Autism Science

For Flagging Autism Risk, Using Two Tests is Best Option

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
June 20, 2014

The average child with autism is 18 months old before his or her parents first begin to be concerned. Given the importance of early intervention, it’s crucial that parents and doctors both catch on to the symptoms as soon as possible. A study published in European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds that two autism screens are better than one at identifying toddlers who need specialized clinical services. These screens, such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) and the Early Screening of Autistic Traits (ESAT), are used not to diagnose autism, but rather to identify children who need more specialized attention — for example, from a child psychiatrist or a behavioral therapist.

Autism Science Foundation Request for Applications: 2014 Research Enhancement Mini-Grants

The Autism Science Foundation
Date Published: 
June 24, 2014

The Autism Science Foundation today released its request for applications for 2014 Research Enhancement Mini-Grants. ASF is inviting applications for grants of up to $5,000 to enable researchers to expand the scope or increase the efficiency of existing grants, or to take advantage of changes or findings that have occurred in or around an existing project that warrant more funding. Applications must be received by September 12, 2014.

 Read the full RFA here

Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides

University of California-Davis
Date Published: 
June 23, 2014

A study out of the University of California Davis found that women who live near farmland where pesticides are applied are 60 percent more likely to give birth to a child with autism or other developmental delays. In the study, the association was stronger for women exposed during their second or third trimester. The study looked at three categories of pesticides: organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates; all three were found to have associations with ASD or other developmental delays.

Evidence of Reproductive Stoppage in Families With Autism Spectrum Disorder

JAMA Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 18, 2014

Research published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that parents who have a child with autism are about a third less likely to choose to continue having children compared to parents who do not have a child with ASD. In the study, this "reproductive stoppage" did not occur until the child started showing symptoms or received a diagnosis of ASD. This led researchers to conclude that it was a conscious decision to stop having children, rather than another factor such as fertility problems.

Reversal of Autism-Like Behaviors and Metabolism in Adult Mice with Single-Dose Antipurinergic Therapy

Translational Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 17, 2014

Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered that suramin, a drug that was originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, reverses autism-like social behaviors in mice. This study proposes that the social difficulties and metabolism issues found in individuals with ASD could be improved with the use of suramin — even in adults. While suramin has not been tested in humans, these findings could direct future research for autism therapies.

Should We Believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence Estimates?

Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice
Date Published: 
July 2014

Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice has published an important and interesting new editorial by Dr. David Mandell and Dr. Luc Lecavalier that challenges the methods the CDC uses to collect and publish autism prevalence data, now at 1 in 68.

Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United Kingdom and the United States

JAMA Pediatrics
Date Published: 
June 9, 2014

Having an accurate estimate of the economic cost of autism has many implications for service and system planning. The most recent estimates are almost a decade old and had to rely on many estimates for which there were no good data. Today in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers, including ASF Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. David Mandell, updated older estimates and further expanded our understanding of costs by estimating them for two countries: the United States and the United Kingdom. They also estimated costs separately for children and adults, and for individuals with autism with and without intellectual disability. To estimate costs, researchers reviewed the literature on related studies, conducting a thorough search of studies that estimated direct costs, such as education and service use costs, as well as indirect costs, such as lost wages for family members and the individual with autism. They found that for individuals with autism and intellectual disability, the average lifetime cost was $2.4 million in the US and $2.2 million in the UK. For individuals without intellectual disability, the average cost was $1.4 million in both the US and the UK. For children with autism, the largest costs were for special education and parents’ lost wages. For adults with autism, the largest costs were residential care and lost wages.

Click here for the full article. 

Meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

Jul 8 2014 9:00 am
America/New York
Start Date: 
July 8, 2014
Rockville, MD

Please join us for an IACC Full Committee meeting that will take place on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET at The Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
Onsite registration will begin at 8:00a.m.

Agenda: The committee will discuss committee business, agency updates and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities.

Meeting location:
The Neuroscience Center
6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D
Rockville, Maryland 20852

Nearest Metro stop:
White Flint Metro Station – Red Line

In the interest of security, visitors will be asked to show one form of identification (for example, a government-issued photo ID, driver’s license, or passport) and to state the purpose of their visit upon entrance to the Neuroscience Center.

The meeting will be open to the public and pre-registration is recommended. Seating will be limited to the room capacity and seats will be on a first come, first served basis, with expedited check-in for those who are pre-registered. Please visit the IACC website for access and information about registering.

Public Comment – Deadlines:
Notification of intent to present oral comments: Monday, June 30th by 5:00p.m. ET
Submission of written/electronic statement for oral comments: Tuesday, July 1st by 5:00p.m. ET
Submission of written comments: Tuesday, July 1st by 5:00p.m. ET

Remote Access:
The meeting will be remotely accessible by videocast  ( and conference call.  Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will only be able to listen to the meeting. 

Conference Call Access 
USA/Canada Phone Number: 888-946-7606

Access code: 9653752

Individuals who participate using this service and who need special assistance, such as captioning of the conference call or other reasonable accommodations, should submit a request to the contact person listed below at least five days prior to the meeting. If you experience any technical problems with the conference call, please e-mail at or call the IACC Technical Support Help Line at 415-652-8023.

Please visit the IACC Events page for the latest information about the meeting, including registration, remote access information, the agenda, materials and information about prior IACC events.

Contact Person for this meeting is:

Ms. Lina Perez
Office of Autism Research Coordination
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
6001 Executive Boulevard, NSC
Room 6182A
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-443-6040

Large Study Underscores Role of Gene Copy Number in Autism

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
June 2, 2014

People with autism tend to carry mutations that duplicate or delete several genes at once, according to a large study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Previous studies have shown that people with autism have more large deletions or duplications of DNA, also known as copy number variations (CNVs), than controls do. The new study, the largest to look at CNVs in people with autism thus far, confirms this finding. It also found that in people with autism, the CNVs are more likely to affect genes linked to intellectual disability and fragile X syndrome.