Guide Chapter 16, Hormonal Influences in Typical Development: Implications for Autism

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  1. Adolescent Physical Development
  2. Stereotypes and myths
  3. Autism in the News - Autism Science Foundation
  5. Empathizing–systemizing theory

It measures skills using an Empathy Quotient EQ and Systemizing Quotient SQ , and attempts to explain the social and communication symptoms in autism spectrum disorders as deficits and delays in empathy combined with intact or superior systemizing. According to the originator of the hypothesis, Simon Baron-Cohen , the E-S theory has been tested using the Empathy Quotient EQ and Systemizing Quotient SQ , developed by him and colleagues, and generates five different 'brain types' depending on the presence or absence of discrepancies between their scores on E or S.

Baron-Cohen's studies and theory has faced some criticism. E-S theory was developed by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen as a major reconceptualization of cognitive sex differences in the general population and in an effort to understand why the cognitive difficulties in autism appeared to lie in domains in which he says on average females outperformed males and why cognitive strengths in autism appeared to lie in domains in which on average males outperformed females. The two sexes are different, but are not so different that we cannot understand each other. He had previously proposed the mind-blindness theory in , which argued that children with autism are delayed in their development of a theory of mind , that is, the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of themselves or others.

Baron-Cohen says a strength of this theory lies in its power to explain one of the core features of autism the social and communication difficulties , but a limitation of the mindblindness theory is that it ignored the other main domain in autism unusually narrow interests and highly repetitive behaviors, also called 'resistance to change or need for sameness'. To address this, Baron-Cohen put forward the E-S theory.

Such a distinction can be traced back to two different but almost contemporary origins. According to Baron-Cohen, females on average score higher on measures of empathy and males on average score higher on measures of systemizing. Baron-Cohen and associates say that similar sex differences on average have been found using performance tests of empathy such as facial emotion recognition tasks [13] and on performance tests of systemizing such as measures of mechanical reasoning or 'intuitive physics'. While experience and socialization contribute to the observed sex differences in empathy and systemizing, Baron-Cohen and colleagues suggest that biology also plays a role.

A candidate biological factor influencing E and S is fetal testosterone FT. Baron-Cohen presents several possible evolutionary psychology explanations for this sex difference. For example, he says that better empathizing may improve care of children, and that better empathy may also improve women's social network which may help in various ways with the caring of children.

On the other hand, he says that systemizing may help males become good hunters and increase their social status by improving spatial navigation and the making and use of tools. Baron-Cohen's work in systemizing-empathizing led him to investigate whether higher levels of fetal testosterone explain the increased prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among males [24] in his theory known as the "extreme male brain" theory of autism.

A review of his book The Essential Difference published in Nature in summarizes his proposals as: "the male brain is programmed to systemize and the female brain to empathize Asperger's syndrome represents the extreme male brain". Baron-Cohen and colleagues extended the E-S theory into the extreme male brain theory of autism, which hypothesizes that autism shows an extreme of the typical male profile.

Baron-Cohen says that tests of the E-S model show that twice as many females than males are Type E and twice as many males than females are Type S. Apart from the research using EQ and SQ, several other similar tests also have found female and male differences and that people with autism or Asperger syndrome on average score similarly to but more extremely than the average male.

Some, but not all, studies have found that brain regions that differ in average size between males and females also differ similarly between people who have autism and those who do not have autism. Baron-Cohen's research on relatives of people with Asperger syndrome and autism found that their fathers and grandfathers are twice as likely to be engineers as the general population. The overrepresentation of engineers could depend on a sampling bias.

Another similar finding by Baron-Cohen in California has been referred to as the Silicon Valley phenomenon , where a large portion of the population works in technical fields, and he says autism prevalence rates are ten times higher than the average of the US population. Another possibility has been proposed that spins the perspective of the extreme male brain. Social theorists have been investigating the concept that females have protective factors against autism by having a more developed language repertoire and more empathy skills.

Female children speak earlier and use language more than their male counterparts, and the lack of this skill translates into many symptoms of autism, offering another explanation for the discrepancy in prevalence. The fetal testosterone theory hypothesizes that higher levels of testosterone in the amniotic fluid of mothers push brain development towards improved ability to see patterns and analyze complex systems while diminishing communication and empathy, emphasizing "male" traits over "female", or in E-S theory terminology, emphasizing "systemizing" over "empathizing".

This theory states that fetal testosterone influences the development of certain structures in the brain, and that these changes relate to behavioral traits seen in those with autism. Males generally have higher levels of fetal testosterone contributing to their brain developing in that particular way.

These are mainly size and connectivity with males generally having a larger brain with more white matter, leading to increased connectivity in each hemisphere.

Adolescent Physical Development

Another feature of male brains is having a smaller corpus callosum in at least some regions leading to decreased inter-hemispheric connectivity. High levels of fetal testosterone have also been shown to be related to behavior associated with autism, such as eye contact. Studies examining the relationship between prenatal testosterone levels and autistic traits found that high levels correlated with traits such as decreased eye contact.

