This publication, by reviewing 1300 studies published on autism in 2008, represents an update on this topic. Results include possible parental influences, maternal conditions, and studies on genes and chromosomes. Possible etiological factors involve the "extreme male brain," defects in the mirror neuron system, vaccines, underconnectivity, disorders of central coherence, and many other more specific etiologies. Assessments or tests for autism are also reviewed. Characteristics of autistic individuals include repetitive behavior, language disorders, sleep disturbances, social problems, joint attention disorders, seizures, allergic reactions, and various behavioral changes. Cognitive changes involve IQ, reasoning, and verbal and language disorders. The savant syndrome is a fascinating phenomenon, at times seen in autistic individuals. Neurophysiological and neuroanatomical changes are also reviewed, as are comorbid conditions. Finally, treatment involves various medications including risperidone, ziprasidone, and antipsychotic drugs, as well as different procedures such as magnetic stimulation, acupuncture, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. As mentioned in the 2007 survey, nearly every conceivable problem that a child can have may be found in these unfortunate children and nearly every conceivable etiology has been mentioned to account for this serious disorder.