This piece reports on a study, which found that a newer genetic test is better at detecting abnormalities linked to autism when compared to the standard tests. This was a well-referenced piece that met many of our criteria, but it would have been improved had it included:
This is a story about an emerging diagnostic test for a childhood disorder that appears to have increasing prevalence. Knowledge of genetic predisposition to this disease is important.
The story did not mention specific costs of the CMA test; however, it did indicate that not all insurance will cover this test. Since the story stated that "both Children’s Hospital Boston and Montefiore have offered CMA testing for several years," some cost estimate could have easily been found.
The story adequately presents the efficacy of three different genetic tests in identifying abnormalities that may be associated with autism—karyotype: 2%; fragile X: 0.5%; CMA: 7%. It would have been helpful to let readers know that not all 933 people included in the study were tested with each of the three tests. According to the results, the CMA tests performed best in females with autistic disorder, but this was not reported.
There was no discussion regarding the emotional or social ramifications associated with receiving genetic testing results.
More information on who was included in this test would have been useful. The majority of the patients were diagnosed with autistic disorder (n=447) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) (n=454). A small number of participants had Asberger disorder (n=31).
This story did not exaggerate the prevalence or seriousness of autism.
This story included perspective from a pediatric geneticist unaffiliated with the research.
The story provided data comparing the two standard genetic tests to the newer CMA test.
The story clearly states that not all hospitals offer the newer chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) test. It could have also mentioned that genetic counseling services are not widely available in some geographic areas.
The story clearly points out that genetic tests for autism are often performed, but the CMA test is relatively new.