,

  • though it's been suggested that the spike is related

  • to increased awareness and changing diagnostic standards.

  • What the autism spectrum entails is still

  • being hammered out in the medical community.

  • Earlier this year, for example, Asperger's Syndrome

  • was removed from the DSM-5, which

  • is the manual psychiatrists use to diagnose.

  • It was folded in with autism as basically a higher functioning

  • form of the disorder.

  • Asperger's patients don't typically

  • suffer from cognitive or linguistic impairment

  • and are often above average intelligence.

  • Still newer research finds that there may in fact

  • be significant biological differences between Asperger's

  • and autism.

  • Harvard neurologists and psychiatrists

  • measured brain connectivity among Asperger's and autism

  • patients using a measure called EEG coherence.

  • They found that this measure could

  • be a distinguishing factor but that larger studies are needed,

  • also pointing out that those differences can have

  • huge implications for patients, their families,

  • and their caregivers.

  • As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

  • For D News, this is Annie.

Should autism and Aspergers be considered separate disorders?

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B2 H-INT US autism asperger spectrum characterized annie medical

What Is Asperger's Syndrome?

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