A new study found that nearly half of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are reported to wander or “bolt,” and more than half of these children go missing.
A new approach to investigating hard-to-find chromosomal abnormalities has identified 33 genes associated with autism and related disorders, 22 for the first time. Several of these genes also appear to be altered in different ways in individuals with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, symptoms of which may begin in adolescence or adulthood.
Researchers have turned up a new clue to the workings of a possible environmental factor in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): fathers were four times more likely than mothers to transmit tiny, spontaneous mutations to their children with the disorders. Moreover, the number of such transmitted genetic glitches increased with paternal age. The discovery may help to explain earlier evidence linking autism risk to older fathers.
In light of the new report from the CDC which found that 1 in every 88 American children are now diagnosed with Autism, the world’s leading autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks are calling on elected officials to develop a new national strategy to take on this national public health crisis. Autism Speaks considers the skyrocketing diagnosis of new autism patients to be on par with an epidemic. They are calling for new incentives to be implemented, such as increased funding for genetic research and environmental research which could uncover the causes for autism, and additional funding for the development of potential new medications and treatments to help those living with autism.
Could non-invasive brain stimulation be used to improve mirror neuron activity in patients with autism spectrum disorders? This question is being raised in light of new findings released by researchers at Monash University and published in the latest edition of Biological Psychology. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation on ASD patients, researchers noted a blunted brain response in the motor cortex when watching transitive hand gestures, compared to participants with no evidence of ASD.
A study released by researchers from the University of Leicester has revealed a previously ‘invisible’ group of adults with autism within the UK. The study found that 60% of men and 43% of women with profound learning difficulties have autism, refuting previous estimates of lower rates of autism within these specific groups. The finding is vital as it can lead to new support services for those adults who have autism and learning difficulties.
In the largest study of brain development in preschoolers with autism to date, a study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers has found that 3-year-old boys with regressive autism, but not early onset autism, have larger brains than their healthy counterparts.
Researchers at UCLA have demonstrated how genetic variants rewire the brain in autistic patients. Examining the role of the CNTAP2 gene, which is believed to boost the risk of autism, researchers discovered a difference in connectivity between the left and right sides of the brain, depending on which version of the gene the patients carried. This research could provide a positive outcome in developing treatments for re-balancing the brain circuitry for autistic patients and promote a more normal neurological development.
Researchers have discovered a link between mutations in the PTCHD1 gene on the X-chromosome and an increased risk of developing autism in boys. As males inherit both X and Y chromosomes, the genetic mutation could explain why boys are four times more likely to develop ASD than girls, who carry double X chromosomes.