This suggests that fetal testosterone fT is the cause of sex differences in the brain and that there is a link between fT levels and ASD. In general females with autism have a higher rate of medical conditions which are related to high androgen levels and both males and females with autism have higher than average androgen levels.

This is a possible cause for the male prevalence seen in autism. The imprinted brain theory is a somewhat similar although not identical theory. It argues that autism and psychosis are contrasting disorders on a number of variables. This is argued to be due to imbalanced genomic imprinting. According to the imprinted brain theory there could be a mismatch and more severe problems when extreme genomic imprinting occurs in the opposite sex, which would explain why female autism and male psychosis is often particularly severe, which is a problem for the "extreme male brain" theory which predicts the opposite.

Studies found that individuals with autism spectrum disorder ASD self-report lower levels of empathic concern, show less or absent comforting responses toward someone who is suffering, and report equal or higher levels of personal distress compared to controls. Studies also suggest that individuals with ASD may have impaired theory of mind, involving the ability to understand the perspectives of others.

Baron-Cohen argued that psychopathy is associated with intact cognitive empathy but reduced affective empathy while ASD is associated with both reduced cognitive and affective empathy. Empathizing-systematizing theory has faced some criticism [46] [47] [48] Time magazine wrote that Baron-Cohen "most dramatically wandered into fraught territory in , when he published the book The Essential Difference , which called autism a manifestation of an extreme 'male brain'--one that's 'predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems,' as opposed to a 'female brain,' one that's 'predominantly hard-wired for empathy'--and ended up on the wrong side of the debate on science and sex differences.

It is unquestionably a novel and fascinating idea that seems likely to generate a rich empirical body of literature as its properties are tested. The second part of the theory—that females are more empathic than males—is more problematic Other measures, however, show that males are highly socially skilled.

Others criticize the original EQ and SQ, which form most of the research basis behind the notions of empathizing and systemizing. Both measure more than one factor, and sex differences exist on only some of the factors. Isabelle Rapin Baron-Cohen's theory "provocative" but adds that "it does not account for some of the many neurological features of the disorder, like the motor symptoms [such as repetitive movements and clumsiness], the sleep problems or the seizures.

Males are commonly associated with "qualities such as aggression," says Helen Tager-Flusberg From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Please review the contents of the article and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed.

April Main article: Imprinted brain theory. Bibcode : Sci Extracted in : Kessel, Cathy 15 November Some studies say yes, but this week, studies in China look at non-caucasian people with a different diet. Do the differences still hold? Also, while GI […]. While diagnosis before 3 years of age is ideal, circumstances may not always allow the earliest identification and diagnosis.

A new study from the ASF-supported Baby Siblings Research Consortium explains why a few kids with autism do not receive a formal diagnosis until 5 years or later. Read more here. Is this true? What do you think? Filed under: ASD , Autism , community , differences , disability , featured , perspectives , science. Alycia Halladay discusses how autism research gets covered and suggests way to improve the reporting to make sure the news that goes around is legitimate and significant. Read the op-ed here. Filed under: Alycia Halladay , asf , featured , health , news , research , science , Scientific American.

Puberty 1, Hormonal development

Inna Fishman from San Diego State University explains how findings from brain tissue helps scientists interpret data which studies how brain regions connect to each other and why this is important for understanding autism subgroups. Listen […]. This week, Dr. This alliance is a partnership of research and advocacy organizations focused on improving outcomes of individuals with all forms of autism by fostering a genetics-first approach to autism science. This podcast is dedicated to siblings of people with autism who are typically developing.

They play an important and beneficial role in development of socialization of those with ASD. But sadly, they also have issues of their own, such as a high rate of issues like anxiety and depression. Those siblings may be genetic carries […]. Filed under: advocates , anxiety , ASD , asf , Autism , children , community , depression , Family , featured , podcast , Siblings. Get ready to ride your bike or walk to support autism research! Join to bike the 63, 30, 20, or 4 mile cycling route! Register now to save time on event day. Come out and join […]. Recently, Clare Harrop from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published two papers which help explain the differences between boys and girls with autism, at least in kids and toddlers.

She graciously agreed to talk with ASF about these findings and what it means for better identification and diagnosis of girls with ASD, and […]. The increase in these conditions may help in defining different subgroups of autism. Listen on asfpodcast. Read about how Allyson made her dream a reality by becoming a special education teacher on the ASF blog. Filed under: Allyson Schwartzman , ASD , asf , Autism , blog , early childhood , elementary , Family , featured , special education , teaching.

The symposium will include three hour-long discussions and three breakout sessions with the presenters. The event will be […]. Researchers at Mount Sinai led by Alex Kolevzon are running a clinical trial of the compound insulin-like growth factor 1 IGF-1 for children with idiopathic autism. Particularly, the IGF-1 treatment improved symptoms of social impairment […].

