Early Intervention

Prevalence of Autism According to Maternal Immigrant Status and Ethnic Origin

Source: 
Acta Psychiatrica Scandanavia, M.-J Dealberto
Date Published: 
January 2011
Year Published: 
2011

This study examined the rates of autism according to maternal immigrant status and ethnic origins based on the vitamin D insufficiency hypothesis, which proposes that maternal vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy could be associated with autism. The study provided further support to the association between maternal immigrant status and an increased risk of autism. In addition, although more complex, ethnic origin was shown to have an effect on the rates of autism; the study found that black ethnicity demonstrated a higher incidence of autism, particularly when considering autism associated with mental retardation. The results found in the study are consistent with the maternal vitamin D insufficiency hypothesis. To understand the effect of maternal vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy on the development of the fetal brain, neurobiological studies are necessary.

Preference for Geometric Patterns Early in Life as a Risk Factor for Autism

Source: 
Archives of General Psychiatry, Pierce et al.
Date Published: 
January 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that a preference for geometric patterns early in life may be a novel and easily detectable early signature of infants and toddlers at risk for autism. One hundred ten toddlers were presented with a  one-minute movie depicting moving geometric patterns on one side of a video monitor and children in high actions, such as dancing or doing yoga, on the other. Using this preferential looking paradigm, researchers measured total fixation duration and the number of fast eye movements within each movie type was examined using eye-tracking technology. Overall, toddlers with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as young as 14 months spent significantly more time fixating on dynamic geometric images than other diagnostic groups. If a toddler spent more than 69% of his or her time fixating on geometric patterns, then the positive predictive value for accurately classifying that toddler as having an ASD was 100%. The preference for geometric patterns among children with ASDs can be used as an early risk factor for autism, which can aid in early identification efforts.

ICare4autism To Create World's First Global Autism Research And Education Center

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 13, 2010
Abstract: 

The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4autism), a New York-based charity, announced plans to create the world's first Global Autism Center on Mt. Scopus in Israel, dedicated to catalyzing breakthrough innovation in autism research and treatment. In a ceremony at Jerusalem's City Hall hosted by Mayor Nir Barkat, ICare4autism's President Joshua Weinstein signed an agreement paving the way for ICare4autism to acquire the campus of Bezalel Academy of Art in 2013, and convert it into a center.

Toddlers With Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
December 9, 2010
Abstract: 

Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism

Source: 
Journal of the American Medical Association, Giulivi et al
Date Published: 
December 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children. While the study is small (10 test subjects) and requires replication, it furthers previous research which has revealed hints of a mitochondrial dysfunction/autism connection. The researchers found that mitochondria from children with autism consumed less oxygen than mitochondria from the group of control children. For example, the oxygen consumption of one mitochondrial enzyme complex, NADH oxidase, in autistic children was only 33% of that found in control children. While Giulivi cautions that this study has not found the cause of autism, she states that it "...furthers the understanding of autism on several fronts and may, if replicated, be used to help physicians diagnose the problem earlier."

Children With Autism Have Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Study Finds

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
November 30, 2010
Abstract: 

Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children, a new study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that cumulative damage and oxidative stress in mitochondria, the cell's energy producer, could influence both the onset and severity of autism, suggesting a strong link between autism and mitochondrial defects.

New Approach Finds Success In Teaching Youth With Autism

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 22, 2010

As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to increase, the one thing that won't change is the need for those children to develop social skills. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are developing an effective social competence curriculum, with a virtual classroom component, that could help educators meet the demand of this growing population.

A Model for Neural Development and Treatment of Rett Syndrome Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Source: 
Cell, Marchetto et al
Date Published: 
November 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases in which different combinations of genetic mutations may contribute to the phenotype. Using Rett syndrome (RTT) as an ASD genetic model, we recapitulate early stages of a human neurodevelopmental disease, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from RTT patients' fibroblasts, which essentially creates a "disease in a dish". The data uncovered early alterations in developing human RTT neurons and suggest evidence of an unexplored developmental window, before disease onset, in RTT syndrome where potential therapies could be successfully employed. Our model represents a promising cellular tool for drug screening, diagnosis and personalized treatment.

How Immune Response in Pregnancy May Lead to Brain Disfunction in Offspring

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
October 14, 2010
Abstract: 

A pregnant woman's immune response to viral infections may induce subtle neurological changes in the unborn child that can lead to an increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia and autism.

Scientists One Step Closer to Diagnosing Autism with MRI

Source: 
Sify News
Date Published: 
October 13, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers at the University of Utah (U of U) are one step closer to diagnosing autism using MRI, an advance that eventually could help health care providers identify the problem much earlier in children and lead to improved treatment and outcomes for those with the disorder.