Dr. Judith Miles is a Professor of Child Health and Medical Genetics and Pathology at the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine. She has studied autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and has recently published an expert editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In an interview with KMZU’s Andy Campbell, Miles explains that the use of the term autism spectrum disorders over simply autism is important because, there are so many ways this neurological development disorder affects people. In fact, Miles explains this disorder affects every patient in it’s own unique way; no two patients are affected the same or have the same symptoms. For the editorial, Miles analyzed the new testing methods and submitted a recommendation.
Miles has primarily studied autism spectrum disorders and she described that over the years medical professionals have believed there is only one gene that causes autism, but advancements in testing and technology have proved otherwise. Since there is now believed to be at least 600 mutations on 3 separate genes, instead of the originally believed 1 gene, the new testing method allows a closer look at the chromosomes that make up the 3 genes; allowing the mutations to be more readily analyzed.
Miles believes this chromosomal microarray analysis and whole-exome sequencing to be 7 times more informative than the past chromosomal testing, according to a press release by the MU School of Medicine.
This testing only identifies the specific genetic cause of a patients autism; the only diagnosis of autism itself is based on behavioral assessments by experienced professionals.