Behavior

GI Problems and Autism Link? Experts Say No

Source: 
ABC News
Date Published: 
April 16, 2010
Abstract: 

British Medical Journal examined the continued belief by many of a possible connection between the developmental disorder and the chronic inflammatory bowel disease, that was first dubbed "autistic enterocolitis" by British physician Dr. Andrew Wakefield. But beyond Wakefield's account, the evidence of any connection between bowel disease and autism is slim, the editorial stated.

Nutritional Risks of Picky Eaters May Be Higher in Autsim

Source: 
Reuters
Date Published: 
April 16, 2010
Abstract: 

Many kids are picky eaters but new research suggests the trait is even more common in autistic children who tend to refuse more foods and are more likely to restrict their diets to a smaller variety of foods than other children.

Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Reseachers Find

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 24, 2010
Abstract: 

When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans

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.

Oxytocin Improves Social Behavior of Patients, French Study Finds

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 17, 2010
Abstract: 

Autism is a disease characterized by difficulties in communicating effectively with other people and developing social relationships. A team led by Angela Sirigu at the Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive (CNRS) has shown that the inhalation of oxytocin, a hormone known to promote mother-infant bonds and social relationships, significantly improved the abilities of autistic patients to interact with other individuals.

Retraction-IIleal-Lymphoid-Nodular Hyperplasia Non-Specific Colitis, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder in Children

Source: 
Lancet
Date Published: 
February 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study, in which he investigated a consecutive series of children with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder and found associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children, which was generally associated in time with possible environmental triggers is retracted.

Cartoon Trains Teach Autistic Children About Emotions

Source: 
The Sydney Morning Herald
Date Published: 
January 7, 2010
Abstract: 

Putting a human face on a cartoon train, bus or tram proved to help children with autism understand emotions. The head of the University of Cambridge's Autism Research Centre, Simon Baron-Cohen, conducted a study using a series of 15 animated stories called The Transporters. Each episode focused on a different emotion - from simple ones such as happy, sad and angry to more complex emotions such as sorry, ashamed, tired and joking. The findings showed children with autism spectrum conditions had improved emotion recognition after watching the 3D program for 15 minutes a day over a month.

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.

Behavioral Training Improves Connectivity and Function in the Brain

Source: 
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Date Published: 
December 9, 2009
Abstract: 

Children with poor reading skills who underwent an intensive, six-month training program to improve their reading ability showed increased connectivity in a particular brain region, in addition to making significant gains in reading, according to a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Reversal of Learning Deficits in a Ts2+/- Mouse Model of Tuberous Sclerosis

Source: 
Nature Medicine, Ehninger, Han, et al
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Tuberous sclerosis is a single-gene disorder caused by heterozygous mutations in the TSC1 (9q34) or TSC2 (16p13.3) gene and is frequently associated with mental retardation, autism and epilepsy. Even individuals with tuberous sclerosis and a normal intelligence quotient (approximately 50%) are commonly affected with specific neuropsychological problems, including long-term and working memory deficits. Here we report that mice with a heterozygous, inactivating mutation in the Tsc2 gene (Tsc2(+/-) mice) show deficits in learning and memory. Cognitive deficits in Tsc2(+/-) mice emerged in the absence of neuropathology and seizures, demonstrating that other disease mechanisms are involved. We show that hyperactive hippocampal mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling led to abnormal long-term potentiation in the CA1 region of the hippocampus and consequently to deficits in hippocampal-dependent learning. These deficits included impairments in two spatial learning tasks and in contextual discrimination. Notably, we show that a brief treatment with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin in adult mice rescues not only the synaptic plasticity, but also the behavioral deficits in this animal model of tuberous sclerosis. The results presented here reveal a biological basis for some of the cognitive deficits associated with tuberous sclerosis, and they show that treatment with mTOR antagonists ameliorates cognitive dysfunction in a mouse model of this disorder.