- About ASF
- What is Autism?
- How Common is Autism?
- Signs and Symptoms of Autism
- Autism Diagnosis
- Following a Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Beware of Non-Evidence-Based Treatments
- Statement on Use of Medical Marijuana for People with Autism
- Autism and Vaccines
- Autism Science
- Autism Research Strategic Plan
- Research by Topic
- Research by Year
- Interviews with Scientists
- Science Journals
- Autism in the News
- Recommended Reading
- Year End Summaries
- Participate in Research
- NIH ACE Grants
- NIMH Resources
- Autism Research Glossary
- Quick Facts About Autism
- What We Fund
- Funding Calendar
- ASF Funded Research
- Where Are They Now?
- ASF Supported Findings
- Autism Sisters Project
- Baby Siblings Research Consortium
- Get Involved
- Resources for Grantees
- Resources for Families
- Sam’s Sibs Stick Together
- COVID-19 Resources
- Day of Learning
- Contact Us
Research by Topic: Autism
ASF earns distinction for the ninth consecutive year, which comes as the organization further expands funding opportunities that provide critical support to autism researchers and families NEW YORK — September 27, 2021 — The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding innovative autism research, today announced it has received Top-Rated […]
Did you know that in addition to the DoD’s support of the military, they all have funded $65 million in autism research? This podcast discusses some of their programs and how they support military families and benefit the autism community. Want to read more about what they fund? There’s a list here: https://cdmrp.army.mil/search.aspx
This week is focused on what happens in schools, including classification, service receipt and new interventions. How an educational classification translates to a clinical diagnosis, how and what factors are important in receiving services, what teachers think about repetitive behaviors and finally, a new intervention that can be delivered by therapists in school or mental […]
There is demonstrated genetic overlap between many neurodevelopment disorders including ASD, ADHD, and schizophrenia, and now there is data showing similarities in the structure and size of the brains in people with autism and those with ADHD. These differences depend on how severe social difficulties are, but the similarities are seen with ASD and ADHD, […]
You may have heard the news: The prevalence of autism is 1:40 according to an email survey of parents. However, there’s more information in the study that’s worthy of consideration: The high rate of unmet mental health needs in those with ASD. Learn more on the ASF podcast. Read more about the study.
Help Make the Science Happen! For nearly a decade, ASF has launched, funded, and supported autism research projects to improve diagnosis, develop interventions, and enhance outcomes. This Giving Tuesday, you can help fuel another decade’s worth of critically needed autism research. Donations to ASF not only advance scientific progress, they give families challenged by autism the gift […]
While diagnosis before 3 years of age is ideal, circumstances may not always allow the earliest identification and diagnosis. This week’s podcast explores two of the reasons why diagnosis is not always possible before age 3. One is a study from Denmark and one is from members of the Baby Siblings Research Consortium.
Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder After Age 5 in Children Evaluated Longitudinally Since InfancyPublished November 8, 2018
A new study from the ASF-supported Baby Siblings Research Consortium explains why a few kids with autism do not receive a formal diagnosis until 5 years or later. Read more here.
This week, ASF wants YOUR feedback on a new paper in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, which suggests that the reason there is so much discord in the autism community is that people with autism are just too different and have difficulties understanding each other’s perspective. Is this true? What do you think? […]
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 […]
This week, Dr. Mark Shen from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explains new findings looking at the fluid around the brain. It’s now seen in families even without a family history of ASD, the finding has now been seen in different independent studies, including those at the UC Davis MIND Institute in […]
Today, ASF announced that it will be leading the newly-launched Alliance for Genetic Etiologies of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Autism (AGENDA). This alliance is a partnership of research and advocacy organizations focused on improving outcomes of individuals with all forms of autism by fostering a genetics-first approach to autism science. AGENDA will also work to strengthen […]
Filed under: ASD, asf, Autism, collaboration, database, dup15q, Dup15q Alliance, featured, fragile X syndrome, FRAXA, FRAXA Research Foundation, genetic, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, Phelan-Mcdermid Syndrome Foundation, PMSF, registry, research, Rett Syndrome, Rett Syndrome Research Trust, RSRT, science, SFARI, Simons Foundation, Simons VIP, subtypes, TSA, Tuberous Sclerosis, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
This podcast is dedicated to siblings of people with autism who are typically developing. They play an important and beneficial role in development of socialization of those with ASD. But sadly, they also have issues of their own, such as a high rate of issues like anxiety and depression. Those siblings may be genetic carries […]
Recently, Clare Harrop from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published two papers which help explain the differences between boys and girls with autism, at least in kids and toddlers. She graciously agreed to talk with ASF about these findings and what it means for better identification and diagnosis of girls with ASD, and […]
This week’s ASF podcast focuses on how co-occuring conditions with autism, like anxiety, depression, and OCD, have changed over time. The increase in these conditions may help in defining different subgroups of autism. Listen on asfpodcast.org or on your favorite podcatcher!
