Changes in scores of genes contribute to autism risk — Newfound genetic differences provide many hints at causes – Small differences in as many as a thousand genes contribute to risk for autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This new study examined data on several types of rare, genetic differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected children, and unrelated individuals.
E-cigarettes may boost resistance of drug-resistant pathogens – Despite being touted by their manufacturers as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, e-cigarettes appear in a laboratory study to increase the virulence of drug- resistant and potentially life-threatening bacteria, while decreasing the ability of human cells to kill these bacteria.
DNA markers in low-IQ autism suggest heredity – Researchers are striving to understand the different genetic structures that underlie at least a subset of autism spectrum disorders. In cases where the genetic code is in error, did that happen anew in the patient, perhaps through mutation or copying error, or was it inherited? A new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics finds evidence that there may often be a recessive, inherited genetic contribution in autism with significant intellectual disability.
Drug could improve working memory of people with autism, study finds – People with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have trouble communicating and interacting with others because they process language, facial expressions and social cues differently. Previously, researchers found that propranolol, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety and panic, could improve the language abilities and social functioning of people with an ASD. Now, University of Missouri investigators say the prescription drug also could help improve the working memory abilities of individuals with autism.
New NIH funding for two Autism Centers of Excellence — A total of 11 centers now funded for up to five years – The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.3 million in initial one-year funding to the latest two recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. With these awards, announced on World Autism Awareness Day, these and nine other ACE centers in US are now being funded for up to five years.
Folic acid supplements early in pregnancy may reduce child’s risk of autism by 40 percent — Large study in Norway finds early timing of folic acid supplements is critical – Prenatal folic acid supplements appear to reduce the risk for autistic spectrum disorders. It is estimated that about 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Baby communication gives clues to autism — University of Miami researchers find that babies’ non-verbal communication skills can help predict outcomes in children at high risk of developing Autism – Approximately 19 percent of children with a sibling diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will develop Autism due to shared genetic and environmental vulnerabilities, according to previous studies. For that reason, University of Miami (UM) psychologists are developing ways to predict the occurrence of ASD in high-risk children, early in life, in hopes that early intervention will lead to better outcomes in the future.