Children are not small adults, and this was illustrated this week in two papers studying features of autism across the lifespan. Filed under: adolescents , Adults , ASD , asf , Autism , children , development , featured , outcomes , podcast , research , science. The Smithsonian Magazine reported on the story of the Bak family and the Autism Sisters Project, an ASF scientific initiative determined to understand the disparity of autism diagnoses between boys and girls and the potential female protective effect.

Through the study of the unaffected sisters of people with autism, the goal is to build a […]. Two weeks ago, the autism research community lost a pioneer, mentor and advocate for the autism community. This podcast only highlights a portion of the enormous contribution he made to autism research and the impact his research had on families with ASD.

Also, two people that know him best, one of his current mentees, Suzannah […]. Filed under: ASD , asf , Autism , Behavior , children , families , featured , podcast , research , science , therapy , Treatment. They do have a common link. Research also shows that environmental exposures and maternal medical conditions contribute to a host of outcomes and comorbidities, autism being one of them. Based on a scoping review of existing research on employment practices, the environment was one crucial element […].

Our goal is to encourage more research in this area. Please share your stories by sending an email to ASF at contactus autismsciencefoundation. Filed under: asf , Behavior , children , families , featured , research , restricted and repetitive , story. It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr. Tristram Smith passed away suddenly Monday morning. He was a hero—quietly changing the face of evidence-based interventions for autism and giving families both hope and plans for how to get there. Our sincere condolences to his family and his colleagues at the University […].

Filed under: advocacy , Autism , children , families , featured , hope , interventions , research , science , services , Tristram Smith , University of Rochester. Listeners to the ASF podcast get a break this week, although you are all encouraged to check out the Spectrumly Speaking podcast.

Spectrumly Speaking is a podcast dedicated to women on the autism spectrum, produced by Different Brains. The Autism Science Foundation invites applications for its Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Awards from graduate students, medical students and postdoctoral fellows interested in pursuing careers in basic and clinical research relevant to autism spectrum disorders.

You can learn more about the fellowship requirements here.

Stereotypes and myths

Applications are due December 3, at pm EST. Filed under: ASD , asf , ASF fellowship , Autism , Autism Spectrum Disorder , basic science , clinical science , featured , fellowships , graduate , postdoc , postdoctoral , research fellowships. Filed under: asf , Autism , classroom , featured , intervention , podcast , research , science , students , teachers. Thank you to the ASF community for suggesting this topic for the podcast! As members of the SAB, the scientists will help […]. If you want to know about people with autism, ask them. Scientists are working on how they collect information from people with autism in order to better understand individual experiences and produce findings that may help improve services.

Listen to the podcast episode here. Filed under: asf , Autism , featured , individual experiences , podcast , research , science , self report , services. ASF is proud to announce continued support for the Baby Siblings Research Consortium BSRC , a network of over 33 research sites around the world studying the younger siblings of people with autism. The Baby Sibs database now tracks over 5, younger siblings, with and without autism.

The database has been used to develop more sophisticated […]. ASF is collaborating with Mr. Mahdi on an employment policy brief. Filed under: asf , employment , featured , ICF , International Classification of Functioning , Karolinska Institute , opportunity , podcast , policy brief , research , science , strengths. The funding will allow Dr. Jack and her collaborators to analyze epigenetic modifications of the oxytocin receptor in all participants of their current NIH-funded project examining the differences in brain structure between […].

In addition, cellular stress is seen in the brains of people with autism. What comes first? Mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular […]. This includes genetics, parental stress and quality of life, and broader autism phenotype features. Of note, two new studies that look at antidepressant exposure in father and probability of having a child with autism — a variation on studying maternal exposures. Filed under: antidepressant , asf , Autism , broader autism phenotype , dad , exposure , father , featured , Genetics , parental stress , paternal , podcast , quality of life , research. The group published a book of their stories in March You can read the blog in English and […].

Filed under: acceptance , advocacy , asf , Autism , awareness , blog , featured , Siblings , South Korea , summer intern , support. Also, new data linking autism to allergies, including food allergies. Filed under: allergies , Autism , baby teeth , Biomarkers , featured , research.

The Interactive Autism Network published an article explaining the latest epigenetics research in autism. Including findings made from Autism BrainNet tissue resources, research is demonstrating how epigenetics may play a role in the development and severity of autism. Read […]. Suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts have been shown to be increased in people with ASD. Rates are similar to those with bipolar depression and schizophrenia, but are higher even without psychosis. This is shocking and an urgent health issue in the autism community.

Filed under: asf , Autism , featured , podcast , prevention , research , Risk Factors , suicide. While much work needs to be done to include individual abilities and disabilities into the DSM5, after the CDC prevalence numbers were published last month, it became clear the old DSM IV was not working. In a replication of a previous finding, it showed that the […].

Through reviews by members of the autism community, ASF received this status. The ASF team thanks the community for its support throughout the years. Filed under: Autism , featured , GreatNonprofits , nonprofit , top-rated. Tracy Yuen of University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children explains two different analyses of cost-effectiveness which looked at 1 universal screening for ASD and 2 use of genomic sequencing to identify novel variants in people with ASD.

