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Jan Buitelaar, M.D., Ph.D.
M.I.N.D. Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series: April 12, 2006

Biographical Info
Jan Buitelaar, M.D., Ph.D., is a child psychiatrist and professor and head of general and child and adolescent psychiatry at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Dr. Buitelaar’s research interests include neuropsychiatric disorders of children, adolescents and adults such as autism, ADHD and conduct disorder. He is involved in a number of psychopharmacological, psychophysiological, neuroimaging, epidemiological, and genetic studies of these disorders. A prolific researcher, Buitelaar has authored over 200 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to serving on the advisory boards and as a reviewer for several other scientific journals, he is currently the chief editor of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Presentation Abstracts
Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder in the general population at 14 to 15 months – nested studies (4 pm)
This presentation focuses on studies nested in our population-based screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - Aspects of psychiatric diagnoses. These studies evaluated the reliability and stability of psychiatric diagnoses, head size, attachment, and joint-attention. The associations between the current DSM-IV algorithm for autism and clinical diagnoses in very young children with and without ASD, and between the algorithm proposed for PDD-NOS and clinical diagnoses, were analyzed. Stability of diagnoses was evaluated through follow-up assessments, two years after the first assessment. Head size data was also collected on our sample of very young children with ASD, children with mental handicap without ASD and control children, and multilevel modelling employed to disentangle the effect of ASD and of mental handicap on head size. Attachment was investigated by the Strange Situation Procedure in very young children with autism, with broad ASD, non-ASD disorders, and normal children. Cortisol responses and heart rate variability during the Strange Situation Procedure were also examined.

Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder in the general population at 14 to 15 months – design and overall findings (6 pm)
Despite the very early onset of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a delay between parents’ first concerns and the psychiatric diagnosis still exists. Although more expertise and knowledge has led to earlier diagnosis in recent years, the diagnosis is still rarely made before 3 years of age. We set out to lower the diagnostic threshold of ASD as much as possible. To this end, we developed a screening instrument for ASD around age 14 months, and screened a large population of very young children. The main findings of our screening study, including development of the screening instrument and findings from nested studies on reliability and stability of psychiatric diagnoses, head size, attachment, and joint-attention, will be presented.

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