Screening

Study: Autism Can Be Diagnosed with 15 Minute Brain Scan

Source: 
Bloomberg
Date Published: 
August 10, 2010
Abstract: 

A 15-minute brain scan identified adults with autism almost as effectively as conventional methods of diagnosis that rely on interviews with patients and their families, U.K. scientists said. The scan detected more than 90 percent of the autistic patients who had been diagnosed using intelligence tests, psychiatric interviews, physical examinations and blood tests, according to a study by King’s College London researchers.

Researchers Find Predictors of Autism That Can Lead to Infant Diagnosis

Source: 
S.I. Live
Date Published: 
August 5, 2010
Abstract: 

Certain behaviors seen in infants as young as 1-month-old may be predictors of autism spectrum disorders, according to new research by scientists at the Institute for Basic Research and Developmental Disabilities, Willowbrook.

At 1 month, children with the ASD diagnosis were more likely to have asymmetrical visual tracking and arm tone deficits. By 4 months, they were more attracted to higher levels of visual stimulation, much like younger infants. Between 7 and 10 months, the children with ASD showed major declines in mental and motor performance.

New Technology Reveals a Unique Vocal Signature in Autism

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
July 20, 2010
Abstract: 

Study reports new automated vocal analysis technology could fundamentally change the study of language development as well as the screening for autism spectrum disorders and language delay.

Blinking Could Detect Autism

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
May 21, 2010
Abstract: 

The researchers tracked eye movements and blinks in 41 2-year-olds with autism and 52 healthy controls while the children watched a short movie of two toddlers on a playground. Both groups on average blinked about five times per minute. But they differed significantly in how their blinking lined up with the content of the movie.

Healthy toddlers refrained from blinking as they watched scenes with high emotional content, such as when the toddler-actors fought about a toy. Toddlers with autism, in contrast, were just as likely to blink during emotional scenes as during dull ones.

Studies Link Infertility to Autism

Source: 
Time
Date Published: 
May 20, 2010
Abstract: 

A study, conducted by a team at the Harvard School of Public Health, found that autism was nearly twice as common among the children of women who were treated with the ovulation-inducing drug Clomid and other similar drugs than women who did not suffer from infertility, and the link persisted even after researchers accounted for the women's age. Moreover, the association between fertility drugs and autism appeared to strengthen with exposure: the longer women reported being treated for infertility, the higher the chances their child had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

IntegraGen Announces Publication of Four Genetic Variants in Autism

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
May 14, 2010
Abstract: 

IntegraGen SA, a French biotechnology company dedicated to gene discovery, announced today the publication of the results of a collaborative study reporting the use of a combined analysis of multiple genetic variants in a genetic score to help identify individuals at high risk of developing autism.

Brain's Master Switch is Verified

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
May 9, 2010
Abstract: 

Yeon-Kyun Shin, professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology at ISU, has shown that the protein called synaptotagmin1 (Syt1) is the sole trigger for the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Shin believes his discovery may be useful in understanding brain malfunctions such as autism, epilepsy and others.

Extremely Preterm Children are Three Times As Likely to Have Psychiatric Disorder

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
April 25, 2010
Abstract: 

Significant advances in the neonatal intensive care have resulted in increased survival rates of children who are born at less than 26 weeks of gestation, so termed "extremely preterm children." Notably, however, improved survival rates have been accompanied by a higher risk for later cognitive, neuromotor, and sensory impairments in these children.

New Research Raises Hope that Autism Effects May Be Reversible

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
April 22, 2010
Abstract: 

A new study by researchers at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences' Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology raises hope that autism may be more easily diagnosed and that its effects may be more reversible than previously thought. Researchers have identified potentially removable chemical tags (called "methyl groups") on specific genes of autistic individuals that led to gene silencing. They also observed these changes in cells derived from blood, opening the way to molecular screening for autism using a blood test.

First Direct Recording Made of Mirror Neurons in Human Brain

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
April 13, 2010
Abstract: 

Neuroscientists believe this "mirroring" is the mechanism by which we can "read" the minds of others and empathize with them. It's how we "feel" someone's pain, how we discern a grimace from a grin, a smirk from a smile. Problem was, there was no proof that mirror neurons existed -- only suspicion and indirect evidence. Dr. Itzhak Fried, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, Roy Mukamel, a postdoctoral fellow in Fried's lab, and their colleagues have for the first time made a direct recording of mirror neurons in the human brain.

It's suspected that dysfunction of these mirror cells might be involved in disorders such as autism, where the clinical signs can include difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication, imitation and having empathy for others. So gaining a better understanding of the mirror neuron system might help devise strategies for treatment of this disorder.