As a result, some of the more basic science questions around autism are now being presented at other meetings. All three deal with using whole genome sequencing WGS to study non-coding regulatory regions that may be associated with autism. These regions of DNA do not code for proteins but regulate the regions that do.

Mutations in the non-coding regulatory regions that regulate the […]. You can view them here. Topics include gender differences in autism, sleep problems in autism, the potential of medical marijuana as an autism treatment, adult outcomes, the role of dietary interventions, and the perception of […]. Alycia Halladay interviewed Dr. The two CSOs also discussed other important in ASD research, including disclosure of a diagnosis, sex differences, and some of the newest more exciting findings.

The Spring issue of the Autism BrainNet newsletter is out now! Among other news, it highlights recent research using its donated brain tissue resources in autism genetics and neuroanatomy, the science campaign Brain Awareness Week, and outreach efforts through Autism Speaks walks around the country. You can view and read this issue here. Filed under: ABN , advocacy , Autism , autism brainnet , brain , Brain Awareness Week , brain tissue , donation , featured , Genomics , research , science. Every year, the Sabin Vaccine Institute recognizes a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions in […].

Hear what the speakers distilled in their TED-style talks on topics covered sleep, diet, and medical marijuana as a potential treatment for autism. Plus hear about the most recent ASF grantees. ASF invests in the future by funding young scientists, helping set their careers in autism research in motion, early on. Learn more about what ASF funds here. Filed under: asf , Autism , Autism Science Foundation , featured , grant , Inside Philanthropy , research , summer award , undergraduate.

Filed under: asf , Autism , Autism Science Foundation , featured , fellowship , graduate , grant , postdoctoral , research , training award. The results point to the value in monitoring siblings of those with autism. Researchers at Kaiser […]. Filed under: adaptive behavior , asf , BASIS , cognitive skills , family history , featured , health , Kaiser Permanente , medical conditions , podcast , psychiatric conditions , research. You can learn more about the recipients and their projects from […].

Filed under: asf , Autism , Autism Science Foundation , featured , grant , research , summer award , undergraduate. The goal of the Autism Sisters Project is to build a large genetic database that researchers can use to explore the sex difference in autism diagnoses between boys and girls and discover how the potential protective factor, known as the female protective effect, can be harnessed to help people with autism of both sexes. NBC […]. Thomas Avino and Dr. Cyndi Schumann, show a disruption of neuron number in the amygdala in autism. The amygdala is important because it is linked to emotion, fear and anxiety in […].

Amy Kalkbrenner of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee published in Environmental Health Perspectives—certain air pollutants from cars and coal burning plants were associated with autism risk and severity. This scientific evidence supports policies which keep U. Environmental Protection Agency infrastructure intact to monitor […]. Researchers at Autism BrainNet node UC Davis MIND Institute found that while typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults, people with ASD do not.

The open access research published in PNAS studied 52 postmortem human brains, both neurotypical and […]. The advances made through this research would not be possible without the contribution of families like theirs. Read about them here. Using the right tools, both parents and clinicians can see that many more children with autism than thought show regression, a gradual decline or loss of skills starting at around 12 months of age and showing continual declines until 36 months of […]. A new study by the CDC, including Dr. Read the study here.

Alycia Halladay overviews three recent studies, including one done in collaboration with the Autism Treatment Network, looking at how sleep problems impact the behavior and functioning of individuals with autism across the spectrum. SETD5 is a master regulator of gene activity that controls the activity of potentially thousands of other downstream genes in the same cell. Researchers, supported in part by ASF, found that this gene is associated with a subtype of autism that is seen mostly in males and includes intellectual disability and facial dysmorphology. This is […].

Alycia Halladay overviews three new studies looking at commonly used drugs that may help autism not just by improving behavior, but also by how they impact the brain. Plus, a fun study about social media. Filed under: Autism , Behavior , brain , drugs , featured , social media. Ann E. In this role, Dr.

Wagner will play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of national autism spectrum disorder ASD research, services, and support activities across […]. Amazingly, fetal testosterone levels are reflected in the length of the 2nd and 4th fingers and can be measured as a reflection of testosterone levels during pregnancy.

But what may be true for one sex, may not be […]. Filed under: CDC , Drexel University , featured , finger length , podcast , sex differences , symptoms , Testosterone. Rats exhibit both receptive and expressive communication. Research led by Daniel Geschwind of the University of California, Los Angeles used postmortem brain tissue, including resources from Autism BrainNet, found similar gene expression patterns in the brains of those with autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

All three conditions show an activation of genes in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, and suppression of genes […]. Science Magazine Report. Leslie Carver on brain patterns that may explain the social communication deficits present in ASD. Eric Rubenstein of UNC presented findings that demonstrated […]. Filed under: Autism , broader autism , featured , motivation , podcast , Riverside , Sensory Issues , social communication , social cues , University of California , University of North Carolina.

