A study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that studies about autism tend to include few females participating as subjects.
The lack of female subjects heightens the difficulty of developing effective interventions or accurately diagnosing the condition in females.
“Researchers often rely on standardized measures to confirm diagnosis prior to enrollment in research studies,” according to the authors of the study.
“We retrospectively analyzed the effects of one such measure (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, ADOS) on research inclusion/exclusion rates by sex in autistic adults, all of whom had a preexisting community diagnosis of autism.”
As published in Autism Research, the study is the first empirical one to assess how varying diagnosis and determining inclusion affects the number of females with autism eligible to participate in research.
The study was authored by Anila M. D’Mello, Isabelle R. Frosch, Cindy E. Li, Annie L. Cardinaux, and John D.E. Gabrieli.