Autism Science

Association between maternal use of folic acid supplements and risk of autism spectrum disorders in children

Source: 
Journal of the American Medical Association
Date Published: 
February 13, 2013

 

 

The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between the use of prenatal folic acid supplements and presence of autism spectrum disorders in offspring. The study concluded that the use of prenatal folic acid supplements around the time fo conception was associated with a lower risk of autism spectrum disorders. These findings support the use of prenatal folic acid supplementation to reduce the risk of autism, however, the findings cannot establish causality. 

Maternal antibodies from mothers of children with autism alter brain growth and social behavior development in the rhesus monkey

Source: 
Translational Psychiatry
Date Published: 
July 9, 2013

Recent studies have produced findings that suggest that immunoglobulin G (IgG) class antibodies cross the placenta during pregnancy and affect brain development. Researchers believe that this may lead to one form of ASD. The activity of IgG antibodies was monitored in groups of female rhesus monkeys during their first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Results demonstrated there were differences in white matter volume in IgG-ASD offspring, and these differences were most prominent in the frontal lobes. 

Coexpression networks implicate human midfetal deep cortical projection neurons in the pathogenesis of autism

Source: 
Cell
Date Published: 
November 21, 2013

"As techniques for studying the human genome have advanced, an increasing number of genes are being associated with ASD; it is important to find the connections between these ASD-linked genes in order to understand how they may contribute to ASD. A new resource called the BrainSpan1 atlas provides researchers with three dimensional maps showing when and where genes turn on and off in the human brain, from embryonic stages through older adulthood. This study used the BrainSpan atlas to identify commonalities in when and where ASD-associated genes are expressed.By using the shared characteristics of different gene mutations implicated in ASD, this study creates a picture of the developmental processes that are changed in these cases. This image provides a sharper focus for the development of targeted treatments, and even holds potential for the development of personalized interventions based on genotype."

Microbiota modulate behavioral and physiological abnormalities associated with neurodevelopmental disorders

Source: 
Cell
Date Published: 
December 19, 2013

Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are defined by core behavioral impairments; however, subsets of individuals display a spectrum of gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities. We demonstrate GI barrier defects and microbiota alterations in the maternal immune activation (MIA) mouse model that is known to display features of ASD. UItimately, these findings support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in a mouse model of ASD and identify a potential probiotic therapy for GI and particular behavioral symptoms in human neurodevelopmental disorders.

Gastrointestinal problems in children with autism, developmental delays or typical development

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disororders
Date Published: 
November 6, 2013

"To compare gastrointestinal (GI) problems among children with: (1) autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (2) developmental delay (DD) and (3) typical development (TD), GI symptom frequencies were obtained for 960 children from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study. We also examined scores on five Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) subscales comparing ASD children with high versus low frequency GI symptoms. Compared to TD children, those with ASD [aOR 7.92 (4.89-12.85)] and DD [aOR 4.55 (2.51-8.24)] were more likely to have at least one frequent GI symptom. Restricting to ASD children, those with frequent abdominal pain, gaseousness, diarrhea, constipation or pain on stooling scored worse on irritability, social withdrawal, stereotypy, and hyperactivity compared with children having no frequent GI symptoms. Frequent GI problems affect young children with ASD and DD more commonly than those with TD. Maladaptive behaviors correlate with GI problems, suggesting these comorbidities require attention."

Gastrointestinal problems in children with autism, developmental delays or typical development

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disororders
Date Published: 
November 6, 2013

"To compare gastrointestinal (GI) problems among children with: (1) autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (2) developmental delay (DD) and (3) typical development (TD), GI symptom frequencies were obtained for 960 children from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study. We also examined scores on five Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) subscales comparing ASD children with high versus low frequency GI symptoms. Compared to TD children, those with ASD [aOR 7.92 (4.89-12.85)] and DD [aOR 4.55 (2.51-8.24)] were more likely to have at least one frequent GI symptom. Restricting to ASD children, those with frequent abdominal pain, gaseousness, diarrhea, constipation or pain on stooling scored worse on irritability, social withdrawal, stereotypy, and hyperactivity compared with children having no frequent GI symptoms. Frequent GI problems affect young children with ASD and DD more commonly than those with TD. Maladaptive behaviors correlate with GI problems, suggesting these comorbidities require attention."

Developmental trajectories in children with and without autism spectrum disorders: the first 3 years

Source: 
Child Development
Date Published: 
March 2013

"Retrospective studies indicate 2 major classes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) onset: early and later, after a period of relatively healthy development. This prospective, longitudinal study examined social, language, and motor trajectories in 235 children with and without a sibling with autism, ages 6-36 months. Children were grouped as: ASD identified by 14 months, ASD identified after 14 months, and no ASD. Despite groups' initial similar developmental level at 6 months, ASD groups exhibited atypical trajectories thereafter. Impairment from 14 to 24 months was greater in the Early-ASD than the Later-ASD group, but comparable at 36 months. Developmental plateau and regression occurred in some children with ASD, regardless of timing of ASD diagnosis. Findings indicate a preclinical phase of varying duration for ASD."

Effectiveness of developmental screening in an urban setting

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
January 1, 2013

The goal of this study was to determine whether developmental screening could aid identification of developmental delays, early intervention referrals, and eligibility for early intervention. The study concluded that children who received developmental screening tests were identified for developmental delays, early intervention referrals, and early intervention eligibility services in a more timely fashion than those who received only surveillance. This research supports policies that endorse developmental screening. 

Elevated Fetal Steroidogenic Activity in Autism

Source: 
Molecular Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 3, 2014
Abstract: 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found that children who later develop autism are exposed to heightened levels of steroid hormones (such as testosterone, progesterone and cortisol) in the womb. This finding may be related to the fact that autism affects males more than females.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Joins Autism BrainNet Tissue Bank

Source: 
Newswise
Date Published: 
May 29, 2014
Abstract: 

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has joined Autism BrainNet, a new network of research institutions created to collect, store and distribute postmortem brain tissue resources that will help scientists gain a deeper understanding of the causes, treatment and cure of autism spectrum disorder, which now affects an estimated one in 68 children. Launched by the Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks, Autism BrainNet recently joined with the Autism Science Foundation to unveil the Autism BrainNet registration site, It Takes Brains (www.TakesBrains.org)