The webinar will focus on the state of science relating to social-communicative biomarkers for autism. Lori Sacrey of the University of Alberta highlights findings from a multi-site study she led that investigated how well parent report measures could predict an ASD diagnosis for at-risk infants. Plus, the journal Autism decided to move away from the puzzle piece symbol in this new era of autism research. The landscape of autism research is changing. With increased calls for autism research funding, there has also been increased focus on improving autism services across the lifespan.

The journal Autism has decided to move away from the puzzle piece symbol and redesign their cover. They explain why in an editorial here. Filed under: Adults , Autism journal , Autism Research , featured , puzzle piece. These important members of the community suffer burnout which can impact the quality of the services they provide individuals with ASD.

A new study examines how to improve the psychological well being of autism support staff so interventions and prevention of burnout can […]. Two national datasets have shown no further increase in autism prevalence in the last few years of looking. Also, folic acid proves to show an effect on the probability of not just an autism diagnosis but also autism symptoms, especially important […]. For a thorough review of what impact research further revealed about the science of autism, be sure to read our year-end science summary on our blog here, compiled and written by our Dr.

From heterogeneity to big data, from studies on females to those […]. Filed under: Autism Research , Autism Science , big data , employment , featured , females , heterogeneity , summary. Researchers at Oxford University led by Dr. David Menassa explore gamma waves in the brains of autistic adults who perform better on a visual processing task than those without a diagnosis.

Menassa provides […]. Filed under: brain wave , David Menassa , featured , gamma wave , Oxford University , podcast , research. While this is not a new topic, the number of publications and research has exploded this year. Learn more here. Filed under: Autism , featured , females , podcast , relationships , sexuality. Filed under: autism brainnet , brain tissue , donation , families , featured. The new ASFpodcast reviews recent evidence showing that folic acid, taken during or prior to pregnancy, may reduce the probability of having a child with autism and intellectual disability.

Hear the whole story here. Filed under: featured , folic acid , preemptive , pregnancy , prevention , vitamins. The newly reconstituted and reorganized Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee has released their strategic plan for To read the full document, click here. Filed under: aging , autism brainnet , brain , Epigenetics , featured , prenatal , research. Filed under: Autism Centers for Excellence , featured , funding , Grants , interventions , research , Treatment. The microbiome is the full community of bacteria that live in our bodies and outnumber cells They can affect the genome directly and they can respond to environmental […].

Filed under: California Institute of Technology , featured , Gil Sharon , immune , interview , micro biome. The results of this survey will be used to develop a policy brief around employment […].

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Unyts, which coordinates all organ, eye, and tissue donation […]. Filed under: autism brainnet , featured , Mount Sinai School of Medicine , unyts. Labor Day is a time to appreciate and honor all those people who work to make this world a better place. People with autism do that, but they also want to get paid and be employed just like anyone else. This Labor Day, the podcast summarizes challenges to studying employment in people with ASD, what […]. Filed under: Curtin University , employment , featured , Karolinska Institute , podcast , policy brief , quality of life , Stony Brook University.

The Autism Science Foundation invites applications for its Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Awards from graduate students, medical students and postdoctoral fellows interested in pursuing careers in basic and clinical research relevant to autism spectrum disorders ASD. The proposed training should be scientifically linked to autism, but may be broadened to include training in a closely […]. Filed under: featured , fellowships , funding , news. Parents of children with seizures are desperate to find something that will at the very least reduce the frequency of seizures in their kids.

Answers came in an unlikely place two months ago with the publication of a randomized clinical trial showing that seizures could be reduced with use of cannabinoids in kids with a […].

Filed under: cannabinoids , Dravet , featured , marijuana , seizures , social communication. Most of them are open access and can be downloaded free of charge. Filed under: Constantino , featured , Genetics , Klin , news , social. First, we are lucky that Dr. Aaron Shield from Miami University joined to explain why studying children who are deaf and have autism, as well as parents of deaf children, are important for understanding language development.

He explores how autism is […]. This summer, ASF will begin funding a post-doctoral fellowship to Dr. Michelle Failla at Vanderbilt University to understand the pain response in people with autism. This study will examine both verbal responses to pain, as well as nonverbal responses like heart rate, facial expression and stress response, to a mild stimuli in adults with ASD. Filed under: featured , pain , post-doctoral , science , Vanderbilt University. Filed under: featured , John Oliver , Vaccines. In order to ensure that researchers have enough brain tissue to understand autism spectrum disorders, the education and outreach campaign of the Autism BrainNet is being expanded past families to doctors and professionals that have access to tissue.

One of these groups is neuropathologists. At their annual meeting this past week in Los Angeles, an […]. Filed under: Autism , brain , featured , neuropathology. Alycia Halladay Ross, she discusses two new publications that reported on systematic reviews for nutritional and sensory treatments for ASD. This means the existing research was sorted, summarized, scrutinized and evaluated. The reviews found insufficient evidence to show that any dietary or nutritional therapy was effective, but sufficient evidence […]. Filed under: Autism , evidence , featured , Treatments.

