Science News about Autism
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- Imaging Reveals Abnormal Brain Growth in Toddlers with Fragile X
- Science Update June 08, 2010
Differences in brain growth patterns between preschool-aged boys with Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, and their healthy peers suggest that the disorder may affect brain development both before and after birth, according to NIMH-funded researchers. In addition, their findings indicate ages 1–5 are an important window for better understanding the effects of FXS on brain development. The study was published May 18, 2010, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Major Databases Link Up to Advance Autism Research
- Press Release December 08, 2009
Researchers studying autism spectrum disorders (ASD) will soon have access to a vast range of data and research tools through the NIH National Database for Autism Research (NDAR).
- Autism Intervention for Toddlers Improves Developmental Outcomes
- Science Update December 08, 2009
Children with autism who receive a high intensity developmental behavioral intervention starting by age 18–30 months show major improvements in IQ, language, adaptive behavior, and severity of their diagnosis, according to an NIMH-funded study.
- Silenced Gene for Social Behavior Found in Autism
- Science Update December 03, 2009
For the first time, inherited disruption of gene expression in a brain system for social behavior has been implicated in autism. NIMH grantee Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., at the University of Miami and Simon Gregory, Ph.D., at Duke University, and a multinational team of researchers found evidence for such epigenetic effects on the gene for the oxytocin receptor -- part of a brain system that mediates social behaviors disturbed in autism. The findings suggest a potential genetic biomarker for the disorder.
- Parent Training Complements Medication for Treating Behavioral Problems in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders
- Press Release November 20, 2009
Treatment that includes medication plus a structured training program for parents reduces serious behavioral problems in children with autism and related conditions, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, which was part of the NIMH Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network, was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
- Recovery Act Grant Aims to Teach Kids with Autism How to Better Express Themselves
- Science Update November 12, 2009
Most children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) seem to have trouble engaging in everyday social interactions. They may seem to have no reaction to other people or may respond atypically when others show anger or affection. Their own facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language may not match what they are saying, making it difficult for others to respond appropriately. Such barriers to communication can isolate children with ASD from their peers.
- NIH Awards More than 50 Grants to Boost Search for Causes, Improve Treatments for Autism
- Press Release November 04, 2009
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded more than 50 autism research grants, totaling more than $65 million, which will be supported with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds. These grants are the result of the largest funding opportunity for research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to date, announced in March 2009.
- Kids’ Brain Development Charted as They Grow Up
- Science Update November 03, 2009
A landmark, multisite NIH-funded neuroimaging study of brain development in healthy, normally-developing children has posted its third release of data. This is the first release from the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to include data from very young children – birth to 4 years old – and snapshots of brain chemistry at key developmental milestones. The data is accessible to qualified researchers via the NIH Pediatric MRI Data Repository website.
- Clinical Tests Begin on Medication to Correct Fragile X Defect
- Press Release November 02, 2009
NIH-supported scientists at Seaside Therapeutics in Cambridge, Mass., are beginning a clinical trial of a potential medication designed to correct a central neurochemical defect underlying Fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. There has to date been no medication that could alter the disorder’s neurologic abnormalities. The study will evaluate safety, tolerability, and optimal dosage in healthy volunteers.
- Youth with Autism Coming of Age: New NIMH Study Will Focus on Transitions in Service Use and Coverage
- Science Update August 07, 2009
The transition from teen to young adult involves many highly anticipated rites of passage. However, for youths with developmental disorders, coming of age may signal the sudden end of coverage for education and training programs, health insurance, and youth-oriented services.
- Citalopram No Better Than Placebo Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Press Release June 01, 2009
Citalopram, a medication commonly prescribed to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was no more effective than a placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors, according to researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and other NIH institutes. The study was published in the June 2009 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
- Autism Skews Developing Brain with Synchronous Motion and Sound
- Press Release March 31, 2009
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to stare at people’s mouths rather than their eyes. Now, an NIH-funded study in 2-year-olds with the social deficit disorder suggests why they might find mouths so attractive: lip-syncing — the exact match of lip motion and speech sound.
- Rising to the Challenge: NIH Will Use $60 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Support Strategic Autism Research
- Press Release March 24, 2009
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will commit roughly $60 million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support autism research and meet objectives set forth earlier this year by a federal advisory committee. The Request for Applications is the largest funding opportunity for research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to date and combined with other ARRA initiatives represents a surge in NIH’s commitment to finding the causes and treatments for autism.
