Screening

New checklist could detect autism by age 1

Source: 
USA Today
Date Published: 
April 28. 2011
Abstract: 

An early screening test for autism, designed to detect signs of the condition in babies as young as 1 year old, could revolutionize the care of autistic children, experts say, by getting them diagnosed and treated years earlier than usual. The checklist — available online now — asks parents or other caregivers about their child's communication skills, from babbling and first words to eye contact.

Misreading Faces Tied to Child Social Anxiety

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
April 1, 2011
Abstract: 

Children suffering from extreme social anxiety are trapped in a nightmare of misinterpreted facial expressions: They confuse angry faces with sad ones, a new study shows.

Children With Autistic Traits Remain Undiagnosed

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
March 22, 2010
Abstract: 

There has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. While people have differing opinions as to why this is (environment, vaccines, mother's age, better diagnostic practice, more awareness etc.) there are still many children who have autistic traits that are never diagnosed clinically. Therefore, they do not receive the support they need through educational or health services.

New Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised Algorithms for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers from 12 to 47 Months of Age

Source: 
J Autism Developmental Disorders, Kim et al.
Date Published: 
March 2011
Year Published: 
2011

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised is a tool clinician’s use for the diagnosis of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The diagnostic algorithms of the evaluative tool were altered to improve sensitivity and specificity compared to the previous algorithm.

Serotonin Plays Role in Many Autism Cases, Studies Confirm

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 24, 2011
Abstract: 

Georgianna Gould, Ph.D., research assistant professor of physiology in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is eyeing the role that serotonin plays in autism spectrum disorders. Serotonin is known for giving a sense of well-being and happiness. It is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that acts like a radio tower in the brain conveying signals among cells called neurons. Thirty percent of autism cases may have a serotonin component. In a recent paper in the Journal of Neurochemistry, Dr. Gould and colleagues showed that a medication called buspirone improved the social behaviors of mice. Buspirone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in adults as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant adjuvant medication.

Handwriting Problems Affect Children With Autism Into the Teenage Years

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 11, 2011
Abstract: 

A new study suggests that the handwriting problems that affect children with autism are likely to continue into their teenage years. The research found that the teenagers with autism earned 167 points out of 204 total possible points on the handwriting assessment, compared to the 183 points scored by teens in the group without autism. These results showed statistical significance in the study. The teenagers with autism also had motor skill impairments.

How Cortical Nerve Cells Form Synapses With Neighbors

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
December 22, 2010
Abstract: 

Newly published research led by Professor Z. Josh Huang, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) sheds important new light on how neurons in the developing brain make connections with one another. This activity, called synapse validation, is at the heart of the process by which neural circuits self-assemble, and is directly implicated in pathology that gives rise to devastating neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and schizophrenia.

A Set Of Brain Proteins Is Found To Play A Role In Over 100 Brain Diseases And Provides A New Insight Into Evolution Of Behavior

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 21, 2010
Abstract: 

In research just published, scientists have studied human brain samples to isolate a set of proteins that accounts for over 130 brain diseases. The paper also shows an intriguing link between diseases and the evolution of the human brain.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism

Source: 
Journal of the American Medical Association, Giulivi et al
Date Published: 
December 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children. While the study is small (10 test subjects) and requires replication, it furthers previous research which has revealed hints of a mitochondrial dysfunction/autism connection. The researchers found that mitochondria from children with autism consumed less oxygen than mitochondria from the group of control children. For example, the oxygen consumption of one mitochondrial enzyme complex, NADH oxidase, in autistic children was only 33% of that found in control children. While Giulivi cautions that this study has not found the cause of autism, she states that it "...furthers the understanding of autism on several fronts and may, if replicated, be used to help physicians diagnose the problem earlier."

Neural Signatures of Autism

Source: 
PNAS, Kaiser, Hudack, Schultz, Lee, Cheung, Berken, Deen, Pitskel, Sugrue, Voos, Saulnier, Ventola, Wolf, Klin, Vander Wyk, Pelphrey
Date Published: 
December 2010
Year Published: 
2010

These findings of this study hold far-reaching implications for our understanding of the neural systems underlying autism. Using FMRI to record the biological motion of children with autism spectrum disorder, unaffected siblings of children with ASD, and typically developing children, the study reveals three types of neural signatures: The study finds distinct brain responses to biological motion exhibited by typical developing children and unaffected siblings. This finding is particularly striking given the identical behavioral nature of these two groups.