When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” in elementary school, Allyson Schwartzman had one answer – “an autism teacher”. Read about how Allyson made her dream a reality by becoming a special education teacher on the ASF blog.
This week’s podcast begins with a comment on the debate over ABA – helpful or harmful? But the big news this week is an analysis of very early, but very published, data on the use of MDMA, also known as “ecstasy” or “Molly”, in people with autism. Called an “empathogen”, MDMA can elicit feelings of […]
Online registration for the 13th Annual Rockland County Autism Symposium is now open. The symposium will include three hour-long discussions and three breakout sessions with the presenters. Presenters include Katrina Roberts, MS, BCBA; Erin Richard White, PhD, BCBA-D; Declan Murphy; Peter Troy, MBA; Jill Harper, PhD; and Shawn Quigley, PhD, BCBA-D. The event will be […]
Researchers at Mount Sinai led by Alex Kolevzon are running a clinical trial of the compound insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) for children with idiopathic autism. Dr. Kolevzon’s team previously demonstrated the safety and feasibility of IGF-1 in treating Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a single-gene form of autism. Particularly, the IGF-1 treatment improved symptoms of social impairment […]
Filed under: Alex Kolevzon, ASD, Autism, clinical trial, drug, featured, IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor 1, intervention, medication, Mount Sinai, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, PMS, restricted and repetitive behavior, social impairment, Treatment
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 […]
The Smithsonian Magazine reported on the story of the Bak family and the Autism Sisters Project, an ASF scientific initiative determined to understand the disparity of autism diagnoses between boys and girls and the potential female protective effect. Through the study of the unaffected sisters of people with autism, the goal is to build a […]
Filed under: adult outcomes, ASD, asf, Autism, Autism Science Foundation, Autism Sisters Project, Diagnosis, Diagnostic Disparities, featured, female protective effect, Genetics, research, science, Smithsonian Magazine
Two weeks ago, the autism research community lost a pioneer, mentor and advocate for the autism community. This podcast only highlights a portion of the enormous contribution he made to autism research and the impact his research had on families with ASD. Also, two people that know him best, one of his current mentees, Suzannah […]
On this week’s podcast, the link between polycystic ovarian syndrome and autism explained and tied in with a new study on the highly toxic chemical DDT. They do have a common link. Research also shows that environmental exposures and maternal medical conditions contribute to a host of outcomes and comorbidities, autism being one of them.
Filed under: ASD, asf, Autism, Columbia University, DDT, featured, PCOS, podcast, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, research, science, University of Cambridge
It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr. Tristram Smith passed away suddenly Monday morning. He was a hero—quietly changing the face of evidence-based interventions for autism and giving families both hope and plans for how to get there. Our sincere condolences to his family and his colleagues at the University […]
Listeners to the ASF podcast get a break this week, although you are all encouraged to check out the Spectrumly Speaking podcast. Spectrumly Speaking is a podcast dedicated to women on the autism spectrum, produced by Different Brains. Every two weeks join hosts Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS, and Katherine Cody, Psy.D., as they discuss news […]
The Autism Science Foundation invites applications for its Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Awards from graduate students, medical students and postdoctoral fellows interested in pursuing careers in basic and clinical research relevant to autism spectrum disorders. You can learn more about the fellowship requirements here. Applications are due December 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm EST.
On this week’s podcast, highlights from the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation 2018 International Family Conference in Dallas, TX. People with Phelan McDermid Syndrome, or PMS, suffer from seizures and intellectual disability, and about 70% have an ASD diagnosis. This syndrome is caused by mutations of the SHANK3 gene, which is present in about 1% of people […]
On this week’s podcast, two studies that used a randomized design to show how interventions can be delivered in the classroom.
On this week’s podcast, highlights of a new systematic review on Early Intense Behavioral Intervention. Thank you to the ASF community for suggesting this topic for the podcast!
If you want to know about people with autism, ask them. Scientists are working on how they collect information from people with autism in order to better understand individual experiences and produce findings that may help improve services. Listen to the podcast episode here.
Allison Jack, PhD, of the Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders Institute at George Washington University today received a 2018 ASF Research Accelerator Grant. The funding will allow Dr. Jack and her collaborators to analyze epigenetic modifications of the oxytocin receptor in all 250 participants of their current NIH-funded project examining the differences in brain structure between […]
Filed under: Allison Jack, asf, Autism, Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, award, featured, funding, Grants, research, research accelerator grant, science, The George Washington University
On this week’s podcast, data obtained from brains of people with autism is reused and re-analyzed so that a new role of mitochondria and their relationship to the activity of synapse genes could be discovered. In addition, cellular stress is seen in the brains of people with autism. What comes first? Mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular […]
Filed under: Autism, autism brainnet, brain tissue, Brown University, cellular stress, featured, Fragile X, FRAXA Research Foundation, genes, mitochondria, NeuroBioBank, NIH, podcast, research, Tuberous Sclerosis, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, UCLA
On this week’s podcast, a special episode highlighting recent research focusing on fathers. This includes genetics, parental stress and quality of life, and broader autism phenotype features. Of note, two new studies that look at antidepressant exposure in father and probability of having a child with autism – a variation on studying maternal exposures.
