Teens with Autism Can Master Daily Living Skills When Parents Teach, Reach for iPads

Daily tasks can be difficult for some people with autism because they often involve sequential steps. Since people with autism are strong visual learners, a study examined if parents could help their teens learn using portable, mainstream devices like an iPad. Similar studies have primarily targeted parents of young children with autism. Results show that video prompting interventions produced both immediate and lasting effects for teens with autism and that parents can be powerful delivery agents to increase independence in their children.

Read more

For better research results, let mice be mice

Animal models can serve as gateways for understanding many human communication disorders, but a new study from the University at Buffalo suggests that the established practice of socially isolating mice for such purposes might actually make them poor research models for humans, and a simple shift to a more realistic social environment could greatly improve the utility of the future studies.

Read more

Study: First Evidence of Immune Response Targeting Brain Cells in Autism

In a paper published in Annals of Neurology, a physician-scientist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and colleagues report the presence of cellular features consistent with an immune response targeting specialized brain cells in more than two thirds of autistic brains analyzed postmortem. These cellular characteristics – not previously observed in autism – lend critical new insight into autism’s origins and could pave the way to improved diagnosis and treatment for people with this disorder.

Read more

Harvard University to Launch Center for Autism Research

New center for autism research will explore the basic biology of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders
Scientists to study how genetic and environmental factors intersect to give rise to a family of dauntingly complex conditions affecting one in 59 children in the United States
Scientists will tackle current gaps in knowledge in the neurobiology of the condition
Center enabled by $20 million gift from philanthropists whose contributions to autism-related research total nearly $70 million to date

Read more

First Large-Scale Study of Universal Screening for Autism Raises Critical Questions about Accuracy, Equity

In the first large, real-world study of universal screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in toddlers, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found that the most widely used and researched screening tool is less accurate than shown in previous studies conducted in research laboratory settings. The new study also revealed significant disparities in detecting early autism symptoms in minority, urban and low-income children.

Read more

Researchers Identify Metabolic Cycles in Baby Teeth Linked to ADHD and Autism in Children

Mount Sinai researchers have identified elemental signatures in baby teeth that are unique to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, and cases when both neurodevelopment conditions are present, which suggests that the metabolic regulation of nutrients and toxins play a role in these diseases, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry in September.

Read more

Nerve Stimulation + Repetitive Sounds Help Improve Hearing

Combining seizure-preventing electrical stimulation with repetitive musical tones improves processing of sounds in the brain, according to new research. The discovery may provide relief for chronic ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and aid communication skills in people with autism. The first-of-its-kind study, published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurophysiology (JNP), was chosen as an APSselect article for August.

Read more