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Isabelle Rapin. Rapin was a pioneer in autism research who collaborated on many important papers and made enormous contributions to research. Filed under: Autism , clinician , featured. The Dup15q Alliance is offering pre- and postdoctoral fellowships to individuals studying basic science or clinical research on mutations of chromosome People with mutations in a specific region of chromosome 15 also show a high prevalence of autism and applications to investigate autism associated with Dup15 are welcomed.

Applications are due by June 1st. Filed under: application , Autism , dup15q , featured , fellowship , grant. Click here to learn more. Filed under: Autism , brain , featured. In fact, there are different types of genetic influences in autism. A new […]. Filed under: Autism , featured , Genetics , mutation. There is a great recap on Spectrum click here. If not, see below anyway to learn about the great work ASF grantees and fellows are […]. Historically, the communication between medical professionals and […]. Given that they provide insight on diagnosis, needs and access to services, it is kind of important to talk to them, and a study out this week in the journal Autism […].

Filed under: Autism , Diagnosis , exposure , featured , services. While the study cannot prove cause-and-effect, the researchers have discovered a link here. Click here to read more. Filed under: Autism , featured , risk , smoking. Alycia Halladay summarizes some new studies looking at autism traits and autism diagnosis in girls with anorexia nervosa. While the two disorders may seem different at the outset, they do share some behavioral features.

Unfortunately, most studies look at autism in those with anorexia, not the other way around. However, […]. Filed under: anorexia , Autism , featured , symptoms. As always, good news and bad news in autism this week. First the good news: an intervention given between months of age in children with a high probability of having an autism diagnosis improved autism symptoms at 3 years of age.

Now the bad: mothers who experience severe childhood abuse are more likely to […]. Filed under: Autism , featured , intervention. Last week CNN. While the study was interesting, the authors were the first to acknowledge the limitations; however, this did not stop the media from misrepresenting the results. Details are explained […]. Filed under: Autism , featured. Alycia Halladay summarizes what was presented. Click here to listen!

Filed under: Autism , featured , learning. The study claims a higher rate of drowning and other accidental deaths in people with autism, which is true, but the magnitude of the effect they found was astronomical and misleading given the methodology. Filed under: Autism , featured , mortality , swimming. Geri Dawson, the president of the International Society for Autism Research, points out how important funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is for families affected with autism.

Click here to read. Filed under: Autism , featured , funding. An op-ed by Dr. Since then, questions about a purported connection between autism and vaccines […]. Filed under: Autism , environmental , featured , Vaccines. Mark Zylka presents recent data from his lab using animal models with genetic modifications to understand how common environmental factors we might be exposed to affect genetic expression.

Valerie Hu from George Washington University comments and provides perspective from her work on a gene involved […]. Filed under: Autism , Environment , Epigenetics , featured. Filed under: Autism , featured , workshop. The press release can be found here. Also, those with more of a specific type of mutation, copy number variations, had worse autism symptoms. Filed under: Autism , Environment , featured , Genetics. The brain is developing even after birth. This week, a group from the University of London, Duke University, and University of Washington measured brain activity during tasks that required social attention following two […].

Autism in the News - Autism Science Foundation

Filed under: Autism , biomarker , Early Intervention , featured. Last month, UC Davis researcher Dr. Consistent with other studies on this topic, males and females do not show differences in the rates of autism genes, but rather in the way that the […]. Filed under: Autism , brain , featured , herpes.

While red flags for autism can be seen early, a diagnosis of autism is not typically made until after 24 months of age. Using a baby sibling research design, scientists showed […]. Filed under: autismr , featured , infant , research , Siblings. Researchers studying infants at risk for autism, or baby siblings, have found that the brain changes before symptoms develop. The findings may improve diagnosis and early intervention therapies.

Filed under: Autism , baby sibling , featured. This week two studies which examined infants and younger children that will significantly advance understanding of causes and services for people with autism were published. After a commentary about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, the study that used a practical methodology to improve autism screening in pediatrics clinic from researchers at Duke University was presented. Filed under: Autism , Diagnosis , featured , pregnancy. Individual research studies are great.

But even better is when someone takes these studies and puts them together to see if one study shows the same thing another does, and if they do, then is the effect size consistent? Sometimes you can only do this by going old school and pooling the data from the […]. Filed under: Autism , featured , research , science. As an international society, it would be inappropriate to hold the largest annual meeting on autism research in any country that restricts access […].

With hundreds of genes, thousands of environmental factors, and now sex being variables in determining risk for autism, where should science start? Over the decades researchers have been able to start narrowing down the combinations based on specific behaviors of interest, genes, and mechanisms which may narrow down which gene, which environmental factor and which […]. Filed under: Autism , environments , featured , genes , Genetics , sex. Several efforts to not just understand the abilities and disabilities of this group started a few years ago and we are just starting to hear about what works and what […].

Filed under: Autism , featured , Language , research. Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Alycia Halladay highlights a Supreme Court case which affects how those with special needs are fighting for justice and equality. Also, over the holidays, Dr. Connor Kerns from […]. Filed under: anxiety , Autism , Diagnosis , featured. Today, Robert F.

