Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents

Date:
August 27, 2012
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
Researchers studying interventions for adolescents and young adults with autism are reporting that there is insufficient evidence to support findings, good or bad, for the therapies currently used. Although the prevalence of autism is on the rise, much remains to be discovered when it comes to interventions for this population, the researchers concluded.

Vanderbilt University researchers studying interventions for adolescents and young adults with autism are reporting today that there is insufficient evidence to support findings, good or bad, for the therapies currently used.

Related Articles


Although the prevalence of autism is on the rise, much remains to be discovered when it comes to interventions for this population, the researchers concluded.

"Overall, there is very little evidence in all areas of care for adolescents and young adults with autism, and it is urgent that more rigorous studies be developed and conducted," said Melissa McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of Vanderbilt's Evidence-Based Practice Center and senior author of the report, a systematic review of therapies published by the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Zachary Warren, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders, said, "There are growing numbers of adolescents and adults with autism in need of substantial support. Without a stronger evidence base, it is very hard to know which interventions will yield the most meaningful outcomes for individuals with autism and their families."

Key findings:

The researchers systematically screened more than 4,500 studies and reviewed the 32 studies published from January 1980 to December 2011 on therapies for people ages 13 to 30 with autism spectrum disorders. They focused on the outcomes, including harms and adverse effects, of interventions, including medical, behavioral, educational and vocational.

  • Some evidence revealed that treatments could improve social skills and educational outcomes such as vocabulary or reading, but the studies were generally small and had limited follow-up.
  • Limited evidence supports the use of medical interventions in adolescents and young adults with autism. The most consistent findings were identified for the effects of antipsychotic medications on reducing problem behaviors that tend to occur with autism, such as irritability and aggression. Harms associated with medications included sedation and weight gain.
  • Only five articles tested vocational interventions, all of which suggested that certain vocational interventions may be effective for certain individuals, but each study had significant flaws that limited the researchers' confidence in their conclusions. The researchers' findings on vocational interventions will be featured in the Aug. 27 issue of Pediatrics.

As recently as the 1970s, autism was believed to affect just one in 2,000 children, but newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder. Boys with autism outnumber girls 5-to-1, which estimates that one in 54 boys in the United States have autism.

"With more and more youth with autism leaving high school and entering the adult world, there is urgent need for evidence-based interventions that can improve their quality of life and functioning," said Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education and lead author of the report.

Additional investigators on this report include Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, M.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Pharmacology and Kennedy Center investigator; Dwayne Dove, M.D., Ph.D., fellow in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics; Nila Sathe, M.S., M.L.I.S., program manager, Institute for Medicine and Public Health; and Rebecca Jerome, M.L.I.S., M.P.H., assistant director, Eskind Biomedical Library.

Their research, published in the report, Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Effective Health Care Program and conducted through Vanderbilt's Evidence-Based Practice Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. The original article was written by Jennifer Wetzel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julie Lounds Taylor, Melissa L. McPheeters, Nila A. Sathe, Dwayne Dove, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, and Zachary Warren. A Systematic Review of Vocational Interventions for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Pediatrics, August 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0682

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827113253.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2012, August 27). Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827113253.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827113253.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Things You Didn't Know About Depression

5 Things You Didn't Know About Depression

Odyssey Networks (Nov. 21, 2014) According to a new survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 60% of Americans with a diagnosed mental illness believe their condition worsens around the holidays. Stress, high expectations and loneliness are contributing factors that contribute to the "holiday blues." Video provided by Odyssey
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins