Infants

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.

The First Year Inventory: A Longitudinal Follow-up of 12-month-old to 3-year-old Children

Source: 
Autism
Date Published: 
August 2, 2012
Abstract: 

"The First Year Inventory is a parent-report measure designed to identify 12-month-old infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder. First Year Inventory taps behaviors that indicate risk in the developmental domains of sensory-regulatory and social-communication functioning. This longitudinal study is a follow-up of 699 children at 3 years of age from a community sample whose parents completed the First Year Inventory when their children were 12 months old. Parents of all 699 children completed the Social Responsiveness Scale-Preschool version and the Developmental Concerns Questionnaire to determine age 3 developmental outcomes. In addition, children deemed at risk for autism spectrum disorder based on liberal cut points on the First Year Inventory, Social Responsiveness Scale-Preschool, and/or Developmental Concerns Questionnaire were invited for in-person diagnostic evaluations. We found 9 children who had a confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder from the sample of 699. Receiver operating characteristic analyses determined that a two-domain cutoff score yielded optimal classification of children: 31% of those meeting algorithm cutoffs had autism spectrum disorder and 85% had a developmental disability or concern by age 3. These results suggest that the First Year Inventory is a promising tool for identifying 12-month-old infants who are at risk for an eventual diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder."

Atypical Audiovisual Speech Integration In Infants At Risk For Autism

Source: 
PLOS One
Date Published: 
May 15, 2012
Abstract: 

"The language difficulties often seen in individuals with autism might stem from an inability to integrate audiovisual information, a skill important for language development. We investigated whether 9-month-old siblings of older children with autism, who are at an increased risk of developing autism, are able to integrate audiovisual speech cues."

Blood-based Gene Expression Signatures of Infants and Toddlers with Autism.

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
September 2012
Abstract: 

"OBJECTIVE: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorders that onset clinically during the first years of life. ASD risk biomarkers expressed early in life could significantly impact diagnosis and treatment, but no transcriptome-wide biomarker classifiers derived from fresh blood samples from children with autism have yet emerged.

RESULTS: Potential ASD biomarkers were discovered in one-half of the sample and used to build a classifier, with high diagnostic accuracy in the remaining half of the sample."

Infant Neural Sensitivity to Dynamic Eye Gaze Is Associated With Later Emerging Autism

Source: 
Current Biology
Date Published: 
February 21, 2012
Abstract: 

"Autism spectrum disorders (henceforth autism) are diagnosed in around 1% of the population [1]. Familial liability confers risk for a broad spectrum of difficulties including the broader autism phenotype (BAP) [2, 3]. There are currently no reliable predictors of autism in infancy, but characteristic behaviors emerge during the second year, enabling diagnosis after this age [4, 5]. Because indicators of brain functioning may be sensitive predictors, and atypical eye contact is characteristic of the syndrome [6-9] and the BAP [10, 11], we examined whether neural sensitivity to eye gaze during infancy is associated with later autism outcomes [12, 13]. We undertook a prospective longitudinal study of infants with and without familial risk for autism. At 6-10 months, we recorded infants' event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to viewing faces with eye gaze directed toward versus away from the infant [14]. Longitudinal analyses showed that characteristics of ERP components evoked in response to dynamic eye gaze shifts during infancy were associated with autism diagnosed at 36 months. ERP responses to eye gaze may help characterize developmental processes that lead to later emerging autism. Findings also elucidate the mechanisms driving the development of the social brain in infancy."

Temperament in the First 2 Years of Life in Infants at High-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
August 24, 2012
Abstract: 

"The current study investigated early temperament in 54 infants at familial high-risk of ASD and 50 controls. Parental report of temperament was assessed around 7, 14 and 24 months of age and diagnostic assessment was conducted at 3 years. The high-risk group showed reduced Surgency at 7 and 14 months and reduced Effortful Control at 14 and 24 months, compared to controls. High-risk infants later diagnosed with ASD were distinguished from controls by a temperament profile marked by increased Perceptual Sensitivity from the first year of life, and increased Negative Affect and reduced Cuddliness in the second year of life. Temperament may be an important construct for understanding the early infant development of ASD."

Precursors to Social and Communication Difficulties in Infants At-Risk for Autism: Gaze Following and Attentional Engagement

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
October 2012
Abstract: 

"Whilst joint attention (JA) impairments in autism have been widely studied, little is known about the early development of gaze following, a precursor to establishing JA. We employed eye-tracking to record gaze following longitudinally in infants with and without a family history of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 7 and 13 months. No group difference was found between at-risk and low-risk infants in gaze following behaviour at either age. However, despite following gaze successfully at 13 months, at-risk infants with later emerging socio-communication difficulties (both those with ASD and atypical development at 36 months of age) allocated less attention to the congruent object compared to typically developing at-risk siblings and low-risk controls. The findings suggest that the subtle emergence of difficulties in JA in infancy may be related to ASD and other atypical outcomes."

Prenatal Versus Postnatal Sex Steroid Hormone Effects on Autistic Traits in Children at 18 to 24 Months of Age

Source: 
Molecular Autism
Date Published: 
December 11, 2012
Abstract: 

Cambridge researchers are investigating the link between pre- and postnatal hormone levels and autistic traits later in life.

Object Exploration at 6 and 9 Months in Infants with and without Risk for Autism

Source: 
Autism
Date Published: 
November 22, 2012
Abstract: 

Co-authored by ASF grantee Nina Leezenbaum, this study found delayed visual and oral exploration of objects in infant siblings of children with autism that were not observed in infants with no family history.

Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Autism

Source: 
Archives of General Psychiatry (Now; JAMA Psychiatry)
Date Published: 
November 27, 2012
Abstract: 

Researchers uncover a connection between exposure to traffic-related pollutants and autism risk. Findings suggest children living in high pollution areas are three times more likely to have autism compared to those living in low pollution areas.