Kennedy, Jr. Trump has asked him to lead a new commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. Filed under: Autism , featured , Vaccines. Over the holiday break, the largest study so far including the most number of countries analyzed the risk of having a Caesarean section and autism.

So what is going on? Filed under: Autism , c-section , featured. For decades, the autism community has known that autism affects […]. There is an ongoing debate about why people with autism avoid eye contact. Many scientists also feel that avoiding eye contact snowballs over the […]. Filed under: Autism , eye contact , featured. A gene that controls electrical activity in the brain, SCN2A, has been linked to autism for awhile.

This may put it into the category of the rare mutations that have a major contribution […].


Filed under: Autism , Epilepsy , featured , seizures. ASF fellow Dr.


Donna Werling reviews the evidence around why females with autism are not diagnosed as often. It includes susceptibility in males, resilience in females, hormonal influences, camoflauging and role of IQ. Filed under: Autism , Diagnosis , featured. Biomarkers can help distinguish different types of features, but this past week they were used to predict who would respond to Pivotal Response Training, or PRT. Researchers, led by Dr. Pam Ventola at the Yale Child Study Center, looked at how the brain responded to a social or non-social situation as well as baseline features […]. Filed under: Autism , Biomarkers , featured , personalized medicine.

On early Wednesday morning, the United States woke up to the news that the new president was Donald Trump. Filed under: Autism , featured , healthcare , policy , presidency. On a previous podcast, studies on the way the oxytocin receptor was turned on and off were explained, which may account for variability in treatment response.

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  • This week, two studies in Japan show that specific mutations in the oxytocin […]. Filed under: Autism , featured , Genetics , Oxytocin , precision medicine. How long do you have to study an intervention to see if it works? In the case of very early interventions, it is now clear that treatment for about […]. Filed under: Autism , Early Intervention , featured , interventions , media. New blog post by Dr. Filed under: Autism , featured , parenting. Click here to read the article and here to watch the video.

    Filed under: Autism , featured , sisters. While still rare, there are cases where an autism diagnosis is not made until adulthood. Why have these people been missed and what do they need? How did they go for so long without anyone recognizing that they needed help?

    A new study from the lab of Dr. Francesca Happe in the UK investigates the […]. Filed under: adulthood , Autism , Diagnosis , featured. In addition to risks of anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders and other psychiatric issues, people with autism and their siblings show increased risk of substance abuse issues. This information comes from a large Scandinavian registry study that included over 26, individuals with ASD.

    Alycia Halladay Ross discusses what this means for […]. You […]. Filed under: Environment , featured , services. Two studies recently add to an ever-growing body of literature around undiagnosed siblings of individuals with autism. The more we understand about the […]. Filed under: Autism , featured , Siblings. A new systematic review evaluated and organized existing scientific studies on the question of whether or not there was a relationship between air pollution and autism. After considering strengths and limitations of the body of research, the authors concluded that there is limited evidence between exposure to air pollution as a whole and ASD diagnosis.

    Released September 15, , this new report on CNN highlights the importance of brain donation and brain tissue research. To learn more about the Autism BrainNet, click here. Kristen Lyall from Drexel University showed […]. Recently, the practice of Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, has come under fire in the autism blogosphere for being abusive and manipulative with the purpose of mind control. Instead of defending the practice, or pointing out the factual errors in recent articles, ASF realized the most productive way to address some of the issues is […]. It includes what are the important points of an abstract, where to get the summary points, and how to get access to the journal articles if you are This is called the broader autism phenotype.

    Sometimes they also show emotional and behavior problems, ADHD, tic disorder and an autism diagnosis. Adult self-advocates are shifting the focus to goals of independent work and living. Children with disabilities or chronic medical conditions, including autism and muscular dystrophy, have grown up […]. Filed under: advocacy , Autism , featured , parent. Our summer intern, Priyanka Shah, describes the risk factors and treatments for aggression.

    Although not a core symptom of autism, aggression can affect the development of social relationships. Studies show that aggression increases stress in parents and teachers more than other […]. Filed under: aggression , Autism , featured , intern , risk factor , Treatment. IGF stands for Insulin Growth Factor and is essential for generation of new neurons, and shaping and health of existing neurons. Patients with autism spectrum disorder are already starting to be treated with IGF-1, […]. Apply for a Fellowship. Bridget Taylor is the […].

    Filed under: family members , featured , high risk , infant , Siblings. Recently, a new instrument was developed to look at improvements in social — communication in autism. This the […]. Filed under: Biomarkers , featured , interventions , outcomes , Treatments. The new plan will cover research, services and policy issues related to the 7 Questions covered in the IACC […]. Researchers are looking for biochemical differences in two similar developmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fragile X Syndrome.

    To do this, they compared brain tissue of affected brains with typical ones and looked for varying levels of a specific protein. She will review data on use of genetics in humans and animals to study the causes of sex differences, and highlight ASF funding in moving forward on this topic. It is a great way to learn more […]. Filed under: biology , Donna Werling , featured , fellowship , Genetics , sex differences.

