Research by Topic: Adults

Podcast: From cells to anxiety

Published October 29, 2018

Dr. Inna Fishman from San Diego State University explains how findings from brain tissue helps scientists interpret data which studies how brain regions connect to each other and why this is important for understanding autism subgroups. Also, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet examine ADHD diagnosed in adults, and find it is similar to autism. Listen […]

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Podcast: Children are not small adults

Published September 3, 2018

Children are not small adults, and this was illustrated this week in two papers studying features of autism across the lifespan. Their symptoms may change, which has implications for treatment – you can’t take an intervention designed for a child and give it to an adult. Hear more on this week’s podcast with an interview […]

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A new era for autism research, and for the journal Autism

Published January 26, 2018

The landscape of autism research is changing. With increased calls for autism research funding, there has also been increased focus on improving autism services across the lifespan. The journal Autism has decided to move away from the puzzle piece symbol and redesign their cover. They explain why in an editorial here.

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A Systematic Review of Vocational Interventions for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published September 8, 2015 in Pediatrics

This study systematically reviewed evidence regarding vocational interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between the ages of 13 and 30 years.

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A New Business Model For Autism

Published May 5, 2015 in Forbes

April 2nd, 2015 was designated World Autism Awareness Day, celebrated with ribbons, fundraisers, and blue lights displayed in cities around the world. However, for parents of children with autism, everyday is Autism Awareness Day.

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Mindfulness-Based Therapy in Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published January 8, 2015 in Res Dev Disabil

This study examined the effects of a modified Mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) protocol (MBT-AS) in high-functioning adults with ASD.

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The cost-effectiveness of supported employment for adults with autism in the United Kingdom

Published April 29, 2014 in Autism: the international journal of research and practice

"Adults with autism face high rates of unemployment. Supported employment enables individuals with autism to secure and maintain a paid job in a regular work environment. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of supported employment compared with standard care (day services) for adults with autism in the United Kingdom. The analysis […]

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Parents Create Custom Jobs for Adult Kids with Autism

Published September 28, 2013 in USA Today

Parents of adult children with autism are creating job opportunities for their kids that cater to their strengths. It can be very difficult for someone with autism to find employment that is matched to his or her unique needs, but some organizations, such as Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill, NC are doing just that.

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Dr. Peter Gerhardt Talks About Employment, Safety and Sex Education in Young Adults with Autism

Published July 25, 2013

Dr. Peter Gerhardt of the McCarton School joined us for a live chat. He answered several questions about employment, safety and sexual education in relation to teenagers and adults with autism.

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Autism Matters Podcast Series

Published May 13, 2013 in Autism

The Autism Matters podcast series aims to showcase the latest research published in the journal Autism in a way that is accessible, easy to understand and has real world relevance. The podcasts are aimed at a broad audience, including academics, researchers, students, clinicians, journalists, policy makers, individuals with autism and their families, and anyone interested in autism spectrum disorders.

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Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of an 18-month Feasibility Study

Published April 26, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

New findings from a small pilot study suggest cognitive enhancement therapy is a feasible and effective intervention for cognitive impairments in verbal adults with ASD. Adult participants were highly satisfied with the therapy and treatment attendance was high, indicating their willingness to participate in and commit to an intervention that they considered useful.

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Young Adults With Autism Can Thrive In High-Tech Jobs

Published April 22, 2013 in NPR

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Cognition and Behavior: ‘Mind blindness’ Has Brain Signature

Published April 13, 2013 in SFARI

Two recent studies have linked mind-blindness to atypical patterns of brain activity in people with ASD.

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Comparison of ICD-10R, DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 in an Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Clinic

Published March 16, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

With the number of people seeking ASD evaluations in adulthood on the rise, researchers sought to investigate how DSM-5 criteria would fare in a diagnostic clinic for adults with minimal intellectual disability. Compared to ICD-10R and DSM-IV-TR, DSM-5 specificity was good but sensitivity was poor: 44% of adults who met ICD-10R ASD criteria and 22% who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for Asperger syndrome or autistic disorder would not qualify for a DSM-5 ASD diagnosis.

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Disparities in Transition Planning for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published February 11, 2013 in Pediatrics

“Little is known about accessibility to health care transition (HCT) services for youth with autism spectrum disorder. This study expands our understanding by examining the receipt of HCT services in youth with ASD compared with youth with other special health care needs.”

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Brief Report: Is Cognitive Rehabilitation Needed in Verbal Adults with Autism? Insights from Initial Enrollment in a Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Published February 5, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Early results from this pilot trial of cognitive enhancement therapy (CET) indicate that despite above-average intelligence, verbal adults with ASD can have significantly impaired neurocognition and social cognition. The authors suggest CET, which is designed to remediate both social and non-social deficits through computer-based neurocognitive training, could be useful for cognitive rehabilitation in this population.

