Early Intervention

Randomized, Controlled, Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers with Autism: The Early Start Denver Model

Source: 
Pediatrics, Dawson, Rogers, Munson, Smith, Winter, Greeson, Donaldson, and Varley
Date Published: 
January 2010
Year Published: 
2010

The first randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate the efficacy of a comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention for toddlers with ASD for improving cognitive and adaptive behavior and reducing severity of ASD diagnosis. Results of this study underscore the importance of early detection of and intervention in autism.

New CDC Report on Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
CDC- MMWR Surveillance Studies
Date Published: 
December 18, 2009
Abstract: 

In 2006, on average, approximately 1% or one child in every 110 in the 11 ADDM sites was classified as having an ASD. The average prevalence of ASDs identified among children aged 8 years increased 57% in 10 sites from the 2002 to the 2006 ADDM surveillance year. Although improved ascertainment accounts for some of the prevalence increases documented in the ADDM sites, a true increase in the risk for children to develop ASD symptoms cannot be ruled out. On average, although delays in identification persisted, ASDs were being diagnosed by community professionals at earlier ages in 2006 than in 2002.

Baby Face--Harvard Experts Hope Facial Recognition Studies Benefit Autism Research

Source: 
ABC News
Date Published: 
December 4, 2009
Abstract: 

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston studying the science of how babies read facial expressions say they're hoping their results will prove useful for autism and developmental research. Scientists at Harvard believe emotion detection is so crucial in everyday life that they're willing to cajole babies into an electrode "net" to see how to see how humans first learn to read faces.

Early Intervention for Toddlers With Autism Highly Effective, Study Finds

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
November 30, 2009
Abstract: 

A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism -- some as young as 18 months -- is effective for improving IQ, language ability and social interaction, a comprehensive new study has found.

Autism-Risk Gene Rewires the Brain in a Way That Disrupts Learning and Language Acquisition

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 3, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers at UCLA have discovered how an autism-risk gene rewires the brain, which could pave the way for treatments aimed at rebalancing brain circuits during early development. Dr. Geschwind and team examined the variations in brain function and connectivity resulting from two forms of the CNTNAP2 gene - one form of the gene increases the risk of autism. The researchers suspected that CNTNAP2 might have an important impact on brain activity. They used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to scan 32 children's brains while they were performing tasks related to learning. Only 16 of them had autism.

The imaging results confirmed their suspicions. All the children with the autism-risk gene showed a disjointed brain, regardless of their diagnosis. Their frontal lobe was over-connected to itself, while connection to the rest of the brain was poor, especially with the back of the brain. There was also a difference between how the left and right sides of the brain connected with each other, depending on which CNTNAP2 version the child carried.

The authors believe their findings could help identify autism risk earlier, and eventually lead to interventions that could enhance connections between the frontal lobe and the left side of the brain.

Experts Summarize the State of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
October 14, 2009
Abstract: 

Scientific understanding and medical treatments for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have advanced significantly over the past several years, but much remains to be done, say experts from the Center for Autism Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who recently published a scientific review of the field.

Utah Researchers Discover Another Genetic Link to Autism

Source: 
Salt Lake Tribune
Date Published: 
October 8, 2009
Abstract: 

An international consortium of researchers, including three from the University of Utah, has discovered yet another genetic link to autism. Studying the genes of more than 1,000 families -- including 150 from Utah -- who have more than one person with the disorder, the researchers found a region on chromosome 5 that is strongly associated with autism.

Op-Ed: Fight to Overcome Autism Gets Major Boost, Higher Priority

Source: 
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Date Published: 
October 5, 2009
Abstract: 

The federal government will provide nearly twice as much funding for autism research in the upcoming fiscal year as we had just three years ago. President Obama has made autism a focus from the first days of his presidency in hopes to counterbalance some of the new challenges Autism has created for for families, schools, and health care providers.

Screening Strategies for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Pediatric Primary Care

Source: 
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Pinto-Martin, Young, Mandell, Poghosyan, Giarelli, Levy
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Two strategies have been proposed for early identification of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): (1) using a general screening tool followed by an ASD-specific screening tool for those who screen positive on the former or (2) using an ASD-specific tool for all children. The relative yield of these two strategies has not been examined. 

This study compared the number of children identified at risk for ASD at their well child visits between the ages of 18 and 30 months using a general developmental screening tool and an autism-specific screening tool. 

The PEDS missed the majority of children who screened positive for ASD on the M-CHAT, suggesting that these two tools tap into very different domains of developmental concerns. The findings support the use of an ASD-specific tool for all children in conjunction with regular standardized developmental screening.

Peripheral Biomarkers in Autism: Secreted Amyloid Precursor Protein-Alpha as a Probably Key Player in Early Diagnosis

Source: 
Inter. Journal Clinical Exp. Medicine, Bailey, Giunta, et al
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by impairments in socialization and communication. There is currently no single molecular marker or laboratory tool capable of diagnosing autism at an early age. The purpose of this study is to explore the plausible use of peripheral biomarkers in the early diagnosis of autism via a sensitive ELISA. Here, we measured plasma secreted amyloid precursor protein alpha (sAPP-alpha) levels in autistic and aged-matched control blood samples and found a significantly increased level of sAPP-alpha in 60% of the known autistic children. We then tested 150 human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) samples and found significantly elevated levels of plasma sAPP-alpha in 10 of 150 samples. As an additional confirmatory measure, we performed Western blot analysis on these samples which consistently showed increased sAPP-alpha levels in autistic children and 10 of 150 HUCB samples; suggesting a group of autistic patients which could be identified in early childhood by levels of sAPP-alpha. While there is need for further studies of this concept, the measurement of sAPP-alpha levels in serum and human umbilical cord blood by ELISA is a potential tool for early diagnosis of autism