Autism Research

Hilibrand Autism Symposium: Carving a Place in the World for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Hilibrand Autism Symposium
Date Published: 
April 1, 2014
Abstract: 

Every adult wants to lead a meaningful life, and individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are no different. More and more, people with ASD are working, living, and engaging in their communities, and are being recognized for their strengths and talents. Yet the questions still remain: What do young adults with ASD need to transition to being productive members of society whose skills and interests are used and valued? How can professionals, parents, advocates, and others ensure that a place in the world is carved out for these individuals? This conference will present new research and innovative models to spark a dialogue about current challenges and effective solutions to helping adults with ASD obtain and maintain work, social connections, and independence.

ASF Scientific Advisory Board Member David Mandell will be giving the keynote address.

Tune into the Hilibrand Autism Symposium lifestream today from 9:00am to 4:30pm at
http://www.ujafedny.org/autism-symposium/

How to Think About the Risk of Autism

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
March 29, 2014
Abstract: 

When it comes to autism prevalence, it can be difficult to separate real risks from false rumors. The topics that gain the most media coverage aren't always the ones with the greatest affect on autism risk. The risk ratio can give perspective where isolated news stories don’t.

CDC: 1 in 68 Children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date Published: 
March 27, 2014
Abstract: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported that 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children.

Proportion of children with ASD and above average IQ on the rise
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported that 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children. The number of children identified with ASD ranged from 1 in 175 children in Alabama to 1 in 45 children in New Jersey. 
 
The surveillance summary report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010,” was published today in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Researchers reviewed records from community sources that educate, diagnose, treat and/or provide services to children with developmental disabilities. 
 
The data continue to show that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls:  1 in 42 boys versus 1 in 189 girls. White children are more likely to be identified as having ASD than are black or Hispanic children.
 
Levels of intellectual ability vary greatly among children with autism, ranging from severe intellectual challenges to average or above average intellectual ability.  The study found that almost half of children identified with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability (an IQ above 85) compared to a third of children a decade ago.
 
"The data are important because they help us plan for the types of services we should be building based on the needs of the kids" said Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.  "People with autism and intellectual disability have very different services and supports needs than people with autism who don't have intellectual disability.  The data also drive research . We learned nothing from this data about what causes autism or what causes different types of autism, but the data provide important clues about how we should be approaching those questions."
 
The report also shows most children with ASD are diagnosed after age 4, even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2. 
 
“The most important thing for parents to do is to act early when there is a concern about a child’s development,”said Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., chief of CDC’s Developmental Disabilities Branch. “If you have a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, take action. Don’t wait.”

Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism

Source: 
New England Journal of Medicine
Date Published: 
March 26, 2014
Abstract: 

New evidence suggests that autism begins in the brain before birth when brain cells fail to develop properly. In this study, the abnormalities in the brain cells were not uniform, showing autism's wide range of symptoms and severity. This better understanding of prenatal development of the brain cells of people with autism underscores the importance of early identification and intervention.

New Technique Finds Mutant Cells in a Haystack

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
March 19, 2014
Abstract: 

Researchers have developed a method to isolate a single mutant cell from thousands of others, they reported in the March issue of Nature Methods. The new approach will allow researchers to precisely engineer and study human cells without altering the genome. Ultimately, the method could be used to alter an individual’s cells before returning them to his or her body.

Autism Science Foundation Issues Request for Applications: 2014 Undergraduate Summer Research Grants

Source: 
Autism Science Foundation
Date Published: 
March 17, 2014
Abstract: 

The Autism Science Foundation invites applications from highly qualified undergraduates interested in pursuing basic and clinical research relevant to autism spectrum disorders during the summer.

The proposed research must be scientifically linked to autism or a closely related field. Autism Science Foundation will consider all areas of related basic and clinical research including but not limited to: human behavior across the lifespan (language, learning, communication, social function, epilepsy, sleep, self-injurious behavior, catatonia), neurobiology (anatomy, development, neuro-imaging), pharmacology, neuropathology, human genetics, genomics, epigenetics, epigenomics, immunology, molecular and cellular mechanisms, studies employing model organisms and systems, and studies of treatment and service delivery.

Click here for the full RFA.

Click here for the online application form.

Algorithm Uncovers Autism Syndromes' Fingerprints

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
March 6, 2014
Abstract: 

Autism is defined based on a wide variety of behavioral symptoms, but it's precisely this variation — along with a complex genetic background — that makes it tricky to connect behavior to the underlying genes. A new algorithm may make this challenge a bit easier to solve. The algorithm, which employs a form of artificial intelligence that learns as it goes, analyzes behavioral data and has learned to recognize six genetic disorders associated with autism, according to research published in Molecular Autism. The researchers hope to use these behavioral signatures to hone their search for the genetic underpinnings of ‘idiopathic autism,’ for which there is no known cause.

Autism Risk Abates in Later-Born Children

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
March 7, 2014
Abstract: 

The risk of certain autism spectrum disorders is highest in firstborn children and declines in each additional sibling born to the same mother, reports a large Finnish study published in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. When the researchers looked at Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and childhood autism, in which symptoms appear before the age of 3, as a group, they found that a diagnosis is most common in firstborns. The latter two conditions are now considered part of the autism diagnosis. When they looked at each diagnosis separately, the researchers found that the firstborn effect holds for Asperger and PDD-NOS, while second-born children are at the highest risk for childhood autism.

Studies Try to Pin Down Timing of 'Early' Autism Treatment

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
February 27, 2014
Abstract: 

Autism researchers and advocates often express concern that the average age of autism diagnosis in the U.S. hovers around 4 years even though most cases of the disorder can be reliably identified by age 2. In this highly contentious field, the need for early diagnosis and early intervention is one of the few areas of agreement. Surprisingly, though, there has been little hard evidence that earlier diagnosis improves the lives of people with autism in the long term. At last, this evidence is becoming available. The field turned toward more rigorous studies a decade or so ago, and many of those studies, focused on children between about 2 and 4 years old, are starting to bear fruit.

A Higher Mutational Burden in Females Supports a “Female Protective Model” in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Source: 
American Journal of Human Genetics
Date Published: 
February 27, 2014
Abstract: 

Researchers have more clues as to why more boys than girls are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics suggests that for boys, it takes less of a genetic hit to cause autism than it does for girls. The study continues to say that when it does appear in girls, it is due to a much more severe genetic hit, usually resulting in much more severe autism symptoms.