ASF’s summer intern Seowon Song shared her experience as an autism sibling on the ASF blog. In January 2016, she helped develop a support group for siblings of those with autism in South Korea named “Nanun”. The group published a book of their stories in March 2018. You can read the blog in English and […]
On this week’s podcast, a new study shows that baby teeth can show biomarkers of prenatal exposures in kids with autism. Also, new data linking autism to allergies, including food allergies.
The Interactive Autism Network published an article explaining the latest epigenetics research in autism. It highlights how environmental factors, both internal and external, affect genes and influence an individual’s development. Including findings made from Autism BrainNet tissue resources, research is demonstrating how epigenetics may play a role in the development and severity of autism. Read […]
Suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts have been shown to be increased in people with ASD. Rates are similar to those with bipolar depression and schizophrenia, but are higher even without psychosis. This is shocking and an urgent health issue in the autism community. This week’s podcast summarizes recent data, publications, presentations, and concerns of thought […]
On this week’s podcast, diagnosis with the DSM 5. While much work needs to be done to include individual abilities and disabilities into the DSM5, after the CDC prevalence numbers were published last month, it became clear the old DSM IV was not working. In a replication of a previous finding, it showed that the […]
The Autism Science Foundation has received Top-Rated Nonprofit status by GreatNonprofits for the sixth consecutive year. Through reviews by members of the autism community, ASF received this status. The ASF team thanks the community for its support throughout the years.
Videos of all the presentations at ASF’s 5th Annual Day of Learning held on April 11 are now available online. You can view them here. Topics include gender differences in autism, sleep problems in autism, the potential of medical marijuana as an autism treatment, adult outcomes, the role of dietary interventions, and the perception of […]
Filed under: adult outcomes, ASD, asf, Ashura Buckley, Autism, Day of Learning, Diet, featured, gender differences, intervention, John Spiro, Julie Lounds Taylor, medical marijuana, Michelle Failla, New York University, NIMH, nutrition, Orrin Devinsky, pain, Perception, research, science, Simons Foundation, Sleep, Somer Bishop, Susan Hyman, UCSF, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University
On this week’s podcast, two chief science officers! Dr. Alycia Halladay interviewed Dr. Thomas Frazier of Autism Speaks on what’s needed to improve clinical trials and drug intervention for autism. The two CSOs also discussed other important in ASD research, including disclosure of a diagnosis, sex differences, and some of the newest more exciting findings.
The Spring 2018 issue of the Autism BrainNet newsletter is out now! Among other news, it highlights recent research using its donated brain tissue resources in autism genetics and neuroanatomy, the science campaign Brain Awareness Week, and outreach efforts through Autism Speaks walks around the country. You can view and read this issue here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism prevalence at 1 in 59 children based on data from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network – a tracking system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder among more than 300,000 8-year-old children. The ADDM Network estimates […]
This week’s podcast is a mini-recap of the 5th Annual Day of learning. Hear what the speakers distilled in their TED-style talks on topics covered sleep, diet, and medical marijuana as a potential treatment for autism. Plus hear about the most recent ASF grantees.
Inside Philanthropy, a group that urges transparency in philanthropy and tracks philanthropic trends, recognized the uniqueness of the Autism Science Foundation’s undergraduate grants in a recent article. ASF invests in the future by funding young scientists, helping set their careers in autism research in motion, early on. Learn more about what ASF funds here.
Today, ASF announced the 2018 recipients of its Pre- and Postdoctoral Research Training Awards. The recipients include three graduate students—Amy Ahn, Cara Keifer, and Julia Yurkovic—and five postdoctoral fellows—Joon An, Laurel Joy Gabard-Durnam, Aaron Gordon, Whitney Guthrie, and Christine Ochoa-Escamilla. You can learn more about the recipients and their projects from ASF’s official press release […]
Today, ASF announced the 2018 recipients of its Undergraduate Summer Research Grants. The recipients include Ethan Gahr, Evan Suzman, Christina Layton, and Ryan Risgaard, who will be conducting research at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University, the Seaver Autism Center, and University of Wisconsin, respectively. You can learn more about the recipients and their projects from […]
The goal of the Autism Sisters Project is to build a large genetic database that researchers can use to explore the sex difference in autism diagnoses between boys and girls and discover how the potential protective factor, known as the female protective effect, can be harnessed to help people with autism of both sexes. NBC […]
On this week’s ASF podcast: By looking directly at the brains of people with autism, researchers at UC Davis MIND Institute, led by Dr. Thomas Avino and Dr. Cyndi Schumann, show a disruption of neuron number in the amygdala in autism. The amygdala is important because it is linked to emotion, fear and anxiety in […]
On this week’s podcast, highlights of a new study led by Dr. Amy Kalkbrenner of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee published in Environmental Health Perspectives—certain air pollutants from cars and coal burning plants were associated with autism risk and severity. This scientific evidence supports policies which keep U.S. Environmental Protection Agency infrastructure intact to monitor […]
Researchers at Autism BrainNet node UC Davis MIND Institute found that while typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults, people with ASD do not. The open access research published in PNAS studied 52 postmortem human brains, both neurotypical and […]
The Moyer family was recently featured in the Sag Harbor Express for their participation in the Autism Sisters Project. The advances made through this research would not be possible without the contribution of families like theirs. Read about them here.
