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Changes to Children's Study Threaten its Value, Experts Say

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
March 7, 2013
Abstract: 

Autism researchers and advocates are concerned about changes to the recruitment strategy of the National Children’s Study, which aims to enroll 100,000 pregnant women, monitor environmental exposures, and examine gene-environment interactions in the women and their children. The changes, which include forgoing door-to-door recruitment, may limit the generalizability of the findings.

Predictors of Phrase and Fluent Speech in Children With Autism and Severe Language Delay

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
March 4, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers at Kennedy Krieger examined prevalence and predictors of language attainment in severely language-delayed children with ASD. 70% of the sample attained phrase speech and 47% attained fluent speech at or after age 4, indicating that later gains in language are likely in toddlers with severely delayed language. Children with high nonverbal intelligence and high levels of social interest and engagement were most likely to attain language. ASD-related features such as repetitive and sensory behaviors were not associated with language attainment.

Beyond Autism: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study of High-risk Children at Three Years of Age

Source: 
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Date Published: 
February 8, 2013
Abstract: 

This study is the first large-scale examination of ASD behavioral characteristics and developmental functioning in high-risk (HR), non-autistic 3-year-olds with siblings on the spectrum. 79% of HR children were either no different from low-risk children (LR; no known ASD family history) with respect to ASD behavioral severity and developmental functioning, or were developmentally on target with high levels of ASD-related behaviors. 21% of HR children with no ASD diagnosis had an "early manifestation" of a broad autism phenotype: high levels of ASD-related behaviors and/or low levels of verbal and nonverbal functioning. The authors highlight the importance of developmental surveillance and intervention for this HR subset.

Oxytocin and Vasopressin in Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Sex Differences and Associations With Symptoms

Source: 
Autism Research and Treatment
Date Published: 
February 14, 2013
Abstract: 

Following positive results of treatment studies using oxytocin (OT) and evidence of genetic variations in the OT-arginine vasopressin (AVP) pathway in individuals with ASD, a new study from UC Berkeley further examines the involvement of OT and AVP in ASD. Results suggest levels of OT in individuals with ASD may not be as low as previously believed. Moreover, the researchers found significant gender differences, including higher levels of OT in girls and higher levels of AVP in boys.

Social Behaviors Increase in Children with Autism in the Presence of Animals Compared to Toys

Source: 
PLOS One
Date Published: 
February 27, 2013
Abstract: 

Children with ASD showed increased positive social behaviors in the presence of guinea pigs compared to toys in this new PLOS One study. Specifically, they showed more social approach behaviors (e.g. talking, looking at faces and making tactile contact) and positive affect (e.g. laughing and smiling), and less self-focused behaviors in the presence of animals.

Letting a Typical Mouse Judge Whether Mouse Social Interactions are Atypical

Source: 
Autism Research
Date Published: 
February 21, 2013
Abstract: 

This interesting preliminary study examined whether typical mice could recognize atypical social behavior in ASD mouse models. Wild-type mouse 'judges' preferred to be in chambers with other typical mice rather than socially atypical mice, suggesting that typical mice can distinguish mice displaying autism-like behavior from controls.

Use of Social Stories to Improve Self-Regulation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
Date Published: 
February 26, 2013
Abstract: 

Social stories, an intervention used to define a skill, concept or situation in socially appropriate terms, were used to promote self-regulation techniques in a self-contained preschool classroom. While implementation of self-regulation strategies varied among the children, all showed an increase in desired behaviors with the intervention.

The Four Kingdoms of Autism

Source: 
NIMH
Date Published: 
February 26, 2012
Abstract: 

A blog about autism spectrum disorder today, by NIMH Director and IACC Chair, Dr. Thomas Insel

Examining and Interpreting the Female Protective Effect against Autistic Behavior

Source: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Date Published: 
February 19, 2013
Abstract: 

This study examined the hypothesis that a protective component of the female sex protects females from autistic behavioral impairment. The results indicate that greater familial risk may be associated with ASD in females, and males may require fewer familial risk factors to reach a similar impairment threshold. The authors hope the study will provide insight into the ASD sex ratio and aid future genetic research.

Age of First Words Predicts Cognitive Ability and Adaptive Skills in Children with ASD

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
February 1, 2013
Abstract: 

Producing words by 2 years of age strongly predicted better outcomes in this study of language acquisition and later functioning in children with ASD. The authors suggest that the "acquiring useful language by age 5" criterion for positive prognosis can be updated.