Autism Science

Working Memory Deficits in High-functioning Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Neuropsychological and Neuroimaging correlate

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
June 4, 2013
Abstract: 

This new review of neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging studies suggests that system specific problems of spatial working memory are often seen in adolescents with ASD. Additionally, researchers found that "neuroimaging studies indicate a more global working memory processing or connectivity deficiency, rather than a focused deficit in the prefrontal cortex."

Neuronal Connectivity as a Convergent Target of Gene-environment Interactions that Confer Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Date Published: 
March, 2013
Abstract: 

This review briefly summarizes the evidence implicating dysfunctional signaling via Ca2 +-dependent mechanisms, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinases (PI3K) and neuroligin–neurexin–SHANK as convergent molecular mechanisms in ASD, and then discusses examples of environmental chemicals for which there is emerging evidence of their potential to interfere with normal neuronal connectivity via perturbation of these signaling pathways.

Tipping the Balance of Autism Risk: Potential Mechanisms Linking Pesticides and Autism

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives
Date Published: 
July, 2012
Abstract: 

On the basis of experimental and observational research, certain pesticides may be capable of inducing core features of autism, but little is known about the timing or dose, or which of various mechanisms is sufficient to induce this condition.

Maternal Periconceptional Folic Acid Intake and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Delay in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) Case-control Study.

Source: 
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Date Published: 
May 30, 2012
Abstract: 

Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake may reduce ASD risk in those with inefficient folate metabolism

Advancing Maternal Age is Associated with an Increasing Risk for Autism: A Review and Meta-Analysis

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
May, 2012
Abstract: 

The results of this meta-analysis support an association between advancing maternal age and risk of autism. The association persisted after the effects of paternal age and other potential confounders had been considered, supporting an independent relation between higher maternal age and autism.

Abnormal Placenta Folds Could Be Indicator of Autism

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
April 22, 2013
Abstract: 

This study suggests that the placentas from women whose fetuses are at elevated risk for autism are markedly different from control placentas. Specifically, the identification of an increase in folds in the placenta could be used to identify children at risk of being autistic.

Important Molecular Targets of the Autism-Linked RORA Gene Identified

Source: 
Molecular Autism
Date Published: 
May 22, 2013
Abstract: 

Scientists from George Washington University identified hundreds of molecular targets of the RORA gene. Of these molecular targets, 426 are linked to autism by the AutismKB database.

Sporadic Autism Exomes Reveal a Highly Interconnected Protein Network of De Novo Mutations

Source: 
Nature
Date Published: 
April 4, 2012
Abstract: 

Researchers demonstrate that de-novo point mutations are overwhelmingly paternal in origin (4:1 bias) and positively correlated with paternal age, consistent with the modest increased risk for children of older fathers to develop ASD.

Patterns and Rates of Exonic De Novo Mutations in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Nature
Date Published: 
April 4, 2012
Abstract: 

Results support polygenic models in which spontaneous coding mutations in any of a large number of genes increases risk by 5 to 20-fold. Despite the challenge posed by such models, results from de novo events and a large parallel case-control study provide strong evidence in favor of CHD8 and KATNAL2 as genuine autism risk factors.

Levels of Select PCB and PBDE Congeners in Human Postmortem Brain Reveal Possible Environmental Involvement in 15q11-q13 Duplication Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Source: 
Environmental and Molecular Genetics
Date Published: 
August 29, 2012
Abstract: 

These results demonstrate a novel paradigm by which specific POPs may predispose to genetic copy number variation of 15q11-q13.