A new study by the CDC, including Dr. Matthew Maenner, ASF Grantee ’10, found that 95% of children with autism have at least one psychiatric or medical comorbidity, which may have a role in age of first evaluation—the more comorbid conditions, the earlier the first evaluation for ASD. Read the study here.
On this week’s podcast, Dr. Alycia Halladay overviews three recent studies, including one done in collaboration with the Autism Treatment Network, looking at how sleep problems impact the behavior and functioning of individuals with autism across the spectrum.
SETD5 is a master regulator of gene activity that controls the activity of potentially thousands of other downstream genes in the same cell. Researchers, supported in part by ASF, found that this gene is associated with a subtype of autism that is seen mostly in males and includes intellectual disability and facial dysmorphology. This is […]
On this week’s podcast, Dr. Alycia Halladay overviews three new studies looking at commonly used drugs that may help autism not just by improving behavior, but also by how they impact the brain. Plus, a fun study about social media.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has designated Dr. Ann E. Wagner of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as the National Autism Coordinator. In this role, Dr. Wagner will play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, services, and support activities across […]
On this week’s podcast, a study led by Elizabeth Berg in the lab of Dr. Jill Silverman at UC Davis published in the journal Autism Research demonstrated SHANK3’s role in core social communication deficits in a rat model of autism. Rats exhibit both receptive and expressive communication. SHANK3 mutations are seen in those with Phelan-McDermid […]
Research led by Daniel Geschwind of the University of California, Los Angeles used postmortem brain tissue, including resources from Autism BrainNet, found similar gene expression patterns in the brains of those with autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. All three conditions show an activation of genes in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, and suppression of genes […]
On this week’s podcast, Dr. Katherine Stavropoulos (ASF Grantee ’14) highlights her research with her UC Riverside colleague Dr. Leslie Carver on brain patterns that may explain the social communication deficits present in ASD. Plus, recent research from the Study to Explore Early Development led by Dr. Eric Rubenstein of UNC presented findings that demonstrated […]
ASF Scientific Advisory Board member James McPartland, PhD, of the Yale Child Study Center will be leading a webinar discussion for Spectrum tomorrow, Jan. 31, 2018, at 3PM EST. The webinar will focus on the state of science relating to social-communicative biomarkers for autism. He will highlight his lab’s research on a particular brain-based biomarker […]
We are proud to announce Anne Roux of the AJ Drexel Autism Institute as the recipient of our latest Research Accelerator Grant. Ms. Roux’s research, currently funded by the Organization for Autism Research, focuses on the study of how the use of vocational rehabilitation services influences employment outcomes on a state by state level for […]
This week’s ASF podcast explores differences in sexuality and sexual relationships between those with autism and without, and also differences between males and females with autism. While this is not a new topic, the number of publications and research has exploded this year. Learn more here.
The newly reconstituted and reorganized Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee has released their strategic plan for 2016-2017. To read the full document, click here.
In order to ensure that researchers have enough brain tissue to understand autism spectrum disorders, the education and outreach campaign of the Autism BrainNet is being expanded past families to doctors and professionals that have access to tissue. One of these groups is neuropathologists. At their annual meeting this past week in Los Angeles, an […]
In this week’s podcast with Dr. Alycia Halladay Ross, she discusses two new publications that reported on systematic reviews for nutritional and sensory treatments for ASD. This means the existing research was sorted, summarized, scrutinized and evaluated. The reviews found insufficient evidence to show that any dietary or nutritional therapy was effective, but sufficient evidence […]
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Isabelle Rapin. Dr. Rapin was a pioneer in autism research who collaborated on many important papers and made enormous contributions to research. More importantly though, she was a clinician who diagnosed children back in the 1980’s when autism was considered […]
The Dup15q Alliance is offering pre- and postdoctoral fellowships to individuals studying basic science or clinical research on mutations of chromosome 15. People with mutations in a specific region of chromosome 15 also show a high prevalence of #autism and applications to investigate autism associated with Dup15 are welcomed. Applications are due by June 1st. […]
Dr. Donna Werling from UCSF, Autism Science Foundation fellow, was featured in “Scientific American” for her recent study on the differences between male and female brain development. Click here to learn more.
