Diagnosis

Autism Outcomes Linked to Onset

Source: 
PsychCentral
Date Published: 
April 21, 2010
Abstract: 

A new study by the Kennedy Krieger Institute suggests that the long-term outcome of autism disorders is linked to when and how symptoms first appear. Surprisingly, researchers discovered children with early developmental warning signs may actually be at lower risk for poor outcomes than children with less delayed early development who experience a loss or plateau in skills.

New Study Of Autism Reveals a 'DNA tag' Amenable To Treatment

Source: 
EurekAlert
Date Published: 
April 8, 2010
Abstract: 

A new discovery raises hope that autism may be more easily diagnosed and that its effects may be more reversible than previously thought. In a new study appearing online in The FASEB Journal, scientists have identified a way to detect the disorder using blood and have discovered that drugs which affect the methylation state ("DNA tagging") of genes could reverse autism's effects. This type of drug is already being used in some cancer treatments.

Researchers Find Early Autism Signs in Some Kids

Disorder Out of Chaos

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
February 19, 2010
Abstract: 

The American Psychiatric Association, with its release this week of proposed revisions to its authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is recommending that Asperger’s be dropped. If this revision is adopted, the condition will be folded into the category of “autism spectrum disorder,” which will no longer contain any categories for distinct subtypes of autism like Asperger’s and “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified” (a category for children with some traits of autism but not enough to warrant a diagnosis).

The change is welcome, because careful study of people with Asperger’s has demonstrated that the diagnosis is misleading and invalid, and there are clear benefits to understanding autism as one condition that runs along a spectrum.

Autism's Earliest Symptoms Not Evident in Children Under 6 Months

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 16, 2010
Abstract: 

A study of the development of autism in infants, comparing the behavior of the siblings of children diagnosed with autism to that of babies developing normally, has found that the nascent symptoms of the condition -- a lack of shared eye contact, smiling and communicative babbling -- are not present at 6 months, but emerge gradually and only become apparent during the latter part of the first year of life.

Link Between Advanced Maternal Age and Autism Confirmed

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 8, 2010
Abstract: 

Advanced maternal age is linked to a significantly elevated risk of having a child with autism, regardless of the father's age, according to an exhaustive study of all births in California during the 1990s by UC Davis Health System researchers. Advanced paternal age is associated with elevated autism risk only when the father is older and the mother is under 30, the study found.

Lancet Accepts MMR Study "False"

Source: 
BBC News
Date Published: 
February 2, 2010
Abstract: 

The medical journal which originally published the discredited research linking autism and MMR has now issued a full retraction of the paper. The Lancet said it now accepted claims made by the researchers were "false".

LA Confidential: Studies Seek Reasons for Autism's Rise

Source: 
Wall Street Journal
Date Published: 
February 1, 2010
Abstract: 

California-based studies suggest that local environmental or social factors are driving the high autism-diagnosis rates. And they conclude that childhood vaccinations—which some people fear is a factor behind rising autism—are not to blame. Otherwise, diagnoses of the disorder would be more evenly dispersed, they say.

Genes Implicated in Twins' Autism

Source: 
The Baltimore Sun
Date Published: 
January 4, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers have known for years that when one identical twin has autism, the other is also likely to be diagnosed with it - evidence that autism likely has a genetic component. Recent studies support that theory. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute studied 277 pairs of twins and found that when one identical twin had the disorder, the other developed it 88 percent of the time; for fraternal twins, that figure was 31 percent.

Blood Mercury Concentrations in CHARGE Study Children With and Without Autism

Source: 
Environmental Health Perspectives, Hertz-Picciotto, Green, Delwiche, Hansen, Walker, Pessah
Date Published: 
January 2010
Year Published: 
2010

The Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study enrolled children 2-5 years of age. After diagnostic evaluation, they analyzed three groups: AU/ASD, non-AU/ASD with developmental delay (DD), and population-based TD controls. Mothers were interviewed about household, medical, and dietary exposures. Blood Hg was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to predict blood Hg from diagnostic status controlling for Hg sources.  Fish consumption strongly predicted total Hg concentration. AU/ASD children ate less fish. After adjustment for fish and other Hg sources, blood Hg levels in AU/ASD children were similar to those of TD children ; this was also true among non-fish eaters. The direct effect of AU/ASD diagnosis on blood Hg not through the indirect pathway of altered fish consumption was a 12% reduction. DD children had lower blood Hg concentrations in all analyses. Dental amalgams in children with gum-chewing or teeth-grinding habits predicted higher levels. After accounting for dietary and other differences in Hg exposures, total Hg in blood was neither elevated nor reduced in CHARGE Study preschoolers with AU/ASD compared with unaffected controls, and resembled those of nationally representative samples.