Autism Research

Anxiety, Sensory Over-responsivity, and Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Date Published: 
January 2013
Abstract: 

Anxiety, sensory processing problems and gastrointestinal (GI) issues occur frequently in children with ASD. This study examines the relationship between the three and finds that sensory over-responsivity and anxiety are highly associated and linked to GI problems.

Sequencing Studies Implicate Inherited Mutations in Autism

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
January 23, 2013
Abstract: 

SFARI: Rare, inherited mutations contribute to a significant proportion of autism cases according to two new studies published in Neuron.

Sleep Disruption as a Correlate to Cognitive and Adaptive Behavior Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
October 1, 2012
Date Published: 
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Abstract: 

This study examines the effects of sleep problems on daytime cognitive and adaptive functioning in children with ASD.

Mindfulness-based Therapy in Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Source: 
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Date Published: 
January 1, 2013
Abstract: 

This is the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapy for adults with ASD. Participants who received MBT benefited from the therapy, showing less depression, anxiety and rumination, and more positive affect.

Elevated Maternal C-reactive Protein and Autism in a National Birth Cohort

Source: 
Molecular Psychiatry
Date Published: 
January 22, 2013
Abstract: 

Large national birth cohort study links elevated maternal C-reactive protein (a marker of systemic inflammation) to increased autism risk.

Impaired Coordination of Brain Activity in Autism Involves Local, as Well as Long-Range, Signaling

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
January 14, 2013
Abstract: 

MEG study finds diminished long-range and local functional connectivity as individuals with ASD viewed faces. The study challenges the popular assumption that only long-range connectivity is reduced in ASD.

Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies

Source: 
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
Date Published: 
January 16, 2013
Abstract: 

The Institute of Medicine issues a report in response to questions about the safety of the vaccination schedule for children under age six. Thorough examination of the immunization schedule reveals no major concerns associated with adherence to recommended practices.

Impaired Language Pathways in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Cerebral Cortex
Date Published: 
June 1, 2012
Abstract: 

"The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between language pathways and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). "

Genetic and Functional Analyses of SHANK2 Mutations Suggest A Multiple Hit Model of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
PLOS Genetics
Date Published: 
February 2012
Abstract: 

"Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders with a complex inheritance pattern. While many rare variants in synaptic proteins have been identified in patients with ASD, little is known about their effects at the synapse and their interactions with other genetic variations. Here, following the discovery of two de novo SHANK2 deletions by the Autism Genome Project, we identified a novel 421 kb de novo SHANK2 deletion in a patient with autism. We then sequenced SHANK2 in 455 patients with ASD and 431 controls and integrated these results with those reported by Berkel et al. 2010 (n = 396 patients and n = 659 controls). We observed a significant enrichment of variants affecting conserved amino acids in 29 of 851 (3.4%) patients and in 16 of 1,090 (1.5%) controls (P = 0.004, OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.23-4.70). In neuronal cell cultures, the variants identified in patients were associated with a reduced synaptic density at dendrites compared to the variants only detected in controls (P = 0.0013). Interestingly, the three patients with de novo SHANK2 deletions also carried inherited CNVs at 15q11-q13 previously associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. In two cases, the nicotinic receptor CHRNA7 was duplicated and in one case the synaptic translation repressor CYFIP1 was deleted. These results strengthen the role of synaptic gene dysfunction in ASD but also highlight the presence of putative modifier genes, which is in keeping with the "multiple hit model" for ASD. A better knowledge of these genetic interactions will be necessary to understand the complex inheritance pattern of ASD."