Lots of people tend to think of the genetics of disorders/disease as being one mutation/genetic variation inherited from the mother/father that causes a trait directly. Unfortunately, the genetics of autism isn’t that simple or scientists would have found “the gene” by now. In fact, there are different types of genetic influences in autism. A new […]
This week’s International Meeting for Autism Research was filled with important presentations on the multiple causes of autism, interventions, diagnosis, neurobiology, services, family and self-advocate perspectives; the list goes on and on. There is a great recap on Spectrum (click here). An underlying theme ran through the presentations: that is, that the previous “well, we […]
Autism Science Foundation grantees and fellows will be giving several presentations throughout the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in San Francisco this week. If you will be at IMFAR, see details below so you can attend their presentations. If not, see below anyway to learn about the great work ASF grantees and fellows are […]
A community response: Advocates embrace new SUDEP guidelines while urging for expanded surveillance, research and educationPublished May 3, 2017
To view the statement in its original form, click here. The release of new practice guidelines co-developed by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Epilepsy Society (AES) on the issue of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is a benchmark moment for everyone impacted by epilepsy. Historically, the communication between medical professionals and […]
Scientists have studied males compared to females with autism, but rarely have there been studies about what clinicians see as differences in these two groups. Given that they provide insight on diagnosis, needs and access to services, it is kind of important to talk to them, and a study out this week in the journal Autism […]
ASF Chief Science Officer Dr. Alycia Halladay commented on a new study on the risk of autism if an individual’s grandmother smoked during pregnancy. While the study cannot prove cause-and-effect, the researchers have discovered a link here. Click here to read more.
This week’s podcast with Dr. Alycia Halladay summarizes some new studies looking at autism traits and autism diagnosis in girls with anorexia nervosa. While the two disorders may seem different at the outset, they do share some behavioral features. Unfortunately, most studies look at autism in those with anorexia, not the other way around. However, […]
As always, good news and bad news in autism this week. First the good news: an intervention given between 9-14 months of age in children with a high probability of having an autism diagnosis improved autism symptoms at 3 years of age. Now the bad: mothers who experience severe childhood abuse are more likely to […]
Last week CNN.com reported on a study that showed slight improvement of autism symptoms in children that received a single infusion of their own umbilical cord blood. While the study was interesting, the authors were the first to acknowledge the limitations; however, this did not stop the media from misrepresenting the results. Details are explained […]
On Thursday, March 30th the Autism Science Foundation held their 4th Annual Day of Learning in NYC. If you were not able to attend and can’t wait for the videos of the talks, this week’s podcast with Dr. Alycia Halladay summarizes what was presented. Click here to listen!
The new study on mortality in people with autism may be overestimating the risk of drowning and suffocation in those with ASD. The study claims a higher rate of drowning and other accidental deaths in people with autism, which is true, but the magnitude of the effect they found was astronomical and misleading given the methodology. […]
Geri Dawson, the president of the International Society for Autism Research, points out how important funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is for families affected with autism. Click here to read.
An op-ed by Dr. Alycia Halladay, Chief Science Officer of the Autism Science Foundation, was published today in Stat News: The publication of Andrew Wakefield’s notorious and now discredited research on autism and vaccines in 1998 triggered a surge of worry about vaccine safety. Since then, questions about a purported connection between autism and vaccines […]
Hear the latest Environmental Epigenetics of Autism Webinar: Dr. Mark Zylka presents recent data from his lab using animal models with genetic modifications to understand how common environmental factors we might be exposed to affect genetic expression. Dr. Valerie Hu from George Washington University comments and provides perspective from her work on a gene involved […]
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is hosting the “Workshop on Autism Spectrum Disorders” on July 31-August 6, 2017. The course instructors are: James McPartland, Yale University Sergiu Pasca, Stanford University Jeremy Veenstra-Vander Weele, Columbia University The workshop speakers include Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation, and: Frances Champagne, Columbia University Geraldine Dawson, Duke […]
On Monday, the much anticipated MSSNG study which analyzed the entire DNA sequence of over 5000 people with autism was published. The press release can be found here. In it, the researchers found even more genes of interest to autism. Also, those with more of a specific type of mutation, copy number variations, had worse autism symptoms. […]
The brain is developing even after birth. So interventions that are given very early have the best chance of remolding and rewiring a brain with autism to prevent autism-related disabilities. This week, a group from the University of London, Duke University, and University of Washington measured brain activity during tasks that required social attention following two […]
Podcast: To see differences in the brains of males and females with autism, you have to look at the brains of males and females with autismPublished February 27, 2017
Last month, UC Davis researcher Dr. Cyndi Schumann used resources from the Autism BrainNet to look at what causes differences in the rates of diagnosis between males and females. Consistent with other studies on this topic, males and females do not show differences in the rates of autism genes, but rather in the way that the […]
Researchers studying infants at risk for autism, or baby siblings, have found that the brain changes before symptoms develop. The findings may improve diagnosis and early intervention therapies. Read more about this study in Nature here.
