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Autism (sometimes called “classical autism”) is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.
Early language delay leaves a 'signature' in the brain

Early language delay leaves a 'signature' in the brain

Individual differences in early language development, and in later language functioning, are associated with changes in the anatomy of the brain in autism. [More]
Study examines relationship between maternal iron intake and offspring autism risk

Study examines relationship between maternal iron intake and offspring autism risk

Mothers of children with autism are significantly less likely to report taking iron supplements before and during their pregnancies than the mothers of children who are developing normally, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. [More]
Jacobsen syndrome linked to autism, find UCSD and SDSU researchers

Jacobsen syndrome linked to autism, find UCSD and SDSU researchers

A rare genetic disorder known as Jacobsen syndrome has been linked with autism, according to a recent joint investigation by researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. In addition to suggesting better treatment options for people with Jacobsen syndrome, the finding also offers more clues into the genetic underpinnings of autism. [More]
State highlights: N.Y. sues drugmaker over Alzheimer's drug switch; Ariz. Republican resigns over Medicaid remarks

State highlights: N.Y. sues drugmaker over Alzheimer's drug switch; Ariz. Republican resigns over Medicaid remarks

New York State's attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit on Monday seeking to stop a pharmaceutical company from forcing patients with Alzheimer's disease to switch to a new version of a widely used drug. The lawsuit contends that the switch is designed to blunt competition from low-priced generic versions of the medication (Pollack, 9/15). [More]
Neuroscientists discover key gene linked to origins of speech

Neuroscientists discover key gene linked to origins of speech

Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans' unique ability to produce and understand speech. [More]
State Highlights: Calif. prop 45 ad truth check; Medi-Cal autism coverage

State Highlights: Calif. prop 45 ad truth check; Medi-Cal autism coverage

Proposition 45 would give California's elected insurance commissioner the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes, a power the commissioner already wields for auto and homeowners insurance rates. The campaign against it -- for which the insurance industry has so far put up $37.3 million -- is now airing a 60-second radio ad narrated by a nurse named Candy Campbell. [More]
New study measures neurodevelopment in schizophrenia

New study measures neurodevelopment in schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is generally considered to be a disorder of brain development and it shares many risk factors, both genetic and environmental, with other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and intellectual disability. [More]
Get SET Early: New program to reduce mean age of ASD diagnosis in multiple cities

Get SET Early: New program to reduce mean age of ASD diagnosis in multiple cities

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is now estimated to impact one in every 68 children born in the United States. Yet despite its rising prevalence and the known benefits of early detection and treatment, toddlers in much of the United States are routinely not identified as possibly having ASD until well after their third birthday. [More]
State highlights: Officials say Medi-Cal autism coverage details still emerging; Ill. Attorney General presses for video cameras in nursing homes

State highlights: Officials say Medi-Cal autism coverage details still emerging; Ill. Attorney General presses for video cameras in nursing homes

At the first stakeholder meeting last week to review California's new autism Medi-Cal coverage, state health officials said many details have yet to be worked out. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program. [More]
Sex hormone that helps protect females from stroke may also reduce risk of autism, say scientists

Sex hormone that helps protect females from stroke may also reduce risk of autism, say scientists

The same sex hormone that helps protect females from stroke may also reduce their risk of autism, scientists say. [More]
Treatment at earliest age reduces symptoms of autism spectrum disorder

Treatment at earliest age reduces symptoms of autism spectrum disorder

Treatment at the earliest age when symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear - sometimes in infants as young as 6 months old - significantly reduces symptoms so that, by age 3, most who received the therapy had neither ASD nor developmental delay, a UC Davis MIND Institute research study has found. [More]
State highlights: Texas abortion clinic to reopen after ruling; Maine Medicaid cuts

State highlights: Texas abortion clinic to reopen after ruling; Maine Medicaid cuts

An embattled abortion clinic in McAllen, Tex., which was the last provider of abortions in the vast Rio Grande Valley when new state restrictions forced it to stop last fall, will start operating again by this weekend, its owner said Wednesday, after last week's favorable decision by a federal judge (Eckholm, 9/3). [More]
Changes in ADNP gene may provide further insight into causes of autism

Changes in ADNP gene may provide further insight into causes of autism

A new study from Bradley Hospital has identified a genetic change in a recently identified autism-associated gene, which may provide further insight into the causes of autism. The study, now published online in the Journal of Medical Genetics, presents findings that likely represent a definitive clinical marker for some patients' developmental disabilities. [More]
Zebrafish and virus help scientists map the living brain

Zebrafish and virus help scientists map the living brain

A virus and a zebrafish are helping scientists map the living brain. "You can kinda draw a diagram and see how cells within it are connected in a functioning brain," said Dr. Albert Pan, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. [More]
Intervention program to help parents manage children's behaviors after being diagnosed with autism

Intervention program to help parents manage children's behaviors after being diagnosed with autism

In a first of its kind clinical trial, Debra Zand, Ph.D., and her team at Saint Louis University, will run an intervention program to help parents address and manage their children's challenging behaviors immediately after being diagnosed with autism. [More]
Female rats whose great grandparents exposed to toxins become more vulnerable to stress

Female rats whose great grandparents exposed to toxins become more vulnerable to stress

Scientists have known that toxic effects of substances known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), found in both natural and human-made materials, can pass from one generation to the next, but new research shows that females with ancestral exposure to EDC may show especially adverse reactions to stress. [More]
First Edition: August 22, 2014

First Edition: August 22, 2014

Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "How much leeway do employers and insurers have in deciding whether they'll cover contraceptives without charge and in determining which methods make the cut? Not much, as it turns out, but that hasn't stopped some from trying. Kaiser Health News readers still write in regularly describing battles they're waging to get the birth control coverage they're entitled to" (Andrews, 8/22). [More]
Children and adolescents with autism have surplus of synapses in brain

Children and adolescents with autism have surplus of synapses in brain

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain "pruning" process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). [More]
Penn Medicine launches CAROT to build novel therapies for retinal and ocular disorders

Penn Medicine launches CAROT to build novel therapies for retinal and ocular disorders

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has launched the Penn Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics (CAROT) to build on its previous success developing novel therapies for the personalized diagnosis and treatment of retinal and ocular disorders. [More]
Amygdala stimulates stress responses in adults, say researchers

Amygdala stimulates stress responses in adults, say researchers

In contrast to evidence that the amygdala stimulates stress responses in adults, researchers at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have found that the amygdala has an inhibitory effect on stress hormones during the early development of nonhuman primates. [More]