Autism Science

People with Autism Don't Always "Catch" Yawns

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
September 17, 2013
Abstract: 

A new study finds that people with autism often miss facial cues that lead other people to "catch" yawns. Because individuals with autism often avoid looking at other people's faces, they may not pick up on the cues, such as closed eyes, that would encourage them to yawn. However, when asked to look at someone's face as they yawn, people with autism do yawn just as often as people without autism.

Grandfather's Age Linked to Autism

Source: 
JAMA Psychiatry
Date Published: 
August 1, 2013
Abstract: 

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that men who fathered children at age 50 or older were nearly twice as likely to have a grandchild with autism compared to men who had children at a younger age. The study focused on age-related aspects and sought to control any other variables, such as socioeconomic status.

Autism Genes are Surprisingly Large, Study Finds

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
September 16, 2013
Abstract: 

In a study recently published in the journal Nature, researchers discovered that autism genes are three to four times longer than the average gene expressed in neurons. According to the study, most mutations found in long genes tend to be discounted due to the fact that long genes generally have a higher probability of having a mutation, but the study says researchers think mutations in long genes should be looked at more carefully from now on.

Most People Who Work with Special-Needs Children Lack Knowledge About Fragile X

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
September 13, 2013
Abstract: 

According to a recent study in the journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, most people who work with special-needs children lack basic knowledge about Fragile X syndrome, even though it is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability. Most people studied did not know many of the symptoms of the syndrome or how best to support children with Fragile X syndrome.

Study Finds that a Subset of Children with Autism may be Misdiagnosed

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disororders
Date Published: 
September 18, 2013
Abstract: 

A study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute studied children with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, who as a group have a prevalence of autism between 20 and 50 percent according to parent reports. This study found that these children may be getting misdiagnosed because the symptoms of the chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, including social impairments, are very similar to symptoms of autism.

Profile: Autism Science Foundation on About.com

Source: 
About.com
Date Published: 
September 15, 2013
Abstract: 

About.com writer Lisa Jo Rudy profiles The Autism Science Foundation in her quest to help readers decipher who's who in the autism world.

Alarm Over Autism Test

Source: 
Science Magazine
Date Published: 
September 13, 2013
Abstract: 

A research group exploring the hypothesis that certain maternal antibodies can impair fetal brains has partnered with a company to develop a test for predicting whether a woman will have a child with autism. The antibodies, they claim, could account for up to a quarter of all autism cases. But other autism scientists are skeptical that the evidence is strong enough to make such a claim, or to consider an autism test based on the antibodies.

The full article from Science magazine can be viewed here.

Oxytocin and Serotonin May Not be Rewarding Social Interactions in Autistic Brain

Source: 
Nature
Date Published: 
September 11, 2013
Abstract: 

In the brain, oxytocin and serotonin work together to make social interactions pleasurable, rewarding, and worth repeating. A new study in the journal Nature shows that in individuals with autism, these rewarding functions may not be occurring properly, making social interaction uncomfortable.

An article in TIME on this study can be found here

Autistic Children Can Miss Non-Verbal Cues When Listening

Source: 
Developmental Science
Date Published: 
September 10, 2013
Abstract: 

Due to the fact that many people with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty holding eye contact during face to face interaction, these people can miss out on important non-verbal cues during this interaction. The study also found that most people, whether typically- or non-typically developing, have difficulty holding eye contact when thinking, such as if asked to answer a challenging math problem.

In Autism, Head and Body Size Varies with Gender

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
August 29, 2013
Abstract: 

Girls with autism tend to have smaller heads and bodies than their typically developing peers, whereas boys with the disorder tend to have average-sized heads and slightly larger bodies, report two recent studies. This shows another way that autism affects males and females differently.