This week two studies which examined infants and younger children that will significantly advance understanding of causes and services for people with autism were published. After a commentary about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, the study that used a practical methodology to improve autism screening in pediatrics clinic from researchers at Duke University was presented. […]
Individual research studies are great. But even better is when someone takes these studies and puts them together to see if one study shows the same thing another does, and if they do, then is the effect size consistent? Sometimes you can only do this by going old school and pooling the data from the […]
Statement from the board of the International Society for Autism Research: “As an organization, we must think carefully about whether to host future international meetings for autism research in the United States. As an international society, it would be inappropriate to hold the largest annual meeting on autism research in any country that restricts access […]
With hundreds of genes, thousands of environmental factors, and now sex being variables in determining risk for autism, where should science start? Over the decades researchers have been able to start narrowing down the combinations based on specific behaviors of interest, genes, and mechanisms which may narrow down which gene, which environmental factor and which […]
Even though more than 20% of people with autism have little or no language, research into ways to help this group have really been lacking. Several efforts to not just understand the abilities and disabilities of this group started a few years ago and we are just starting to hear about what works and what […]
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who is revered for his contributions to justice, tolerance, equality and service. In this week’s podcast, Dr. Alycia Halladay highlights a Supreme Court case which affects how those with special needs are fighting for justice and equality. Also, over the holidays, Dr. Connor Kerns from […]
Today, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. – who has continued to publicly promote the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism — met with President-Elect Donald Trump in New York City and afterward stated that Mr. Trump has asked him to lead a new commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer […]
Over the holiday break, the largest study so far including the most number of countries analyzed the risk of having a Caesarean section and autism. They found a consistent increased risk that wasn’t due to cause of the C-section or the age of the infant (preemie or term). So what is going on? This week’s […]
A summary of autism discoveries in 2016 and what they mean for families By Alycia Halladay, PhD, Chief Science Officer of the Autism Science Foundation and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Autism Science Foundation To listen to our year-end research summary podcast, click here. For decades, the autism community has known that autism affects […]
There is an ongoing debate about why people with autism avoid eye contact. There is data to support both, but as this behavior emerges very early, it’s important to look at data from preverbal children to understand the origins of changes in eye contact. Many scientists also feel that avoiding eye contact snowballs over the […]
A gene that controls electrical activity in the brain, SCN2A, has been linked to autism for awhile. But recently, a new study from China shows that mutations of this gene are seen in about 1% of people with autism. This may put it into the category of the rare mutations that have a major contribution […]
ASF fellow Dr. Donna Werling reviews the evidence around why females with autism are not diagnosed as often. It includes susceptibility in males, resilience in females, hormonal influences, camoflauging and role of IQ. Read more here – it’s open access!
Biomarkers can help distinguish different types of features, but this past week they were used to predict who would respond to Pivotal Response Training, or PRT. Researchers, led by Dr. Pam Ventola at the Yale Child Study Center, looked at how the brain responded to a social or non-social situation as well as baseline features […]
On early Wednesday morning, the United States woke up to the news that the new president was Donald Trump. While he hasn’t taken office yet, this podcast reviews his statement on his website or in his Contract with America, as well as things published or stated by him or his campaign on his website or in […]
Overall, the scientific research examining the efficacy of oxytocin treatment in autism spectrum disorder has been mixed. On a previous podcast, studies on the way the oxytocin receptor was turned on and off were explained, which may account for variability in treatment response. This week, two studies in Japan show that specific mutations in the oxytocin […]
How long do you have to study an intervention to see if it works? Many scientists agree that it isn’t just about what happens in the short run, but if those interventions can be sustained for long periods of time. In the case of very early interventions, it is now clear that treatment for about […]
New blog post by Dr. Alycia Halladay, Chief Science Office of the Autism Science Foundation: You may have seen it. The headline that says, “super-parenting improves children’s autism.” Besides being grammatically incorrect, it’s insulting. The implication, of course, from the headline is that parents who do not have super abilities or super skills can’t help […]
Released on October 25, 2016, a new article in the US News and World Report discusses gender-based differences in autism and the importance of the Autism Science Foundation’s Autism Sisters Project. Click here to read the article and here to watch the video.
While still rare, there are cases where an autism diagnosis is not made until adulthood. Why have these people been missed and what do they need? How did they go for so long without anyone recognizing that they needed help? A new study from the lab of Dr. Francesca Happe in the UK investigates the […]
In addition to risks of anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders and other psychiatric issues, people with autism (and their siblings) show increased risk of substance abuse issues. This information comes from a large Scandinavian registry study that included over 26,000 individuals with ASD. On this week’s podcast Dr. Alycia Halladay Ross discusses what this means for […]
Two studies recently add to an ever-growing body of literature around undiagnosed siblings of individuals with autism. While in autism features there is evidence of the “broader autism phenotype” in female siblings, there is no evidence of elevated sensory symptoms in those with a brother or system with autism. The more we understand about the […]
A new systematic review evaluated and organized existing scientific studies on the question of whether or not there was a relationship between air pollution and autism. After considering strengths and limitations of the body of research, the authors concluded that there is limited evidence between exposure to air pollution as a whole and ASD diagnosis. […]
Released September 15, 2016, this new report on CNN highlights the importance of brain donation and brain tissue research. To learn more about the Autism BrainNet, click here.