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Mindfulness-based Therapy in Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Published January 1, 2013 in Research in Developmental Disabilities

This is the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapy for adults with ASD. Participants who received MBT benefited from the therapy, showing less depression, anxiety and rumination, and more positive affect.

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Developmental Meta-Analysis of the Functional Neural Correlates of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published December 26, 2012 in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

According to this recent meta-analysis of fMRI studies, autism-related changes in brain activity may continue to develop with age.

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Jason Ross Discusses Services Needs in the Adult Autistic Community on the ASF Blog

Published December 12, 2012 in ASF Blog

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Into the Unknown: Aging with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published November 26, 2012 in American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

This article reviews the current literature regarding a range of quality of life outcomes of aging adults with ASD. Studies that have addressed life expectancy, comorbid physical and mental health issues, ASD symptomatology, and social, residential, and vocational outcomes are reviewed.

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Prevalence and Correlates of Autism in a State Psychiatric Hospital

Published November 15, 2012 in Autism

This study estimated the ASD prevalence in a psychiatric hospital and evaluated the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) combined with other information for differential diagnosis. Undiagnosed ASD may be common in psychiatric hospitals. The SRS, combined with other information, may discriminate well between ASD and other disorders.

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Nature Outlook: Autism Now Available Online

Published October 31, 2012 in Nature

Sponsored in part by ASF, the new Nature Outlook supplement on autism features articles on genetics, adulthood, brain imaging, diagnosis and more.

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Evaluation of an Activities of Daily Living Scale for Adolescents and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Published October 17, 2012 in Disability and Health Journal

ASF Grantee Matthew Maenner and colleagues developed the Waisman Activities of Daily Living (W-ADL) Scale to measure daily living skills of adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. The scale is a free and efficient tool for surveys and epidemiological research.

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Cognition in Males and Females with Autism: Similarities and Differences

Published October 17, 2012 in PLOS One

Researchers find that women and men with autism have comparable impairments in social cognitive functioning, but performance on non-social cognitive tasks depends on gender.

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Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism

Published September 20, 2012 in Neuron

This imaging study led by Carnegie Mellon researchers suggests adults with autism have unreliable neural responses when presented with basic sensory information. University says findings could bring us closer to understanding the connection between brain and behavior in autism. See the press release here:

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Outcomes in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Historical Perspective

Published August 21, 2012 in Autism

“In this review, we examine the ways in which researchers have defined successful adult outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from the first systematic follow-up reports to the present day. The earliest outcome studies used vague and unreliable outcome criteria, and institutionalization was a common marker of poor outcomes. In the past decade, researchers have begun to standardize the measurement of adult outcomes with specific criteria based on friendships, employment, and living arrangements. Although nearly all of these studies have agreed that the majority of adults with ASD have poor outcomes, evolving concepts of what it means to be an adult could have an impact on outcomes measured. For example, some researchers have suggested that taking into account the person-environment fit could reveal a more optimistic picture of outcomes for these adults. Suggestions for future research are discussed.”

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Stanford researchers investigate the emotional side of autism

Published August 14, 2012 in Stanford School of Medicine

Researchers at Stanford University have found that adults with autism spectrum disorders report greater levels of negative emotion in general.

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Stanford researchers investigate the emotional side of autism

Published August 14, 2012 in Emotion

Researchers at Stanford University have found that adults with autism spectrum disorders report greater levels of negative emotion in general.

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Scientists Track Adult Regression in Autism-Related Syndrome

Published July 26, 2012 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

Scientists track adult regression in Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, which is one of the autism-related syndromes with an identified genetic basis.

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The Role of the Amygdala In Atypical Gaze On Emotional Faces In Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published July 11, 2012 in Journal of Neuroscience

“Reduced focus toward the eyes is a characteristic of atypical gaze on emotional faces in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Along with the atypical gaze, aberrant amygdala activity during face processing compared with neurotypically developed (NT) participants has been repeatedly reported in ASD. It remains unclear whether the previously reported dysfunctional amygdalar response patterns in ASD support an active avoidance of direct eye contact or rather a lack of social attention. Using a recently introduced emotion classification task, we investigated eye movements and changes in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in the amygdala with a 3T MRI scanner in 16 autistic and 17 control adult human participants. By modulating the initial fixation position on faces, we investigated changes triggered by the eyes compared with the mouth. Between-group interaction effects revealed different patterns of gaze and amygdalar BOLD changes in ASD and NT: Individuals with ASD gazed more often away from than toward the eyes, compared with the NT group, which showed the reversed tendency. An interaction contrast of group and initial fixation position further yielded a significant cluster of amygdala activity. Extracted parameter estimates showed greater response to eyes fixation in ASD, whereas the NT group showed an increase for mouth fixation. The differing patterns of amygdala activity in combination with differing patterns of gaze behavior between groups triggered by direct eye contact and mouth fixation, suggest a dysfunctional profile of the amygdala in ASD involving an interplay of both eye-avoidance processing and reduced orientation.”

