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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.
Scientists provide new insights into role of star-shaped brain cells in memory, learning

Scientists provide new insights into role of star-shaped brain cells in memory, learning

A molecule that enables strong communication between our brain and muscles appears to also aid essential communication between our neurons, scientists report. [More]
Neurotherapeutic video game may help improve cognitive abilities in children with genetic disorders

Neurotherapeutic video game may help improve cognitive abilities in children with genetic disorders

A UC Davis researcher has created a video game for children who experience cognitive impairments from genetic disorders with the hope that that it will improve their ability to mentally process information about space and time. [More]
Study to examine new ways to transfer autistic child's improving communication skills into education setting

Study to examine new ways to transfer autistic child's improving communication skills into education setting

A University of Manchester-led study is testing whether an intervention with parents and teachers can help children with autism transfer newly acquired social communication skills from home into school. [More]
Assisted dying for psychiatric conditions could put vulnerable people at risk

Assisted dying for psychiatric conditions could put vulnerable people at risk

Offering medical assistance in dying to people in Canada on the basis of psychiatric illnesses could put vulnerable people at risk, argues a commentary in CMAJ. [More]
Drexel University researchers aim to identify new molecular mechanisms involved in chronic pain

Drexel University researchers aim to identify new molecular mechanisms involved in chronic pain

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent, disabling and expensive public health crises in the United States. It affects more than 100 million Americans, with annual costs estimated at $635 billion, says a 2014 report from the American Pain Society. [More]
Maternal hypothyroxinemia may contribute to increased risk of schizophrenia in infants

Maternal hypothyroxinemia may contribute to increased risk of schizophrenia in infants

A study published in Biological Psychiatry reveals a new link between low levels of the thyroid hormone thyroxine during pregnancy and risk of schizophrenia in the offspring. [More]
Diabetic mothers three times more likely to have anti-fetal brain autoantibodies

Diabetic mothers three times more likely to have anti-fetal brain autoantibodies

Mothers of children with autism and were diagnosed with metabolic conditions during pregnancy, particularly gestational and type 2 diabetes, were more likely to have anti-fetal brain autoantibodies in their blood compared to healthy women of children with autism. [More]
Absence of one specific species of gut bacteria causes autism-related social deficits in mice

Absence of one specific species of gut bacteria causes autism-related social deficits in mice

The absence of one specific species of gut bacteria causes social deficits in mice, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine report June 16 in Cell. By adding this bacterial species back to the guts of affected mice, the researchers were able to reverse some of the mice's behavioral deficits, which are reminiscent of symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in humans. [More]
Epilepsy in immediate family member may increase person’s chances of being diagnosed with autism

Epilepsy in immediate family member may increase person’s chances of being diagnosed with autism

Having a first-degree relative with epilepsy may increase a person's risk of being diagnosed with autism, according to a study published in the June 15, 2016, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. [More]
Lack of affordable, accessible adaptive clothing creates barriers for people with disabilities

Lack of affordable, accessible adaptive clothing creates barriers for people with disabilities

The U.S. clothing industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but for the millions of Americans with disabilities and their families, a lack of options in the apparel industry presents daily challenges. [More]
Researchers receive $2.4 million grant to study effects of parenting on behavior of adolescents with FXS

Researchers receive $2.4 million grant to study effects of parenting on behavior of adolescents with FXS

University of Kansas researchers have been awarded a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the effects of parenting on the development and behavior of adolescents with Fragile X syndrome, a single-gene disorder that is the most common cause of inherited developmental disability and the leading genetic cause of autism. [More]
Maternal immune dysfunction linked to risk of autism with intellectual disability in children

Maternal immune dysfunction linked to risk of autism with intellectual disability in children

Pregnant women with higher levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, proteins that control communication between cells of the immune system, may be at significantly greater risk of having a child with autism combined with intellectual disability, researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found. [More]
Scientists discover unexpected functions of snoRNAs that explains cause of some diseases

Scientists discover unexpected functions of snoRNAs that explains cause of some diseases

Scientists have discovered unexpected functions of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) that explain the cause of some diseases. [More]
Zika virus directly infects brain progenitor cells in newborns to cause neurological problems

Zika virus directly infects brain progenitor cells in newborns to cause neurological problems

The mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to microcephaly and other neurological problems in newborns of affected mothers directly infects the brain progenitor cells destined to become neurons, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report in a study published online today in Cell Reports. [More]
Study offers more insights into how sensory experiences shape brain development

Study offers more insights into how sensory experiences shape brain development

Most people encounter most things by sensing them in multiple ways. As we hear the words people speak, we also see their lips move. We smell, see and hear the onions as we chop them -- and we feel them with teary eyes. [More]
New mouse model offers more insight into development of ASD in humans

New mouse model offers more insight into development of ASD in humans

A new mouse model, developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the first to show that when more of a specific biological molecule moves between different parts of nerve cells in the mouse brain, it can lead to behaviors that resembles some aspects of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in humans. [More]
Prenatal mild viral assault may cause central nervous system malfunctions in children

Prenatal mild viral assault may cause central nervous system malfunctions in children

Babies born to mothers whose immune systems had to grapple with a viral assault -- even a mild one -- have increased risk of brain and central nervous system abnormalities, according to a new study. [More]
Vocal learning in songbirds sheds more light on developmental disorders in humans

Vocal learning in songbirds sheds more light on developmental disorders in humans

Adult songbirds modify their vocalizations when singing to juveniles in the same way that humans alter their speech when talking to babies. The resulting brain activity in young birds could shed light on speech learning and certain developmental disorders in humans, according to a study by McGill University researchers. [More]
First ECHO model helps improve screening and management of autism

First ECHO model helps improve screening and management of autism

Wait lists for a specialist to confirm an autism diagnosis can be agonizing and last months. As the prevalence of autism and autism spectrum disorders increase, so does the demand for a health care system that is fully equipped to respond to the complex needs associated with autism. [More]
Folic acid intake during pregnancy could protect children from possible side-effect of antiepileptic drugs

Folic acid intake during pregnancy could protect children from possible side-effect of antiepileptic drugs

If pregnant women take antiepileptic drugs, the child can develop autistic traits. The administration of folic acid preparations appears to be a suitable means of preventing this serious side-effect. This finding is suggested by a Norwegian study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Copenhagen. [More]
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