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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.
New nationwide effort seeks to find novel approaches to treat ASD, intellectual disability

New nationwide effort seeks to find novel approaches to treat ASD, intellectual disability

Some of the genetic diseases that can cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) are so rare that even physicians who specialize in treating them can't be certain they have seen every possible symptom. [More]
Maternal exposure to fine particulate air pollution contributes to autism risk

Maternal exposure to fine particulate air pollution contributes to autism risk

Women exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter specifically during pregnancy--particularly during the third trimester--may face up to twice the risk of having a child with autism than mothers living in areas with low particulate matter, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health. [More]
Novel technique to identify biological markers in brain development

Novel technique to identify biological markers in brain development

With a unique, multi-faceted approach, researchers at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development have quantified the effect of previously unidentified anomalies in genetic expression that determine how the human brain develops from its earliest stages. [More]
New study shows that people may inherit intestinal bacteria that cause inflammatory bowel disease

New study shows that people may inherit intestinal bacteria that cause inflammatory bowel disease

A new study by an international team of researchers shows for the first time that people may inherit some of the intestinal bacteria that cause Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively know as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, recently published in Genome Medicine, also confirmed that antibiotics could worsen the imbalance in the gut microbes. [More]
UT Southwestern researchers identify possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1

UT Southwestern researchers identify possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1 or NF1, a childhood neurological disease characterized by learning deficits and autism that is caused by inherited mutations in the gene encoding a protein called neurofibromin. [More]
New technique allows rapid, large-scale studies of gene function

New technique allows rapid, large-scale studies of gene function

Using a gene-editing system originally developed to delete specific genes, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reliably turn on any gene of their choosing in living cells. [More]
Johns Hopkins study shows gene expression in autism brains

Johns Hopkins study shows gene expression in autism brains

While many different combinations of genetic traits can cause autism, brains affected by autism share a pattern of ramped-up immune responses, an analysis of data from autopsied human brains reveals. The study, a collaborative effort between Johns Hopkins and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, included data from 72 autism and control brains. [More]
Learning technique may help overcome cognitive issues in fragile X syndrome

Learning technique may help overcome cognitive issues in fragile X syndrome

A learning technique that maximizes the brain's ability to make and store memories may help overcome cognitive issues seen in fragile X syndrome, a leading form of intellectual disability, according to UC Irvine neurobiologists. [More]
Study points to need for improving pediatric benefits under the Affordable Care Act

Study points to need for improving pediatric benefits under the Affordable Care Act

An article published in the Health Affairs December issue is the first ever comprehensive analysis to investigate the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Essential Health Benefit (EHB) as it relates to children. The study found that the EHB has resulted in a state-by-state patchwork of coverage for children and adolescents that has significant exclusions, particularly for children with developmental disabilities and other special health care needs. [More]
Adverse childhood experiences impact child health, school outcomes

Adverse childhood experiences impact child health, school outcomes

Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development - be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs - increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. [More]
Verizon announces winners of 2014 Powerful Answers Award

Verizon announces winners of 2014 Powerful Answers Award

The wait is over. Verizon is proud to announce the winners of Verizon's 2014 Powerful Answers Award, three in each of the following categories: education, health care, sustainability and transportation. [More]
University of Miami researcher reveals association between 'salience processing' and brain disorders

University of Miami researcher reveals association between 'salience processing' and brain disorders

How does the brain determine what matters? According to a new scientific article, a brain structure called the insula is essential for selecting things out of the environment that are "salient" for an individual, and dysfunction of this system is linked to brain disorders such as autism, psychosis and dementia. [More]
Researchers identify biochemical mechanism that could lead to 'chemo brain'

Researchers identify biochemical mechanism that could lead to 'chemo brain'

UNC School of Medicine researchers have found for the first time a biochemical mechanism that could be a cause of "chemo brain" - the neurological side effects such as memory loss, confusion, difficulty thinking, and trouble concentrating that many cancer patients experience while on chemotherapy to treat tumors in other parts of the body. [More]
Researchers identify retrieval practice as useful strategy for improving memory among youth with TBI

Researchers identify retrieval practice as useful strategy for improving memory among youth with TBI

Brain injury researchers in New Jersey have identified retrieval practice as a useful strategy for improving memory among children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI). [More]
Unique challenges in providing psychotherapy to people with ASD and gender dysphoria

Unique challenges in providing psychotherapy to people with ASD and gender dysphoria

The challenges in providing psychotherapy to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who also are struggling with their gender identity are explored in two case studies of high-functioning persons with diagnoses of ASD and gender dysphoria (GD). [More]
Physical activity linked to children's brain and cognitive development, scholastic achievement

Physical activity linked to children's brain and cognitive development, scholastic achievement

Over the past thirty years, physical activity among children has declined markedly. The public health implications of this decline include a growing prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. A new issue of Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development expands the focus to ask whether physical activity is also related to children's brain and cognitive development and achievement in school. [More]
Variations in movement patterns indicate severity of autism spectrum disorder

Variations in movement patterns indicate severity of autism spectrum disorder

Imperceptible variations in movement patterns among individuals with autism spectrum disorder are important indicators of the severity of the disorder in children and adults, according to a report presented at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in November. [More]
Researchers identify key molecule that drives excess protein production in Fragile X patients' brain

Researchers identify key molecule that drives excess protein production in Fragile X patients' brain

People affected by a common inherited form of autism could be helped by a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer. [More]
Leeds researchers identify gene associated with autism symptoms

Leeds researchers identify gene associated with autism symptoms

Researchers at the University of Leeds have shed light on a gene mutation linked to autistic traits. The team already knew that some people with autism were deficient in a gene called neurexin-II. [More]
Research sheds light on gene mutation linked to autistic traits

Research sheds light on gene mutation linked to autistic traits

Researchers at the University of Leeds have shed light on a gene mutation linked to autistic traits. [More]