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Recognition, Referral, Diagnosis, and Management of Adults with Autism: Summary of NICE Guidance

Published June 27, 2012 in BMJ Group

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The Economic Impact of Autism on Families

Published May 31, 2012 in The Atlantic

Interesting article about the financial impacts of autism on American families from The Atlantic.

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Autism Scientists Search for Help, for Their Own Kids’ Sakes

Published May 22, 2012 in USA Today

The CDC now reports that 1 in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder. Yale autism researcher Dr. Kevin Pelphrey is only one of many scientists who have a child with autism.

Autism Scientists Search for Help, for Their Own Kids' Sakes

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Most Housing Complaints Disability Related

Published May 9, 2012 in Disability Scoop

Its illegal to deny a person housing based upon their disability, but a new report suggests that such discrimination is common coast to coast.

Most Housing Complaints Disability Related

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IACC Releases Its 2011 Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

Published April 2, 2012 in IACC

On April 2, in honor of the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day and HHS Autism Awareness Month the IACC has released its annual list of scientific advances that represent significant progress in the field.

IACC Releases Its 2011 Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

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Understanding Why Autistic People May Reject Social Touch

Published March 20, 2012 in Time Magazine

Now, a new study offers insight into why some people shrug off physical touches and how families affected by autism may learn to share hugs without overwhelming an autistic childs senses.

Understanding Why Autistic People May Reject Social Touch

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Young Adults With Asperger Syndrome Frequently Suffer From Depression

Published March 7, 2012 in Medical News Today

Given that almost 70% of young adults with Asperger syndrome have suffered from depression, it is vital that psychiatric care staff are aware of this so that patients are given the right treatment, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Young Adults With Asperger Syndrome Frequently Suffer From Depression

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New Report Examines Autism Needs for Patients and Families in Pennsylvania

Published January 28, 2012 in Health News

Results were released yesterday from the Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment, which includes feedback from 3,500 Pennsylvania caregivers and adults with autism, making it the largest study of its kind in the nation.

New Report Examines Autism Needs for Patients and Families in Pennsylvania

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Autism Hidden in Plain Sight

Published December 16, 2011 in LA Times

As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.

Autism hidden in plain sight

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Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

Published December 5, 2011 in MedicalXpress

Restricted, repetitive behavior, such as compulsive arranging and rigid adherence to routines, is a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorders. A 12-week study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine produced a greater decrease in repetitive behaviors and more overall improvement than placebo in adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

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Autism Spectrum Disorders in Older Adults: Toward Defining a Research Agenda

Published November 1, 2011 in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Relatively little is known about older adults with autism spectrum disorder – few studies have been done to determine how behaviors and symptoms change over time, how aging may impact people with ASD differently, and whether findings in children and young adults with ASD generalize to the older adult population. Based on current estimates, by […]

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Institute For Basic Research in New York seeking adults with Fragile X for New Clinical Trial

Published October 17, 2011 in October 17, 2011

The Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island is seeking adult participants for a new Fragile X treatment trial. This is a large scale trial of AFQ056 from Novartis for people aged 18-45 who have Fragile X. AFQ056 is an mGluR5 antagonist. The current study is just for adults but the next step is to extend the trial to ages 12-17. After completing the 20 week trial, participants will be offered the option of taking this medication free of charge until it comes to market.

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MU Expert Identifies Employment Resources, Tips For People With Autism

Published October 14, 2011 in Medical News Today

Statistics show that the number of people diagnosed with autism has increased steadily over the past 30 years resulting in a surge in the number of adults with autism graduating from high school. However, preliminary employment studies indicate that this population may earn less and be employed at a lower rate compared to other people with disabilities. Now, an autism expert at the University of Missouri is identifying employment resources that are available for people with autism and steps employers can take to improve the workplace and hiring process for this population.

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Aging in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Mini-Review

Published August 24, 2011 in Gerontology

This article addresses an important and barely researched topic: what happens to children with autism spectrum disorders when they grow old.

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Do Sheltered Workshops Enhance Employment Outcomes for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Published May 24, 2011 in Autism

Researchers sought to determine if sheltered workshops help prepare individuals with ASD for competitive employment and found that individuals with ASD achieve better vocational outcomes if they do not participate in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment.

