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Do Medical Problems Reveal Autism Subtypes?

A Harvard Medical School analysis of electronic medical records suggests that some children with autism fall into one of three distinct subgroups based on common medical issues.

* Those in the first group have seizures, or epilepsy.

* Those in the second have health issues that affect multiple body systems such as seizures combined with GI disorders and/or hearing and cardiac problems.

* Those in the third have psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive compulsive disorder.

These groups may reflect distinct types of autism and might even point to different genetic and environmental risk factors, the researchers conclude. Their report appears in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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