Healthy Living

Deletions Within Certain Chromosome Can Lead to Autism Development

These findings can improve autism and schizophrenia treatments immensely

Until about 50 years ago, numerous healthcare professionals used the terms ‘autism’ and ‘schizophrenia’ interchangeably. Today, however, these conditions are acknowledged as separate, yet they do present similarities. For example, the social difficulties seen among autistic individuals can bear a resemblance to the social withdrawal seen among schizophrenic individuals.

As to whether autism and schizophrenia are separate outcomes of the same genetic syndrome, there is growing evidence to suggest this, but researchers continue to replicate studies in larger population samples. Ultimately, there is hope to identify approaches to early diagnoses, as well as to implement interventions that are most appropriate for individuals coping with autism or schizophrenia.

“There are a variety of different avenues that might be pursued rather than treatments that are designed to treat children with autism. There are readily available, evidence-based treatments that may be more appropriate to help maximize these children's potential,” said Kathleen Angkustsiri, assistant professor of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at the MIND Institute.

The combined findings could explain the biological mechanisms underpinning autism and schizophrenia and help to treat anxiety, increase focus, and improve communication skills.