Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of neurological conditions, which hampers developmental of social interaction, communication and use of verbal and non-verbal language. The exact cause is still unknown. People with autism have issues in carrying out regular activities. Children with autism have issues during social interaction. Social interaction and communication are the core impairments of ASD, whereas, seizures, sensory issues, anxiety, sleep deficits, self-injury and others are associated symptoms. There is no definitive treatment for the treatment of core symptoms yet, however, the FDA have approved many drugs for associated symptoms. For instance, antipsychotics such as risperidone and aripripazole are used in treating irritability associated with disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder is typically diagnosed between 1 and 2 years of age, a time which has been noted to coincide with marked brain volume overgrowth. Now, additional and new evidence from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies indicates that the changes in the brains of children with autism spectrum disorder leading to brain overgrowth can be detected by 6 to 12 months of age. However, from autopsy studies it appears that the dysregulation of the prefrontal and temporal lobes of the brains in children with autism spectrum disorder actually occurs much earlier and during pregnancy. Such prenatal changes are set in motion due to genetic and/or epigenetic alterations happening around the time of conception or shortly thereafter. Approximately 65 new genes have been identified in this role.

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An estimated 1% of the population (62.2 million globally) are on the autism spectrum as of 2015. In the United States it is estimated to affect more than 2% of children (about 1.5 million) as of 2016. Males are diagnosed four times more often than females. The autism rights movement promotes the concept of neurodiversity, which views autism as a natural variation of the brain rather than a disorder to be cured.

Growing pipeline for the autism spectrum disorder is one of the prime factors for the growth of the market. There is no current therapies for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, which have increased number of untreated population. For instance, autism prevalence has increased by 15% in children, affecting 1 out of 59 children, the CDC. Moreover, increasing government efforts to increasing knowledge regarding autism is boosting the growth of the market. For instance, in August 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced to invest USD 27 million in the next five years to conduct the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). This is one of the largest studies in the U.S., which will help in identifying risk factors in children for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A revision to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was presented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5 (DSM-5), released May 2013. The new diagnosis encompasses previous diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS. Slightly different diagnostic definitions are used in other countries. Rather than categorizing these diagnoses, the DSM-5 has adopted a dimensional approach to diagnosing disorders that fall underneath the autism spectrum umbrella. Some have proposed that individuals on the autism spectrum may be better represented as a single diagnostic category. Within this category, the DSM-5 has proposed a framework of differentiating each individual by dimensions of severity, as well as associated features (i.e., known genetic disorders, and intellectual disability).

Source: The Insight Partners