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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 develop algorithm to uncover genomic insertions and deletions involved in autism, OCD

Scientists develop algorithm to uncover genomic insertions and deletions involved in autism, OCD

With three billion letters in the human genome, it seems hard to believe that adding a DNA base here or removing a DNA base there could have much of an effect on our health. [More]
York U study: Adults with autism more likely to be sexually victimized

York U study: Adults with autism more likely to be sexually victimized

Adults with autism are at a higher risk of sexual victimization than adults without, due to lack of sex education, but with improved interventions that focus on sexual knowledge and skill building, the risk could be reduced, according to a recent study by York University researchers. [More]
NIH-funded study explores how thalamic reticular nucleus influences consciousness

NIH-funded study explores how thalamic reticular nucleus influences consciousness

Ever wonder why it's hard to focus after a bad night's sleep? Using mice and flashes of light, scientists show that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions. [More]
Illness-linked genetic variation affects connections among neurons in the developing brain

Illness-linked genetic variation affects connections among neurons in the developing brain

A genetic variation linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression wreaks havoc on connections among neurons in the developing brain, a team of researchers reports. [More]

Fielding Graduate University acquires PhD program in infant and early childhood development

Fielding Graduate University, based in Santa Barbara, California, has recently acquired a nationally recognized doctoral program in infant and early childhood development from The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning). [More]
State highlights: Fed. judge in Ore. rules health plan wrongly denied autism coverage; new rules could disrupt care for disabled Kansans

State highlights: Fed. judge in Ore. rules health plan wrongly denied autism coverage; new rules could disrupt care for disabled Kansans

In a potentially far-reaching opinion, a federal judge in Portland has ruled that Providence Health Plan wrongfully denied insurance coverage for groundbreaking autism therapy for two Portland boys. [More]
Reducing brain levels of tau protein effectively blocks development of childhood epilepsy

Reducing brain levels of tau protein effectively blocks development of childhood epilepsy

Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes have shown that reducing brain levels of the protein tau effectively blocks the development of disease in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a severe intractable form of childhood epilepsy. [More]

New resource guide provides solutions for preparing individuals with intellectual disabilities

"When my family and I went to my first education planning meeting in high school, we had no idea what to expect or even ask," said 20-year-old Alexis Wineman, college student and Miss Montana 2012, who was diagnosed with autism at age 11. "I am struggling to advocate for myself now that I am an adult and my parents can no longer speak for me." [More]
New model provides insight into neurofunctional mechanisms of autism

New model provides insight into neurofunctional mechanisms of autism

An analysis of autism research covering genetics, brain imaging, and cognition led by Laurent Mottron of the University of Montreal has overhauled our understanding of why autism potentially occurs, develops and results in a diversity of symptoms. [More]
Blood expression levels of genes targeted by stress hormones could be biomarker for developing PTSD

Blood expression levels of genes targeted by stress hormones could be biomarker for developing PTSD

Blood expression levels of genes targeted by the stress hormones called glucocorticoids could be a physical measure, or biomarker, of risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to a study conducted in rats by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published August 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). [More]
Biomedical engineering professor wins prestigious 2014 Early Career Achievement Award

Biomedical engineering professor wins prestigious 2014 Early Career Achievement Award

Qi Wang, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, recently won the prestigious 2014 Early Career Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). [More]
Vanderbilt researchers report benefits of behavior-focused therapies for ASD children

Vanderbilt researchers report benefits of behavior-focused therapies for ASD children

Vanderbilt researchers this week reported updated findings regarding the benefits of behavior-focused therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). [More]
UCSF researchers identify novel molecular features within the developing human brain

UCSF researchers identify novel molecular features within the developing human brain

UC San Francisco researchers have identified cells' unique features within the developing human brain, using the latest technologies for analyzing gene activity in individual cells, and have demonstrated that large-scale cell surveys can be done much more efficiently and cheaply than was previously thought possible. [More]
State highlights: New York hospital mergers surging; Calif. court says home health workers can't sue for damages, injuries associated with caring for Alzheimer's patients

State highlights: New York hospital mergers surging; Calif. court says home health workers can't sue for damages, injuries associated with caring for Alzheimer's patients

A selection of health policy stories from New York, California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Hospital takeovers are surging in the New York region, raising concerns that health costs could climb and care could change. [More]
Persons with ASD have trouble in noticing their movement imitated by others

Persons with ASD have trouble in noticing their movement imitated by others

A Japanese research group led by Prof Norihiro Sadato, a professor of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), has found that people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have decreased activity in an area in the brain critical for understanding if his/her movement was imitated by others. [More]
Researchers receive $435K to study how environmental factors affect genes that cause autism

Researchers receive $435K to study how environmental factors affect genes that cause autism

Over the last decade, autism research has been primarily focused on finding genes that may "cause" autism. However, little information exists on gene-environment interactions that may increase risk for autism. [More]
State highlights: Time of turmoil for Georgia hospitals; Oregon Medicaid takes aim at expensive heptatitis C drug

State highlights: Time of turmoil for Georgia hospitals; Oregon Medicaid takes aim at expensive heptatitis C drug

A selection of health policy stories from Gerogia, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina. [More]
Scientists unravel neural circuit that could play important role in autism

Scientists unravel neural circuit that could play important role in autism

The insular cortex is an integral "hub", combining sensory, emotional and cognitive content. Not surprisingly, alterations in insular structure and function have been reported in many psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, addiction and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). [More]
Researchers find differences in brain wiring between children with SPD and those with autism

Researchers find differences in brain wiring between children with SPD and those with autism

Researchers at UC San Francisco have found that children with sensory processing disorders have decreased structural brain connections in specific sensory regions different than those in autism, further establishing SPD as a clinically important neurodevelopmental disorder. [More]
Study: Socialization emerges as relative strength in boys with fragile X

Study: Socialization emerges as relative strength in boys with fragile X

Standard scores measuring "adaptive behavior" in boys with fragile X syndrome tend to decline during childhood and adolescence, the largest longitudinal study of the inherited disorder to date has found. [More]