    In a recent study published in Nature, Dr. Shannon Ellis looks past the sequence of genes and uses gene expression profiling to understand the similarities between autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Using brain tissue from people affected with these disorders provided through the Autism BrainNet, she demonstrates a common decrease in gene expression relating to […].

    Filed under: autism brainnet , brain , gene expression , neurodevelopment , Schizophrenia. Last week, over autism researchers convened in Baltimore, Maryland for the largest meeting in the world dedicated to sharing the latest information in autism research. The topics ranged from causes genetic and environmental to interventions in real-world settings to […]. Christopher Gregg from University of Utah describes genomic imprinting.

    This is an epigenetic process where in certain genes, one copy inherited from either the mother or the father is silenced, so only the other is expressed. Imprinting is […]. Filed under: Environment , Epigenetics , featured , imprinting , webinar. In a new study published JAMA Pediatrics yesterday examined psychiatric records of siblings of people with autism living in Finland. The project is now open to all families. To read more, and to participate, go to www. The podcast also includes pictures from the day in the video portion. Filed under: Animal Models , anxiety , Day of Learning , featured , females , recurrence , resilience , speakers , stress , translational.

    The genetics of autism is complicated. So scientists are taking a new approach. Filed under: Autism , baby siblings , discovery , Early Intervention , featured , Genetics , translation. The findings, they say, represent a significant advance in efforts to unravel the genetic basis of autism […]. Filed under: Autism , diversity , featured , fellow , Genetics , variation. Studies of very early signs of autism has led to better recognition of early signs and driven earlier and earlier interventions.

    These interventions have improved the lives of people with autism. These early autism symptoms are seen before a diagnosis can be made. Filed under: Autism , Baby Sibs , early autism , featured , future. Recently, electronic communication devices like the iPad have revolutionized the way that people communicate, but little research has been done on how and if they […]. Filed under: featured , intervention , iPad , Language , podcast. This month, the presentations were given by Dr. Rett Syndrome is characterized by a regression in symptoms around months of age but is the result of a known genetic mutation.

    Because the genetic mutation […]. Filed under: brain , featured , neuron , regression , Rett Syndrome. Universal early screening for autism is highly effective in identifying children who have autism, and early intervention is critical to ensure optimal outcomes for children with autism. In addition to identifying challenges between the perspectives between employees and employers on the purpose of job supports, new methods to increase and maintain employment of people […].

    Empathizing–systemizing theory

    Filed under: employment , featured , instruction , Perception , supportive , vocational training. Dana Dolinoy from U. Michigan and Carol Yauk from Health Canad will both explain how the environment could influence genetic risk factors […]. Filed under: Environment , epigenetic , featured , webinar. This is in stark contrast to findings in boys. Together with other data, the authors conclude that this early social behavior […]. Filed under: featured , female protective effect , gender differences , pediatricians , pediatrics.

    Filed under: featured , Genetics , monkey , obesity , SRS. Researchers from Center for Autism and the Developing Brain and UCSF drilled down to distinguish different types of social communication and which were most specific to autism. Using […]. One of these mutations is in a gene that is known to be affected by different environmental factors.

    Scientists are using this data to help understand […]. Filed under: environmental , featured , genes , genetic. Many people wonder why researchers study recognition of facial expression in people with ASD. Not only is it a core symptom, it has consequences for daily functioning. A set of two studies from […]. Just last week, for example, the CDC reported a 5-month decrease in the age that children are first being evaluated for autism, which means families are learning the signs, acting earlier, and, hopefully, starting early intervention services earlier.

    In , we changed the way we think about females with autism, gained a better understanding of the underlying genetic causes of autism, and made important progress in both behavioral and medical interventions. Filed under: Autism Research , featured. Low melatonin excretion was observed in autism, both at daytime, nighttime, and during 24h collection. Nocturnal excretion of melatonin was negatively correlated with autism severity in the overall level of verbal language, imitative social play, and repetitive use of objects.

    Most patients with PCDH19 mutations exhibit a distinctive electroclinical pattern of focal seizures with affective symptoms, suggesting an epileptogenic dysfunction involving the frontotemporal limbic system. Awareness of this distinctive phenotype will likely enhance recognition of this disorder. Filed under: Epilepsy , Genetics , Protein. The National Institute of Mental Health NIMH has signed an agreement to establish a collaborative, nationwide effort for the collection, storage, and distribution of postmortem human brain tissue for the benefit of autism research.

    NIH Press Release. Filed under: Autism , biomedical research , featured. What is the real prevalence of autism? It depends on how you ask the question. But however it is asked, the answer is too high. Additionally, those with autism are entering the educational system where interventions are built in an "ivory tower. Filed under: Autism , featured , Prevalence. This week saw two new studies on the love hormone called oxytocin.

    The results are mild and focused on one type of symptom, but exciting and promising nonetheless.