- NIMH Grants Focus on Innovative Autism Research
- Science Update December 30, 2008
Autism is a complex brain disorder involving communication and social difficulties as well as repetitive behavior or limited interests.
- Lack of Eye Contact May Predict Level of Social Disability in Two-Year Olds with Autism
- Science Update October 23, 2008
By age 2, children with autism show unusual patterns of eye contact compared with typically developing children.
- Study Examines the Prevalence and Impact of Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism
- Science Update September 24, 2008
A new study examines the characteristics of children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) who also have gastrointestinal problems.
- Antipsychotic Does Not Harm—and May Improve—Cognitive Skills in Children with Autism
- Science Update August 27, 2008
The atypical antipsychotic medication risperidone (Risperdal) does not negatively affect cognitive skills of children with autism, and may lead to improvements, according to an NIMH-funded study published recently in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
- “Signatures” of Errant Gene Expression in Autism Eyed for Diagnostic Test
- Science Update August 01, 2008
Researchers have launched an effort to detect profiles of gene expression associated with autism that could some day form the basis of a diagnostic test for the disorder.
- Common Mechanisms May Underlie Autism’s Seemingly Diverse Mutations
- Press Release July 10, 2008
Many of the seemingly disparate mutations recently discovered in autism may share common underlying mechanisms, say researchers supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- New Grant Supports Stem Cell-Derived Model of Autism-Related Illness
- Science Update June 26, 2008
For the first time, researchers are developing a test tube model of Rett syndrome, a debilitating autism-like illness, in neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells.
- NIMH Funds Research to Find Best Treatments for Children with Autism and ADHD Symptoms
- Science Update June 02, 2008
A new NIMH-funded study will help guide the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
- Spontaneous Mutations Rife in Non-Familial Schizophrenia
- Press Release May 30, 2008
People with schizophrenia from families with no history of the illness were found to harbor eight times more spontaneous mutations – most in pathways affecting brain development – than healthy controls, in a study supported in part the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). By contrast, no spontaneous mutations were found in people with schizophrenia who had family histories of the illness.
- Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth
- Science Update April 15, 2008
Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of "well established" and "probably efficacious" treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were "probably efficacious" for anxiety disorders, and two were "well established" for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.
- Newly Awarded Autism Centers of Excellence to Further Autism Research
- Press Release April 01, 2008
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on April 1, 2008, the latest recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program.
- Autism Gene Scans Converge on Two Suspect Sites, Two Types of Genetic Risk
- Science Update March 19, 2008
Four teams of scientists, using resources supported in part by NIMH, have pinpointed two different sites in the genome, each conferring a different type of genetic risk for autism. At one site, risk genes appear to be inherited. At the other, risk stems from spontaneous mutations, not seen in the genetics of the parents. In both examples, evidence suggests the suspect genes are critical for development of brain circuits impaired in autism.
- Autism Risk Higher in People with Gene Variant
- Press Release January 10, 2008
Scientists have found a variation in a gene that may raise the risk of developing autism, especially when the variant is inherited from mothers rather than fathers. The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.
- Study Aims to Develop First Medications for Fragile-X Syndrome, Leading Inherited Cause of Mental Retardation
- Science Update December 20, 2007
A new NIMH grant is enabling scientists to begin testing safety and effectiveness of potential medications for fragile-X syndrome, the most common inherited form of mental retardation. No effective medications are available for the disorder.
- NIH Funds New Program to Investigate Causes and Treatment of Autism
- Science Update October 30, 2007
The National Institutes of Health will intensify its efforts to find the causes of autism and identify new treatments for the disorder, through a new research program.
- New Social Neuroscience Grants to Help Unravel Autism, Anxiety Disorders
- Science Update October 10, 2007
How genes and the environment shape the brain circuitry underlying social behavior is among the questions being addressed by three newly NIMH-funded studies.
- NIMH Funds Additional New Research on Autism
- Science Update September 11, 2007
NIMH is funding several new grants that will further our understanding of autism spectrum disorder, which is marked by a pervasive impairment in communicating, expressing emotion, and relating to others socially.
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- Out of Sync With the World: Body Clocks of Depressed People Are Altered at Cell LevelExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.
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