Hormones

Maternal Prenatal Weight Gain and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
October 28, 2013
Abstract: 

New research from the University of Utah and published in the journal Pediatrics has uncovered an association between autism spectrum disorders and a small increase in the amount of weight a mother gains during pregnancy. These findings suggest that weight gain during pregnancy is not the cause of ASD but rather may reflect an underlying process that it shares with autism spectrum disorders, such as abnormal hormone levels or inflammation.

Autism Four Times Likelier When Mother's Thyroid is Weakened

Source: 
Annals of Neurology
Date Published: 
August 13, 2013
Abstract: 

A study from the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute and Erasmus Medical Centre discovered that mothers who do not produce enough of a thyroid hormone, thyroxine, are nearly four times more likely to have a child with autism. In the past, this hormone has been shown to be important in the migration of fetal brain cells during embryo development.

Design and Subject Characteristics in The Federally-Funded Citalopram Trial in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Source: 
J Autism Dev Disord
Date Published: 
March, 2012
Year Published: 
2012
Abstract: 

This study conducted a randomized trial with citalopram (an anti-depressant drug) in children with Pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).

Melatonin for Sleep in Children with Autism: A Controlled Trial Examining Dose, Tolerability, and Outcomes

Source: 
J Autism Dev Disord
Date Published: 
August, 2012
Year Published: 
2012
Abstract: 

Supplemental melatonin has shown promise in treating sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Elevated Repetitive Behaviors are Associated with Lower Diurnal Salivary Cortisol Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
March 1, 2013
Abstract: 

This pilot study examined the relationship between repetitive behaviors (RBs) and cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress, in individuals with ASD. Multiple salivary cortisol samples were taken over three days for 21 children with ASD with high and low levels of RBs. Children in both groups showed the same pattern of cortisol change throughout the day, but the overall cortisol levels in the high RB group were significantly lower, suggesting RBs may work to soothe and decrease stress.

Sex Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Current Opinion in Neurology
Date Published: 
February 13, 2013
Abstract: 

A review of current research shows that ASD affects females less frequently than males and suggests this difference may be due to several sex-differential genetic and hormonal factors.

Prenatal Versus Postnatal Sex Steroid Hormone Effects on Autistic Traits in Children at 18 to 24 Months of Age

Source: 
Molecular Autism
Date Published: 
December 11, 2012
Abstract: 

Cambridge researchers are investigating the link between pre- and postnatal hormone levels and autistic traits later in life.

Vanderbilt University Researchers Examine Oxytocin and Serotonin Systems as Biomarkers for Autism

Source: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22721594.1
Date Published: 
May 26, 2012
Abstract: 

Vanderbilt University researchers examine oxytocin and serotonin systems as biomarkers for autism spectrum disorders.

Researchers Reveal First Autism Candidate Gene That Demonstrates Sensitivity to Sex Hormones

Source: 
Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, Hu et al.
Date Published: 
March 2011
Year Published: 
2011

 

George Washington University researchers have found that male and female sex hormones regulate expression of an important gene in neuronal cell culture through a mechanism that could explain not only higher levels of testosterone observed in some individuals with autism, but also why males have a higher incidence of autism than females.

The gene, RORA, encodes a protein that works as a "master switch" for gene expression, and is critical in the development of the cerebellum as well as in many other processes that are impaired in autism. Dr. Hu's earlier research found that RORA was decreased in the autistic brain. In this study, the research group demonstrates that aromatase, a protein that is regulated by RORA, is also reduced in autistic brains.

This is significant because aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen. Thus, a decrease in aromatase is expected to lead in part to build up of male hormones that, in turn, further decrease RORA expression, as demonstrated in this study using a neuronal cell model. On the other hand, female hormones were found to increase RORA in the neuronal cells. The researchers believe that females may be more protected against RORA deficiency not only because of the positive effect of estrogen on RORA expression, but also because estrogen receptors, which regulate some of the same genes as RORA, can help make up for the deficiency in RORA.

Researchers Reveal First Autism Candidate Gene That Demonstrates Sensitivity to Sex Hormones

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 17, 2011
Abstract: 

George Washington University researcher, Dr. Valerie Hu, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and her team at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, have found that male and female sex hormones regulate expression of an important gene in neuronal cell culture through a mechanism that could explain not only higher levels of testosterone observed in some individuals with autism, but also why males have a higher incidence of autism than females.