Autism Research

Senate Passes Autism Bill

Source: 
The Hill
Date Published: 
June 31, 2014
Abstract: 

The Senate passed a bill Thursday night that reauthorizes federal support for autism programs. The Autism CARES Act, H.R. 4631, requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to designate an official to oversee national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research. It also extends autism education programs through 2019. The House passed the measure by voice vote last month and the Senate agreed to it through a unanimous consent agreement. The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

ASF President Alison Singer on Good Morning America Comments on Research About Kids Moving Off the Spectrum

Source: 
Good Morning America
Date Published: 
July 31, 2014
Abstract: 

New research by Cathy Lord and Deborah Fein suggests 10% of kids with autism achieve "optimal outcome." Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer speaks about this new research on Good Morning America, saying there's no miracle cure, and that we need more research so we can discover why certain children are improving so that the same opportunity for improvement can be expanded to more children.

Autism Study Seeks Brain Tissue Donations

Source: 
MyFoxNY
Date Published: 
July 10, 2014
Abstract: 

A lab called Autism BrainNet is collecting brains for study. The belief is that brain tissue study is the key to solving autism. Unlike with Alzheimer's disease, where literally thousands of brains have been studied, during the last three decades only 100 autism brains have been studied. Four to five brains are donated for research every year. The Autism BrainNet study is looking to triple that number with the hope of answering some of the most basic questions about the disorder. For more information about the program go to: www.takesbrains.org

Disruptive CHD8 Mutations Define a Subtype of Autism Early in Development

Source: 
Cell
Date Published: 
July 7, 2014
Abstract: 

A variation in the CHD8 gene has a strong likelihood of leading to a type of autism accompanied by digestive problems, a larger head and wide-set eyes, a study in Cell reports. This discovery is part of an emerging approach to studying the underlying mechanisms of autism and what those mean for people with the condition. Many research teams are trying to group subtypes of autism based on genetic profiles. This is the first time researchers have shown a definitive cause of autism from a genetic mutation.

Motor Deficits Match Autism Severity

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
June 20, 2014
Abstract: 

The severity of core autism symptoms in young children goes hand in hand with the degree of the children’s difficulty with motor tasks, according to a study published in the April issue of the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. Early interventions, such as therapies that target social and communicative behavior, may alter autism’s course. Building strong motor skills may help children with autism develop better social and communicative skills, especially in physically demanding play, the researchers say.

For Flagging Autism Risk, Using Two Tests is Best Option

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
June 20, 2014
Abstract: 

The average child with autism is 18 months old before his or her parents first begin to be concerned. Given the importance of early intervention, it’s crucial that parents and doctors both catch on to the symptoms as soon as possible. A study published in European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds that two autism screens are better than one at identifying toddlers who need specialized clinical services. These screens, such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) and the Early Screening of Autistic Traits (ESAT), are used not to diagnose autism, but rather to identify children who need more specialized attention — for example, from a child psychiatrist or a behavioral therapist.

Autism Science Foundation Request for Applications: 2014 Research Enhancement Mini-Grants

Source: 
The Autism Science Foundation
Date Published: 
June 24, 2014
Abstract: 

The Autism Science Foundation today released its request for applications for 2014 Research Enhancement Mini-Grants. ASF is inviting applications for grants of up to $5,000 to enable researchers to expand the scope or increase the efficiency of existing grants, or to take advantage of changes or findings that have occurred in or around an existing project that warrant more funding. Applications must be received by September 12, 2014.

 Read the full RFA here
 

Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides

Source: 
University of California-Davis
Date Published: 
June 23, 2014
Abstract: 

A study out of the University of California Davis found that women who live near farmland where pesticides are applied are 60 percent more likely to give birth to a child with autism or other developmental delays. In the study, the association was stronger for women exposed during their second or third trimester. The study looked at three categories of pesticides: organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates; all three were found to have associations with ASD or other developmental delays.

Evidence of Reproductive Stoppage in Families With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
JAMA Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 18, 2014
Abstract: 

Research published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that parents who have a child with autism are about a third less likely to choose to continue having children compared to parents who do not have a child with ASD. In the study, this "reproductive stoppage" did not occur until the child started showing symptoms or received a diagnosis of ASD. This led researchers to conclude that it was a conscious decision to stop having children, rather than another factor such as fertility problems.

Reversal of Autism-Like Behaviors and Metabolism in Adult Mice with Single-Dose Antipurinergic Therapy

Source: 
Translational Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 17, 2014
Abstract: 

Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered that suramin, a drug that was originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, reverses autism-like social behaviors in mice. This study proposes that the social difficulties and metabolism issues found in individuals with ASD could be improved with the use of suramin — even in adults. While suramin has not been tested in humans, these findings could direct future research for autism therapies.