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  1. Autism gene mutation that slows brain activity...

    November 8, 2016- "Autism gene mutation that slows brain activity uncovered"- Researcher team from McMaster University identified how mutations in a gene called DIXDC1 impaired the growth of synapses impeding brain activity.  It is this impairment that can disrupt normal functioning and lead to developmental and behavioral problems. This gene has been identified in a subset of people with autism. This finding could lead to the development of a drug which could help individuals on the spectrum.

    • Nov 10 2016 11:07 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  2. Autism Researchers Looking at Baby Teeth to Ide...

    September 21, 2016- "Autism Researchers Looking at Baby Teeth to Identify Risk Factors"- A research team out of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, is hoping to examine whether environmental factors play a role in a child's risk for autism by using shed baby teeth. Through the use of a new technology, they believe baby teeth can reveal a child's risk for developing autism based on their chemical exposure in the womb.

    • Sep 22 2016 09:44 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  3. Can iPads Detect Signs of Autism?

    September 6, 2016- "Can iPads Detect Signs of Autism?"- Researchers believe that tracking movement patterns while a child plays with an iPad may be enough to identify if that child has autism according to a new study published in the journal of Scientific Reports.

    • Sep 08 2016 09:12 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  4. Words say little about cognitive abilities in a...

    September 6, 2016- "Words say little about cognitive abilities in autism"- Study published in the  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry reveals that children with autism who speak few or have no words have cognitive abilities that far exceed their verbal skills.

    • Sep 08 2016 08:47 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  5. Large study confirms high autism risk in 'b...

    August 22, 2016- "Large study confirms high autism risk in 'baby sibs"- Large study in California finds that children who have an older sibling with autism are 14 times more likely to be on the autism spectrum as well than those without a family history of autism spectrum disorder.  Also, younger brothers of those with autism are more likely than younger sisters to develop ASD.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:37 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  6. Imaging database for autism aims to outgrow qua...

    September 1, 2016- "Imaging database for autism aims to outgrow quality concerns"- The largest bank of brain imaging data (Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange) has had mixed reviews because researchers believe the collection to be too small and variable to spot signals and noisy data. ABIDE's creators are doubling down on their effort to fix this by adding more than 1,000 new scans and eight new sites.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:37 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  7. Tracking Time can be Tricky for Children with A...

    August 11, 2016- "Tracking Time can be Tricky for Children with Autism"- A new study suggests that inability to rely on past experiences as a guide results in trouble estimating time. The findings could explain why some people with autism have anxiety and social difficulties. One researcher suggests that difficulties with time perception may also cause the world to seem unpredictable, causing heightened anxiety in individuals with autism.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:25 AM
    • by brian
  8. Chemicals Banned Decades Ago Linked to Increase...

    August 23, 2016- "Chemicals Banned Decades Ago Linked to Increased Autism Risk Today"- A study from  A.J. Drexel Autism Institute found that children born after being exposed to the highest levels of certain compounds of chemicals, called organochlorine chemicals, during their mother’s pregnancy were roughly 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. The team looked at a 1,144 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. It was determined that two compounds in particular – PCB 138/158 and PCB 153 – were found to be significantly linked with autism risk. Children with the highest in utero levels of these two forms of PCBs were between 79 and 82 percent more likely to have an autism diagnosis, relative to those exposed to the lowest levels.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:19 AM
    • by brian
  9. Reckless Report Exaggerates Flaws in Brain Scan...

    August 16, 2016- "Reckless Report Exaggerates Flaws in Brain Scan Software"- In this opinion piece, the author argues that a report from June which suggests a bug in brain scanning program highlights hotspots of brain activity that are not actually present, is itself flawed. The author argues the June report grossly overstates the software snafu on studies that involve fMRI. In their report, the researchers say the bug and other flaws in the fMRI software and analysis call the results of 40,000 research papers into question. However, this article argues that this and other criticisms of fMRI imaging in the report have been highly exaggerated.  

    • Aug 17 2016 01:42 PM
    • by brian
  10. Study: Younger Siblings Face Higher Autism Risk

    August 9, 2016- "Study: Younger Siblings Face Higher Autism Risk"- A new study suggests younger siblings of those with autism are over a dozen times more likely than other kids to have the developmental disorder as well. The study determined that risk did not appear to change based on a child’s race or whether they were born early, at term, or late. However, the risk was higher for boys with older brothers with autism at 15 percent, compared to girls with affected older sister who were diagnosed 7 percent of the time.

    • Aug 10 2016 09:00 AM
    • by brian
  11. Common Brain Signature Marks Autism, Attention...

    August 8, 2016- "Common Brain Signature Marks Autism, Attention Deficit"- The first comparison of brain architecture between autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and ADHD has found that all are associated with disruptions in the structure of the corpus callosum. Clinicians may find it difficult to distinguish autism from ADHD based on symptoms alone. However, according to researchers, if the conditions are mark by similar structural problems in the brain, the same interventions might be useful no matter what the diagnosis is.

