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Sciencedaily.com: Autism: New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether a child has autism

Scientists have developed a new, highly accurate method that analyzes metabolic biomarkers to assess whether a child is on the autism spectrum, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1.5 percent of all children, but its exact cause remains unknown, and diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary team of doctors. Previous research has revealed certain differences in metabolic processes between children on the autism spectrum and neurotypical children. However, researchers

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Sciencedaily.com: Treatment window for fragile X likely doesn't close after childhood

Brain samples from humans show that the treatment window for Fragile X syndrome likely remains open well into maturity after childhood, when previous tests with mice indicated it might close, according to a new Drexel University-led study.

This new information could become valuable as therapeutic treatments for Fragile X syndrome — the most common autism-related disorder which results in intellectual disabilities and impacts one in every 4,000 males and one in every 8,000 females —

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Sciencedaily.com: Infections during pregnancy may interfere with genes linked to prenatal brain development

If a mother picks up an infection during pregnancy, her immune system will kick into action to clear the infection — but this self-defence mechanism may also have a small influence how her child’s brain develops in the womb, in ways that are similar to how the brain develops in autism spectrum disorders. Now, an international team of researchers has shown why this may be the case.

In a study published in the journal Molecular

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Sciencedaily.com: Insight into day-to-day lives of parents raising children with autism

Like all parents, couples who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share the ups and downs of parenting.

A new study by Waisman Center researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looks at the daily experiences of these parents to provide a more detailed picture of the strengths and vulnerabilities of couples raising a child with ASD.

“I think we can use these findings to develop more effective therapies and strategies to address potential

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Sciencedaily.com: Identifying genes key to human memory: Insights from genetics and cognitive neuroscience

Researchers have identified more than 100 genes important for memory in people. The study is the first to identify correlations between gene data and brain activity during memory processing, providing a new window into human memory.

“This is very exciting because the identification of these gene-to-behavior relationships opens up new research avenues for testing the role of these genes in specific aspects of memory function and dysfunction,” says Genevieve Konopka of UT Southwestern, who is

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Sciencedaily.com: Study shows how brain combines subtle sensory signals to take notice

A new study describes a key mechanism in the brain that allows animals to recognize and react when subtle sensory signals that might not seem important on their own occur simultaneously. Such “multisensory integration” (MSI) is a vital skill for young brains to develop, said the authors of the paper in eLife, because it shapes how effectively animals can make sense of their surroundings.

For a mouse, that ability can make the difference between life

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Sciencedaily.com: Children with autism find understanding facial expressions difficult but make similar mistakes as peers, new study finds

Young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties recognising and distinguishing between different facial expressions, according to research from one of the largest studies to look at emotion recognition in children and adolescents with ASC. The University of Bristol findings are published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

A team from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology aimed to find out whether six basic facial expressions differing in intensity are challenging for young

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Sciencedaily.com: Prudence, impatience and laziness: Are these contagious personality traits?

People tend to unconsciously imitate others’ prudent, impatient or lazy attitudes, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

“Prudence,” “impatience” or “laziness” are typically thought of as entrenched personality traits that guide how people weigh the cost of risk, delay and effort (respectively). However, new research shows that people’s attitudes towards effort, delay, or risk drift towards those of others.

Jean Daunizeau and Marie Devaine, from INSERM, Paris, combined mathematical modelling and cognitive

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Sciencedaily.com: Transcription factor expression tied to medial amygdala neuronal ID, sex-specific response

Neurons derived from two different types of precursor cells that later develop into neurons in the medial amygdala — one of the interconnected structures in the brain involved in emotion, motivation and memory — help to program innate reproductive and aggressive behaviors into the brain, research led by Children’s National Health System indicates.

The finding, published April 7, 2017 in the journal eLife, helps to explain how events that occur when the fetal brain is

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Sciencedaily.com: Girls are better at masking autism than boys

Girls with autism have relatively good social skills, which means that their autism is often not recognised. Autism manifests itself in girls differently from in boys. Psychologist Carolien Rieffe and colleagues from the Autism Centre and INTER-PSY (Groningen) report their findings in scientific journal Autism.

Information about autism in girls is scarce. What we know about autism is mainly based on research among boys and men. That can be a problem, says Leiden Professor of

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Sciencedaily.com: One in three teens with autism spectrum disorder receives driver's license

A new study from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) finds one in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) acquires an intermediate driver’s license, and the majority does so in their 17th year. The vast majority of teens with ASD who receive a learner’s permit goes on to receive their license within two years after becoming eligible, suggesting that families are making the decision of whether their children with ASD will learn to drive and

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Sciencedaily.com: Parent-mediated therapy may help babies at risk of developing autism

The earliest autism intervention study in the world that uses video to provide feedback to parents of babies at family risk of autism, has indicated a reduction in the severity of emerging signs of autism. This study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the first of its kind to work with babies in their first year of life who have a sibling with autism and are therefore at higher risk of

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Sciencedaily.com: Mechanism that regulates acoustic habituation identified

Most people will startle when they hear an unexpected loud sound. The second time they hear the noise, they’ll startle significantly less; by the third time, they’ll barely startle at all. This ability is called acoustic habituation, and new Western-led research has identified the underlying molecular mechanism that controls this capability. The research opens the door to treatments, especially for people who have autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia and who experience disruptions in this ability.

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Sciencedaily.com: Money a barrier to independence for young adults with autism

More than 3 million people in the United States are estimated to have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and annual diagnosis rates continue to rise. Researchers from the University of Missouri have found when teenagers and young adults with autism enter adulthood and age out of many of the services designed to help them, they often are anxious about how to handle new adult responsibilities such as paying bills and filing taxes. These findings highlight

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Sciencedaily.com: Article examines studies on antidepressants, autism spectrum disorders

A new article published by JAMA Pediatrics reviews and analyzes a small collection of studies on fetal exposure to antidepressants and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Florence Gressier, M.D., Ph.D., of the Bicêtre University Hospital, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France, and coauthors identified 10 relevant studies with inconsistent results to examine ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester and during the preconception period.

“Future studies, comprising an assessment of diagnoses, severity of illness and

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Sciencedaily.com: 26 novel genes linked to intellectual disability

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Queen’s University have identified 26 new genes linked to intellectual disability. Currently most patients with intellectual disability receive no molecular diagnosis, which significantly affects their health and shortens their lifespan.

The study, published online in Molecular Psychiatry, has implications for the diagnosis and clinical care of those affected, and also adds to our growing knowledge of brain development and functioning. It may eventually lead

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Sciencedaily.com: Diagnosed autism linked to maternal grandmother's smoking in pregnancy

Scientists from the University of Bristol have looked at all 14,500 participants in Children of the 90s and found that if a girl’s maternal grandmother smoked during pregnancy, the girl is 67% more likely to display certain traits linked to autism, such as poor social communication skills and repetitive behaviours.

The team also found that if the maternal grandmother smoked, this increased by 53% the risk of her grandchildren having a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder

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Sciencedaily.com: Facial expressions: How brains process emotion

Have you ever thought someone was angry at you, but it turned out you were just misreading their facial expression? Caltech researchers have now discovered that one specific region of the brain, called the amygdala, is involved in making these (sometimes inaccurate) judgments about ambiguous or intense emotions. Identifying the amygdala’s role in social cognition suggests insights into the neurological mechanisms behind autism and anxiety.

The research was done in the laboratories of Ralph Adolphs,

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