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Emerging New Practices in Technology to Support Independent Community Access for People with Intellectual and Cognitive Disabilities

Published May 6, 2011 in NeuroRehabilitation, Stock, Davies, Wehmeyer, Lachapelle

New technology holds promise for helping people with cognitive disabilities access their community. A recent paper describes the various electronic devices and software applications currently on the market to help individuals navigate their community on foot and by public transit. While being unable to navigate one's community without assistance is a major barrier to community […]

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Most Adults with Autism Go Undiagnosed – New Findings, UK

Published May 4, 2011 in Medical News Today

Dr Brugha, who is also a consultant psychiatrist working in the NHS with the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said none of the cases with autism found in the community survey throughout England knew that they were autistic or had received an official diagnosis of autism or asperger syndrome.

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Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in England

Published May 1, 2011 in Archives of General Psychiatry

Approximately 1 percent of adults in England have autism spectrum disorder, based on one of the first studies of adult prevalence in the country. Previous studies have relied primarily on self-report which can be unreliable. To determine what proportion of the English population age 16 years and older is affected by autism, researchers conducted a […]

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Virtual Conversation Simulator Found Beneficial for Adults with Autism

Published March 20, 2011 in Science Daily

Simulated interactions in which adults with autism converse with a virtual partner may help them develop better social interaction skills, according to a novel study presented in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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Relatively Few Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders Receive Assistance After High School

Published February 7, 2011 in Science Daily

Use of medical, mental health and case management services for young adults with an autism spectrum disorder appears to decline after high school, according to a report.

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Autism and Increased Paternal Age Related Changes in Global Levels of Gene Expression Regulation

Published February 1, 2011 in PloS One, Alter et al.

This study, performed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzed the level of gene expression in children with autism, compared with a control group. The researchers hypothesized that the variability in the pattern of the overall of gene expression levels would be associated with variability in hippocampal-dependent behaviors, which include short-term memory and spatial […]

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Post-High School Service Use Among Young Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published February 1, 2011 in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Shattuck et al.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey to determine the rates of service use among young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) during their first few years after high school. Rates of service ranged from 9.1% for speech therapy to 41.9% for case management. 39.1% of youths with an ASD represented by the survey received no services. […]

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Understanding the Autistic Mind

Published February 1, 2011 in Medical News Today

A study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that high-functioning autistic adults appear to have trouble using theory of mind to make moral judgments in certain situations. Specifically, the researchers found that autistic adults were more likely than non-autistic subjects to blame someone for accidentally causing harm to another person. This shows that their judgments rely more on the outcome of the incident than on an understanding of the person’s intentions, says Liane Young, an MIT postdoctoral associate and one of the lead authors of the study.

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U-M Researchers Discover Way to Block Neurodegeneration in an Adult Form of Fragile X Syndrome

Published December 14, 2010 in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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Describing the Brain in Autism in Five Dimensions-Magnetic Resonance Imaging Assisted Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Multiparameter Classification Approach

Published December 1, 2010 in Journal of Neuroscience, Ecker et al

The study tested a group of 20 high functioning adults with autism, together with 20 control adults, to determine whether MRI scans can detect autism. Using left hemisphere cortical thickness, the algorithm could achieve 90% accuracy, however the right hemisphere was worse at differentiating between the two groups. The study shows that it is feasible […]

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Autism: Lack of Evidence for Antidepressants, Study Concludes

Published August 7, 2010 in Science Daily

Antidepressants commonly prescribed to people with autistic spectrum disorders cannot be recommended based on current evidence, a new study by Cochrane Researchers concludes. Despite some evidence of benefits in adults diagnosed with autism, they say there is no evidence for any benefits associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in children, who may suffer serious adverse effects as a result of taking the drugs.

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California Dept of Health Publishes Study on Autism and Maternal/Paternal Age

Published October 5, 2009 in American Journal of Epidemiology

Reviewing a larger population than in any other study of its kind, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has found that as parents age their risk of giving birth to a child with autism increases modestly. Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the new CDPH study shows that for each 10-year increase in a mothers age, the risk of autism increased by about 38 percent. For each 10-year increase in a fathers age, the risk of autism increased by about 22 percent.

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For the First Time, A Census of Autistic Adults

Published October 3, 2009 in Time Magazine

On Sept. 22, England’s National Health Service (NHS) released the first study of autism in the general adult population. The findings confirm the intuitive assumption: that ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, working with the NHS Information Center found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum the same rate found for children in England, Japan, Canada and, for that matter, New Jersey.,8599,1927415,00.html?xid=rss-health

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Mortality and Causes of Death in Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Update

Published July 31, 2008 in Autism, Mouridsen, Bronnum-Hansen, et al

This study compared mortality among Danish citizens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with that of the general population. A clinical cohort of 341 Danish individuals with variants of ASD, previously followed over the period 1960-93, now on average 43 years of age, were updated with respect to mortality and causes of death. Standardized mortality ratios […]

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