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Asperger syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication, and by repetitive behaviors and interests. People with Asperger syndrome may also have difficulty with sensory processing and may be more sensitive to certain stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights

Asperger Syndrome [MEDNOTES+MINDMAP]

  • Definition:
    • A neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by:
      • Impairments in social interaction and communication
      • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests
    • High functioning form of autism
  • Epidemiology:
    • Prevalence: approximately 1 in 250 individuals
    • Four times more common in males than females
    • Usually detected in childhood, but can be diagnosed later in life
  • Natural history:
    • Onset in early childhood
    • Symptoms tend to persist into adulthood
    • Some individuals may experience a reduction in symptoms over time, while others may experience an increase
  • Classification/Types/Stages:
    • Formally classified as a separate disorder in DSM-IV (1994) and ICD-10 (1992)
    • No official “staging” system for Asperger Syndrome
  • Risk Factors:
    • Genetics: hereditary component appears to be present
    • Environmental factors: potential role in development of Asperger Syndrome, but more research needed
    • Other medical conditions: some individuals with Asperger Syndrome may also have comorbid medical conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression

Etiology/Causes

  • Genetics: there is a strong genetic component to Asperger Syndrome, with research indicating that there may be specific genes that contribute to the development of the condition
  • Environmental factors: although the specific environmental factors that contribute to Asperger Syndrome are not well understood, it is believed that certain exposures during pregnancy or early childhood may increase the risk of developing the condition

Signs

  • Difficulty with social interactions and communication
  • Limited interests or repetitive behaviors
  • Difficulty with sensory processing or sensory sensitivity
  • Lack of physical coordination or clumsiness

Symptoms

  • Difficulty with social interactions, including making and maintaining friendships, understanding social norms and body language, and engaging in small talk
  • Difficulty with communication, including problems with eye contact, tone of voice, and understanding figurative language or jokes
  • Limited interests or repetitive behaviors, such as a strong focus on one particular subject or activity, or a need for strict routines
  • Difficulty with sensory processing or sensory sensitivity, including oversensitivity to sounds, lights, or textures, or difficulty with temperature regulation
  • Lack of physical coordination or clumsiness

Histology/Microscopic Changes

  • There are no specific histological or microscopic changes associated with Asperger Syndrome, as it is a neurodevelopmental disorder rather than a physical disease

Pathology/Pathogenesis

  • The exact pathogenesis of Asperger Syndrome is not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that affect brain development
  • Research suggests that the condition may be related to disruptions in the development of certain brain areas or networks, particularly those involved in social and communication skills
  • There may also be differences in the way certain chemicals and neurotransmitters are produced or function in the brain of individuals with Asperger Syndrome, which could contribute to the symptoms of the condition.
  • Diagnosis/Laboratory Diagnosis
    • Diagnosed through observation of behavior and communication patterns
    • No specific laboratory test for diagnosis
    • Generally diagnosed in childhood, although can be missed or misdiagnosed in some cases
  • Tests Required
    • Assessments may include psychological evaluations, developmental assessments, and speech and language assessments
    • Some individuals may also undergo genetic testing to rule out other conditions
  • Associated with
    • Difficulty with social interaction and communication
    • Repetitive behaviors and interests
    • Difficulty with changes in routine or surroundings
    • Above average intelligence in some cases
  • Similar syndromes
    • High functioning autism
    • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
    • Social (pragmatic) communication disorder
  • Treatment
    • Individualized, may include therapy, medication, and education and social skills training
    • Occupational therapy may help with sensory processing and daily living skills
    • Speech therapy may help with communication and social skills
    • Medication may be used to address specific symptoms such as anxiety or hyperactivity.

Dr. Arin Nandi

Passionate About Medical Science & Helping Future Doctors Achieve Top Ranks In Medical Exams. He is professionally a dentist as well as a public health expert from JIPMER working in govt.health department
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