PCB’s, or Polychlorinated biphenyls is a group of over 200 different manufactured chemicals which stopped being used decades ago. However, they don’t break down and widespread pollution of these chemicals means that they are still all over the environment and we continue to be exposed to them. This week, Dr. Kristen Lyall from Drexel University showed […]
Recently, the practice of Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, has come under fire in the autism blogosphere for being abusive and manipulative with the purpose of mind control. Instead of defending the practice, or pointing out the factual errors in recent articles, ASF realized the most productive way to address some of the issues is […]
ASF President speaks out in the Wall Street Journal about the roles of parents in autism advocacy Parent-advocates of children with chronic conditions have long worked toward finding cures. Adult self-advocates are shifting the focus to goals of independent work and living. Children with disabilities or chronic medical conditions, including autism and muscular dystrophy, have grown up […]
This week’s podcast is on a topic suggested by listeners- aggressive behaviors in autism. Our summer intern, Priyanka Shah, describes the risk factors and treatments for aggression. Although not a core symptom of autism, aggression can affect the development of social relationships. Studies show that aggression increases stress in parents and teachers more than other […]
In a landmark alliance, known as Project TENDR, leaders of various disciplines have come together in a consensus statement to say that many of the chemicals found in everyday products can result in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and attention-deficit disorders. ASF Chief Science Officer Alycia Halladay will be answering questions on a live chat over Facebook […]
The Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) is hosting a 90 minute online webinar on July 7th, 2016 at 1 p.m. EST, discussing challenging behaviors in children with autism. Challenging behaviors can lead to higher stress levels in families, and interfere with a child’s education and social interactions both in school and the community. Dr. Bridget Taylor is the […]
In a new study published JAMA Pediatrics yesterday examined psychiatric records of siblings of people with autism living in Finland. They found the rates of ASD, ADHD, ID, childhood emotional disorders, learning and coordination disorders, conduct and oppositional disorders, and tic disorders, were more frequent among siblings of siblings with ASD. Also, there was an increase in schizophrenia […]
The genetics of autism is complicated. So scientists are taking a new approach. Instead of looking at genes associated with the bigger autism diagnosis, researchers at the University of Miami are considering how genes influence specific autism features present very early on in life. In this week’s podcast, two investigators, Devon Gangi and Nicole McDonald, explore […]
The types of gene mutations that contribute to autism are more diverse than previously thought, report researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the March 24 online issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics. The findings, they say, represent a significant advance in efforts to unravel the genetic basis of autism […]
Studies of very early signs of autism has led to better recognition of early signs and driven earlier and earlier interventions. These interventions have improved the lives of people with autism. These early autism symptoms are seen before a diagnosis can be made. Biological signs of autism before a diagnosis could even further improve early intervention. […]
After the domains of social and communication were merged together under ‘social communication’ in the DSM5, understanding what makes up these symptoms is more important than ever. Researchers from Center for Autism and the Developing Brain and UCSF drilled down to distinguish different types of social communication and which were most specific to autism. Using […]
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has signed an agreement to establish a collaborative, nationwide effort for the collection, storage, and distribution of postmortem human brain tissue for the benefit of autism research. The agreement with Foundation Associates LLC will coordinate the efforts of two independent networks of human brain tissue repositories, the National Institutes of Health NeuroBioBank (NBB) and the Autism BrainNet (ABN).
What is the real prevalence of autism? It depends on how you ask the question. But however it is asked, the answer is too high. Additionally, those with autism are entering the educational system where interventions are built in an "ivory tower." Interventions need to be adapted and implemented in real world settings with real […]
If you missed the October 1st webinar on Early Germline (sperm and egg) mutations and the heritability of autism, dont worry, we have it recorded on www.asfpodcast.org. The webinar explored emerging concepts in basic reproductive biology and also the heritability of ASDs. We know that autism is highly heritable, in the sense that ASD risk is higher among siblings, but it’s not shown to be highly “genetic” in the classic sense that these traits or genes are passed from generation to generation.
ASF Board Member Dr. Paul Offit comments on robust new study addressing each of the many ways in which people have thought vaccines could cause autism. Dr. Offit comments, in part: The fear that vaccines cause autism has been a tale of changing hypotheses… The primate study by Gadad et al. addresses all three concerns.”
