Autism Research

Evaluating Changes in the Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

Source: 
Public Health Reviews
Date Published: 
March 14, 2013
Abstract: 

In effort to stimulate more research to better understand ASD trends, ASF President Alison Singer and other stakeholders discuss the increase in ASD prevalence and share their knowledge and opinions.

Why Are There So Many Unsubstantiated Treatments in Autism?

Source: 
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Date Published: 
December 27, 2012
Abstract: 

An estimated 32-92% of parents use complementary/alternative treatments for their children with ASD despite the lack of scientific evidence for the efficacy of these methods. In this article, researchers issue a call for a standardized way to select and evaluate treatments. Barriers to successful treatment, including high costs, limited availability, parental compliance and poor recommendations from professionals are discussed.

Physical Aggression in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Date Published: 
December 27, 2012
Abstract: 

The prevalence of physical aggression was 53% across a sample of nearly 1600 children and adolescents with ASD. Girls and boys were equally likely to display aggressive behaviors. The researchers suggest sleep problems, self-injury and sensory problems may increase risk for physical aggression, and argue for better identification and treatment of these conditions.

Elevated Repetitive Behaviors are Associated with Lower Diurnal Salivary Cortisol Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
March 1, 2013
Abstract: 

This pilot study examined the relationship between repetitive behaviors (RBs) and cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress, in individuals with ASD. Multiple salivary cortisol samples were taken over three days for 21 children with ASD with high and low levels of RBs. Children in both groups showed the same pattern of cortisol change throughout the day, but the overall cortisol levels in the high RB group were significantly lower, suggesting RBs may work to soothe and decrease stress.

Predictors of Phrase and Fluent Speech in Children With Autism and Severe Language Delay

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
March 4, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers at Kennedy Krieger examined prevalence and predictors of language attainment in severely language-delayed children with ASD. 70% of the sample attained phrase speech and 47% attained fluent speech at or after age 4, indicating that later gains in language are likely in toddlers with severely delayed language. Children with high nonverbal intelligence and high levels of social interest and engagement were most likely to attain language. ASD-related features such as repetitive and sensory behaviors were not associated with language attainment.

Beyond Autism: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study of High-risk Children at Three Years of Age

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
February 8, 2013
Abstract: 

This study is the first large-scale examination of ASD behavioral characteristics and developmental functioning in high-risk (HR), non-autistic 3-year-olds with siblings on the spectrum. 79% of HR children were either no different from low-risk children (LR; no known ASD family history) with respect to ASD behavioral severity and developmental functioning, or were developmentally on target with high levels of ASD-related behaviors. 21% of HR children with no ASD diagnosis had an "early manifestation" of a broad autism phenotype: high levels of ASD-related behaviors and/or low levels of verbal and nonverbal functioning. The authors highlight the importance of developmental surveillance and intervention for this HR subset.

Oxytocin and Vasopressin in Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Sex Differences and Associations With Symptoms

Source: 
Autism Research and Treatment
Date Published: 
February 14, 2013
Abstract: 

Following positive results of treatment studies using oxytocin (OT) and evidence of genetic variations in the OT-arginine vasopressin (AVP) pathway in individuals with ASD, a new study from UC Berkeley further examines the involvement of OT and AVP in ASD. Results suggest levels of OT in individuals with ASD may not be as low as previously believed. Moreover, the researchers found significant gender differences, including higher levels of OT in girls and higher levels of AVP in boys.

Social Behaviors Increase in Children with Autism in the Presence of Animals Compared to Toys

Source: 
PLOS One
Date Published: 
February 27, 2013
Abstract: 

Children with ASD showed increased positive social behaviors in the presence of guinea pigs compared to toys in this new PLOS One study. Specifically, they showed more social approach behaviors (e.g. talking, looking at faces and making tactile contact) and positive affect (e.g. laughing and smiling), and less self-focused behaviors in the presence of animals.

Letting a Typical Mouse Judge Whether Mouse Social Interactions are Atypical

Source: 
Autism Research
Date Published: 
February 21, 2013
Abstract: 

This interesting preliminary study examined whether typical mice could recognize atypical social behavior in ASD mouse models. Wild-type mouse 'judges' preferred to be in chambers with other typical mice rather than socially atypical mice, suggesting that typical mice can distinguish mice displaying autism-like behavior from controls.

Use of Social Stories to Improve Self-Regulation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
Date Published: 
February 26, 2013
Abstract: 

Social stories, an intervention used to define a skill, concept or situation in socially appropriate terms, were used to promote self-regulation techniques in a self-contained preschool classroom. While implementation of self-regulation strategies varied among the children, all showed an increase in desired behaviors with the intervention.