Autism News

Alarm Over Autism Test

Source: 
Science Magazine
Date Published: 
September 13, 2013
Abstract: 

A research group exploring the hypothesis that certain maternal antibodies can impair fetal brains has partnered with a company to develop a test for predicting whether a woman will have a child with autism. The antibodies, they claim, could account for up to a quarter of all autism cases. But other autism scientists are skeptical that the evidence is strong enough to make such a claim, or to consider an autism test based on the antibodies.

The full article from Science magazine can be viewed here.

Oxytocin and Serotonin May Not be Rewarding Social Interactions in Autistic Brain

Source: 
Nature
Date Published: 
September 11, 2013
Abstract: 

In the brain, oxytocin and serotonin work together to make social interactions pleasurable, rewarding, and worth repeating. A new study in the journal Nature shows that in individuals with autism, these rewarding functions may not be occurring properly, making social interaction uncomfortable.

An article in TIME on this study can be found here

Autistic Children Can Miss Non-Verbal Cues When Listening

Source: 
Developmental Science
Date Published: 
September 10, 2013
Abstract: 

Due to the fact that many people with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty holding eye contact during face to face interaction, these people can miss out on important non-verbal cues during this interaction. The study also found that most people, whether typically- or non-typically developing, have difficulty holding eye contact when thinking, such as if asked to answer a challenging math problem.

In Autism, Head and Body Size Varies with Gender

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
August 29, 2013
Abstract: 

Girls with autism tend to have smaller heads and bodies than their typically developing peers, whereas boys with the disorder tend to have average-sized heads and slightly larger bodies, report two recent studies. This shows another way that autism affects males and females differently.

Young Adults with Autism Found to Have Difficulty Transitioning Into Employment

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
September 5, 2013
Abstract: 

A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that young adults with autism spectrum disorders are experiencing particular difficulty in successfully transitioning into employment. Approximately one half of young adults with an ASD have worked for pay outside the home in the first eight years following high school. The study concludes that further research is needed to determine strategies for improving outcomes as these young adults transition into adulthood.

Genome-Editing Tools Compose New Models of Autism

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
September 5, 2013
Abstract: 

New synthetic biology tools have allowed for great advances in genetic testing of many mutations. This technology known as CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) allows researchers to create molecular scissors that cut and paste essentially any mutation into the genome of any cell, including a human stem cell.

Researchers Discover a Potential Cause of Autism

Source: 
Natue
Date Published: 
August 28, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers at UNC have discovered that problems with a key group of enzymes known as topoisomerases can have profound effects on the genetic machinery behind brain development and potentially lead to autism spectrum disorder. Researchers believe this finding represents a great step forward in the search for environmental factors behind autism.

Information on this study at UNC can be found at
http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2013/august/researchers-discover-a-potential-cause-of-autism

Study of Nonverbal Autism Must Go Beyond Words, Experts Say

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
September 2, 2013
Abstract: 

About one fourth of people with autism are minimally verbal or nonverbal. Early intervention programs have been helping children develop language skills, but researchers say that seemingly unrelated issues such as motor skills and joint attention may hold the key to communication development.

Risk of Epilepsy Linked to Age and Intelligence

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
August 19, 2013
Abstract: 

Children with autism who are older than 13 years and have low intelligence are at the greatest risk of having epilepsy, says one of the largest epidemiological studies on the issue to date. The presence of epilepsy among the general population is around two percent; the prevalence of epilepsy among people with autism is around thirty percent. This study breaks down occurrence of epilepsy by age, with children ages 13 to 17 having the highest prevalence.

Autistic Children and Adults Find Calm in "Snoezelen" Room

Source: 
Tampa Bay Times
Date Published: 
August 27, 2013
Abstract: 

A multisensory room, known as the Snoezelen room, in an Autism Behavioral Center in St. Petersburg, FL is helping individuals with developmental disabilities by allowing them to regulate how much sensory stimulation they experience while in the room. The light up ball pit, patterns of light projected on the wall, and other forms of sensory stimulation are all controlled by a remote given to the individual. There are 1,200 rooms like this in the United States providing a calming experience for people with autism by giving them an escape from an overstimulating world.