Because the severe autism-like condition Christianson Syndrome was only first reported in 1999 and some symptoms take more than a decade to appear, families and doctors urgently need fundamental information about it. A new study that doubles the number of cases now documented in the scientific literature provides the most definitive characterization of CS to date. The authors therefore propose the first diagnostic criteria for the condition.
"We're hoping that clinicians will use these criteria and that there will be more awareness among clinicians and the community about Christianson Syndrome," said Brown University biology and psychiatry Assistant Professor Dr. Eric Morrow, senior author of the study in press in the Annals of Neurology. "We're also hoping this study will impart an opportunity for families to predict what to expect for their child and what's a part of the syndrome."
In conducting their study, which includes detailed behavioral, medical and genetic observations of 14 boys with CS from 12 families, the team of scientists and physicians worked closely with families of the small but fast-growing Christianson Syndrome Association , including hosting the group's inaugural conference at Brown's Alpert Medical School last summer.
In their study, Morrow's team was able to quantify the most frequent symptoms specific to CS. These include moderate to severe intellectual disability, epilepsy, difficulty or inability walking and talking, attenuated head and brain growth, and hyperactivity. Boys sometimes exhibit other specific symptoms including autism-like behaviors, low height and weight, acid reflux, and regressions in speech and motor skills after age 10 that the researchers include as secondary proposed diagnostic criteria. A third of the boys also had potentially neurodegenerat
|Contact: David Orenstein|