Clinical Significance of Functional MRI Guided Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Autism

Xuejun Kong, MD


Autism is a complicated neurodevelopment disorder of largely unknown cause. It is characterized by the difficulty to communicate and interact with others, often accompanied by significant behavioral challenges.


Autism is much more common than previously believed. Based on the 2007 CDC data,1 validated by several other recent epidemiologic studies,2-3 autism is diagnosed in 1 in 150  children in the United States and it affects four times as many boys than girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased ten-fold in the last decade.  About 1.5 million Americans may have some form of autism when symptoms of milder variants are taken into consideration. This number continues to rise. Epidemiologists estimate that the number of autistic children in theUS could reach up to 4 million in the next decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called autism a national public health crisis with an estimated cost of over $90 billion a year. Despite the serious social impact of autism, study grants available for research is reported to be only 0.3% of the total NIH funding, much lower than what is available for other less common and less severe disorders.

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