This week summarizes some new studies looking at autism traits and autism diagnosis in girls with anorexia nervosa. While the two disorders may seem different on the outset, they do share some behavioral features. Unfortunately, most studies look at autism in those with anorexia, not the other way around. However, what is known is that there is not only higher levels of ASD traits in girls with anorexia, about 10% of girls with anorexia also have an autism diagnosis. This number can only be trusted if you look at both standardized observation instruments AND parental report. Studies determining the rates of eating disorders in autism are desperately needed for better treatment of symptoms.
Compared to researchers, community clinicians don’t have time for the same rigorous training on the standard autism diagnostic instrument called the ADOS, so can they still do it as well? Or does this group not have the resources they need to use it properly? Also, because psychiatric hospitals don’t see as many people with autism as they used to, a group of child psychiatrists got together and wrote guidelines for what to do if a child with autism showed up at the general inpatient ward. These are things that face families in the real word, and we thought you should hear about new science around them.