Screening for autism

A literature review in Pediatrics has contradicted recent recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics to routinely screen for autism spectrum disorders.

By contrast, the review authors from McMaster University in Canada say there’s “not enough sound evidence to support the implementation of a routine population-based screening program for autism.” 

The review points out no autism screening program has been studied in randomised control trials and while current treatment interventions may offer some benefits in certain subgroups, they aren’t universally efficacious. “None of the autism screening tests currently available has been shown to be able to fulfil the properties of accuracy, namely high sensitivity, high specificity, and high predictive value in a population-wide screening program,” the researchers said. 

Study author Dr Jan Willem Gorter says current tests “aren’t good