INTHIS ISSUE, 3 articles1-3 present important results and extend the continuing effort to understand the biological bases of autistic disorder. The problems in this quest are not unique to autism but appear in only slightly altered form ininvestigations of every neuropsychiatric disorder. All of the authors have wrestled with the universal issues of syndrome definition, multiple symptom domains, clinical heterogeneity, neurochemical and pharmacological specificity, and the interpretation of behavioral responses seen during challenge and treatment protocols. These issues raise basic questions about how to approach a characterization of the etiology and pathophysiology of autism, as well as how to integrate data from diverse levels of inquiry including molecular genetics, developmental neurobiology, neuropathology, neurochemistry, neuropsychology, and clinical pharmacology. Strategies for future research will be considered following a review of the specific aims, methods, and findings of the 3 studies.
See also pages 985, 993, and 1001
The double-blind, placebo-controlled fluvoxamine trial reported by McDougle and colleagues2 was an attempt to find a more effective, better-tolerated, and safer treatment for autism. The work
McBride PA, Anderson GM, Shapiro T. Autism ResearchBringing Together Approaches to Pull Apart the Disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(11):980-983. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830110011002