    • Aug 08 2016 10:17 AM
    • by brian
  12. Researchers Flag Hundreds of New Genes that Cou...

    August 4, 2016- "Researchers Flag Hundreds of New Genes that Could Contribute to Autism"- In a first of its kind research effort, researchers from Princeton and the Simons Foundation developed a machine-learning program that scoured the whole human genome to predict genes which may contribute to ASD. The results of the programs analyses yielded a trove of 2,500 candidate genes. According to this article, many of the newly implicated genes have never been studied for possible roles in ASD. Researchers are confident that  top-ranked autism-risk gene predictions from the machine-learning program can be used to direct future genome sequencing studies and to prioritize individual genes for experimental studies.

    • Aug 07 2016 12:09 PM
    • by brian
  13. Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Tr...

    August 5, 2016- "Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Treatment"- A new study suggests that families of children diagnosed with autism before age 4 are more likely to seek out behavioral therapy and less likely to treat their children with drugs than those diagnosed later on. The study observed 722 children between the ages of 6 and 11 with autism. On average, their parents discussed developmental concerns with a health care provider when the child was just over 2 years old, and the average age of diagnosis was more than 4 years of age. Children diagnosed before age 4 were more likely to receive behavioral therapy. Those diagnosed later were more likely to be treated with medications. Furthermore, the use of complementary and alternative therapies was nearly twice as likely when more than two years had elapsed between initial discussion and diagnosis.

    • Aug 07 2016 11:53 AM
    • by brian
  14. Concerns About Overlapping ASD Research Persist

    August 2, 2016- "Concerns About Overlapping ASD Research Persist"- In 2013, the U.S Government Accountability Office raised alarm bells with a report suggesting that 84 percent of autism research projects funded by the federal government between 2008 and 2012 might be redundant. A new report from the GAO suggests that federal agencies have done a better job of ensuring autism research activities are not unnecessarily duplicative. Despite this, the GAO remains steadfast in their 2013 recommendations that more coordination occur across the dozen or more agencies that collectively spent $1.4  billion for autism research, awareness projects, training, and other activities.

    • Aug 05 2016 12:22 PM
    • by brian
  15. Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study

    August 1, 2016- "Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study"- Researchers from the University of Rochester say they have identified an inner-ear problem in children with autism that may impair their ability to recognize speech. For the study, researchers tested the hearing of children between ages 6 and 17 with and without autism. Those with autism had hearing difficulty in a specific frequency that is important for processing speech. Moreover, the degree of hearing impairment was associated with the severity of autism symptoms, according to the study.

    • Aug 04 2016 12:28 PM
    • by brian
  16. Never Mind Statistics: Adults with Autism May b...

    August 4, 2016- "Never Mind Statistics: Adults with Autism May be Happy"- A longitudinal study following 100 boys and men with Asperger syndrome for roughly 20 years yielded some interesting findings. During the first follow-up, about 10 years ago, 26 percent of the 70 participants who responded lived a "restricted life," indicating that had no employment prospects and few or no friends. In the most recent study, 50 of the men answered written questions about their friendships, employment status, and other details about their lives. Despite many social and employment concerns, the men overall appeared to be happy, according to the researchers. Moreover, the 24 men who have autism along with another psychiatric condition, such as ADHD or depression, seemed to have a worse quality of life than those who have autism alone, according to the adversity measure. This result suggests that the greatest hardship comes from having multiple conditions.

    • Aug 04 2016 12:27 PM
    • by brian
  17. The Genes Underlying Autism are Coming Into Focus

    August 1, 2016- "The Genes Underlying Autism are Coming Into Focus"- The introduction of this article discusses how researchers found that CHD8 is one of the now recognized genetic subtypes of autism, while the bulk of the article delves deeper into the world of genetics and autism. Aside from a wealth of information on how genes are systematically linked to autism, this article includes a breakdown of about a dozen or more genes and how they directly impact the development of autism, from affecting chromatin structure to neuron motility.

    • Aug 02 2016 09:01 AM
    • by brian
  18. Technology May Help Doctors Learn To Address Au...

    July 29, 2016- "Technology May Help Doctors Learn To Address Autism"- A new program called ECHO Autism evaluated whether practicing pediatricians could be trained to screen for an treat autism in a series of remote training sessions. Over a period of 6 months, a dozen physicians participated in biweekly videoconferencing sessions where learned how to spot autism and address the disorder's medical and psychiatric impact. After participating in the training, doctors were twice as likely to screen their patients for autism in accordance with professional recommendations.

