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Editorial
August 21, 2019

The Necessity to Identify Subtypes of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Department of History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online August 21, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1928

The clinical and etiological diversity found among people with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a critical factor and an obstacle in the development of new treatments. So far, no biomarker has been identified. Autism has long been recognized, based on outcome studies, as a heterogeneous category. In 1943, Leo Kanner, MD, introduced and systematically described defining characteristic features that were largely adopted in the DSM-III diagnosis of early infantile autism.1 Kanner’s clinical follow-up study of his first 11 cases in 1971 revealed considerable heterogeneity in outcomes.2

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