Clinical trials of autism treatments rarely use a consistent set of tools to measure efficacy, a new study suggests1. Instead, researchers generally design questionnaires specific to their study goals, and 69 percent of these tools are used only once.
The lack of consistency could obscure positive results. “Losing even one treatment that could possibly be helpful, just because we don’t use the right instruments, is a big loss,” says study investigator Natascia Brondino, assistant professor at the University of Pavia in Italy.
This variability also makes it difficult to compare treatments, or even the same treatment across studies.