    • Aug 01 2016 09:59 AM
    • by brian
  19. Neurons from Boys with Autism Grow Unusually Fast

    July 28, 2016- "Neurons from Boys with Autism Grow Unusually Fast"- A new study on 8 males with autism found that their brain cells share a host of unusual characteristics. The features include impaired signaling through a pathway that controls cell growth. The findings suggest that glitches in this pathway, known as WNT, cause developing brain cells to grow too rapidly, and contribute to the unusually large brains that about one-fifth of children with autism have in early life. Furthermore, each of the subjects in the study has a different set of mutations in genes linked to the condition. This indicates that genetically distinct causes of autism affect the same molecular pathways.

    • Jul 28 2016 08:05 AM
    • by brian
  20. Study Finds Induced Labor Not Associated With R...

    July 25, 2016- "Study Finds Induced Labor Not Associated With Risk for Autism Disorders"- A new study out of Harvard has found the induction of labor appears not to be associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorders in children. This report disputes a large study in 2013 that found an association between induction of labor and risk of autism in offspring, which gained widespread media attention. Researchers in the Harvard study believe the previous study found a link between induced labor and increased autism risk because "many of the factors that could lead to both induction of labor and autism are completely or partially shared by siblings -- such as maternal characteristics or socioeconomic or genetic factors. Finding no association when comparing siblings suggests that previously observed associations could have been due to some familial factors -- not the result of induction."

    • Jul 28 2016 07:50 AM
    • by brian
  21. For Children with Autism, Multiple Languages Ma...

    July 25, 2016- "For Children with Autism, Multiple Languages May be a Boon"- Traditionally, pediatricians, educators, and speech therapists have advised multilingual families to speak one language, the predominant one where they live, to children with autism or other developmental delays. The reasoning behind this is that children on the spectrum often struggle to learn language, so focusing on a single one is for the better. However, there is a no data to support this notion. This article discusses a handful of studies demonstrating that children with autism can learn two languages as well as they learn one, and might even thrive in multilingual environments.  

    • Jul 25 2016 10:56 AM
    • by brian
  22. Epilepsy in Family Members Raises Risk of Autism

    July 21, 2016- "Epilepsy in Family Members Raises Risk of Autism"- While it has been determined that about one in three people with autism also have epilepsy, a new study has quantified the risk in the opposite direction. A study of 690,000 people in Sweden found that people with epilepsy are at eight times the risk of developing autism as the general population. The study also found that siblings and children of individuals with epilepsy are also at an increased risk.  

    • Jul 22 2016 10:40 AM
    • by brian
  23. Questions for Nordahl, Mello: Scans for Childre...

    July 19, 2016- "Questions for Nordahl, Mello: Scans for Children with Autism"- In this article, behavioral analyst Melissa Mello and neurologist Christine Wu Nordahl, each of UC Davis, discuss a new approach for “coaxing” individuals on the autism spectrum who have sensory sensitivities into receiving MRIs, which are invaluable for autism research. Beginning with the premise that “mock MRI scans” alone would not be enough to sooth sensitivities, the team worked to familiarize individuals with autism with the scanning environment by breaking down the typical mock scanning process into incremental steps. Like most skills learned through ABA tactics, their approach involved learning each child’s needs and taking each step at his or her pace along with introducing favorite foods or toys as rewards. Another approach involved allowing the child to view a favorite video within the scanner, helping them to realize that the confined space was not too intimidating after all. The article includes  anecdotes from the study about how researchers utilized individualized approaches based upon a child’s specific needs.

    • Jul 20 2016 12:20 PM
    • by brian
  24. Paths to Autism: One of Many?

    July 19, 2016- "Paths to Autism: One of Many?"- A new meta-analysis of behavioral and imaging studies challenges the widely held assumption that stems from impairment specifically in social brain networks. According to this article, past research into autism’s origins have primarily focused on social behaviors, based on the assumption that abnormalities in social brain networks arise early in life and compound throughout development. However, the new research examining infants at risk for autism demonstrate evidence for general abnormalities during the first year of life, including delayed motor maturation, higher level of perceptual sensitivity, and poor attention flexibility. The authors also point to brain imaging studies that provide evidence for widespread alteration throughout brain networks, rather than focal deficits in social networks.

    • Jul 20 2016 12:15 PM
    • by brian
  25. Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mou...

    July 14, 2016- "Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mouse Brains"- Mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate, cause mice to become solitary creatures rather than socialize with their peers. This is because SHANK3 wires the newborn mouse brain to seek social contact, according to a new study. The findings lend support to the theory that, starting at an early age, children with autism are not motivated to seek others’ company. This in turn may limit their opportunity for social development. Moreover, nearly 1 percent of people with autism carry mutations in SHANK3. The study point to the possibility of treating these people with molecules that target the receptor for glutamate, which mediates excitatory signals.

    • Jul 15 2016 09:07 AM
    • by brian