The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued a draft grade I recommendation concluding that current evidence is insufficient to either recommend or discourage screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, the independent panel announced Aug. 3.

The recommendation applies to children with no diagnosis or symptoms of ASD or developmental delay, and for whom no concerns of ASD have been expressed by the parents or health care provider.

More research is needed to evaluate the benefits and harms of screening, which cannot be determined with the current evidence, the USPSTF said in a statement.

“Good-quality studies are needed to better understand the intermediate- and long-term health outcomes of screening for ASD in children, and whether earlier identification through screening is associated with clinically important improvements in health outcomes” the statement said.“Treatment studies that enroll younger children, especially those with screen-detected ASD, are critical to understanding the potential benefits of screening.”

The draft recommendation is available for public comment on the USPSTF website until Aug. 31.