All are invited to the first in an ongoing series of free online symposia on the environmental epigenetics of autism, Oct. 1st at 1 pm Eastern. Speakers will include cell biologist Amander Clark, of UCLA, and geneticist Ryan Yuen, of Torontos SickKids Hospital.
Jennifer Foss-Feig, PhD at Yale University recently received an accelerator grant to expand her research project to include individuals with autism. Why? She theorizes that the way schizophrenia is classified and conceptualized may be helpful to the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. She recently published these ideas and wrote a blog for the ASF. You can read it here: https://autismsciencefoundation.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/is-it-time-to-rethink-the-symptoms-of-autism-a-commentary-by-jennifer-foss-feig-phd-yale-university/
The US Preventative Services Task Force announces comment period for their draft recommendation. Submit your comments by August 31, 2015 at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryDraft/autism-spectrum-disorder-in-young-children-screening
ASF, Autism Speaks and the American Academy of Pediatrics respond to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force draft recommendations on screening for ASD.Published August 3, 2015
At a time when 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism, early identification, diagnosis and treatment is crucial to give children the best opportunity to reach their full potential. The ambiguity of the statement offered by the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) on autism screening is troubling and unfortunately, may be easily misinterpreted. While the task force does not explicitly recommend against screening for autism, they state there is insufficient evidence to support autism-specific screening in clinical settings. Instead, they have called for more research in this area.As a result, the task force has failed to fully endorse screening despite an abundance of research that demonstrates it is effective in a variety of settings1-3, leads to earlier identification of autism4, and that this earlier identification provides opportunities for early intervention which improves the lives of children with autism5. Research has demonstrated that formal screening is more effective than relying on clinician judgement alone1,6. This is especially important in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in access to care7,8 Moreover, screening is quick, affordable and has no substantial risk. We intend to review the USPSTF report and its methodology to understand why it differs from other evidence-based recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and from experts in the field of autism spectrum disorders. Every child deserves an early, accurate diagnosis and we are hopeful that after the review period the USPSTF reconsider their conclusions. You can read more about the recommendations and response here.There are a number of world renowned autism researchers who agree with this position. They include:Bryan King, Seattle Childrens HospitalAmi Klin, Emory UniversityDiana Robins, Drexel UniversityCeline Saulnier, Emory UniversityRobins DL. Screening for autism spectrum disorders in primary care settings. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. 2008;12(5):537-556.Miller JS, Gabrielsen T, Villalobos M, et al. The each child study: systematic screening for autism spectrum disorders in a pediatric setting. Pediatrics. 2011;127(5):866-871.Robins DL, Casagrande K, Barton M, Chen CM, Dumont-Mathieu T, Fein D. Validation of the modified checklist for Autism in toddlers, revised with follow-up (M-CHAT-R/F). Pediatrics. 2014;133(1):37-45.Herlihy LE, Brooks B, Dumont-Mathieu T, et al. Standardized screening facilitates timely diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in a diverse sample of low-risk toddlers. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. 2014;35(2):85-92.Pierce K, Carter C, Weinfeld M, et al. Detecting, studying, and treating autism early: the one-year well-baby check-up approach. The Journal of pediatrics. 2011;159(3):458-465 e451-456.Wetherby AM, Brosnan-Maddox S, Peace V, Newton L. Validation of the Infant-Toddler Checklist as a broadband screener for autism spectrum disorders from 9 to 24 months of age. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. 2008;12(5):487-511.Khowaja MK, Hazzard AP, Robins DL. Sociodemographic Barriers to Early Detection of Autism: Screening and Evaluation Using the M-CHAT, M-CHAT-R, and Follow-Up. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. 2015;45(6):1797-1808.Daniels AM, Halladay AK, Shih A, Elder LM, Dawson G. Approaches to enhancing the early detection of autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2014;53(2):141-152.
Dup15, an organization representing families with one of the most common genetic causes of autism, held their annual family and science meeting in Orlando this week. Hear more about the science on the ASF podcast. www.asfpodcast.org
This week on the ASF podcast, we talk to @drdgsmith from Autism Speaks about the new study which turns skin cells into brain cells. It iis fascinating and important, but is not sufficient to study the brains of people with autism. Hear more on www.asfpodcast.org
Veronica Kang, recipient of ASF Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship discusses the results of her honors thesis project and the impact of ASF funding on her career. Read more on the ASF Blog here: https://autismsciencefoundation.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-asf-undergraduate-research-fellowships-help-build-autism-researchers/
Dennis Wall, PhD, an autism researcher at the School of Medicine, is leading a new project to establish the largest-ever collaborative, open-access repository of bioinformatic data on autism
Previously understudied, a special issue of the science journal Molecular Autism dedicates space to females with ASD. Leading the list is a summary of the October, 2014 meeting on gender issues co-sponsored by ASF. Download all of the articles free by clicking here http://www.molecularautism.com/series/sexdifferences?utm_campaign=BMC18421C&utm_medium=BMCemail&utm_source=Teradata