Autism Research: July 28 2013 Week in Review

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

Mercurial fish and autism not related, 30 year long study reveals

A 30- year long study conducted by the Republic of Seychelles reported that there was no link between autism-like disorders and prenatal exposure to mercury. The study published in the journal Epidemiology on 23rd July evaluated 1784 children, youth and mothers.

The researchers evaluated hair samples of mothers before delivery of their children for the amount of mercury, which is the standard method to quantify mercury exposure. The team then evaluated autism-like responses of the children of these mothers using questionnaires for both the mother and child. The data revealed no association between the levels of mercury in pregnant mothers and autism-spectrum behaviour in the children. Despite above average consumption of fish in the Seychelles and prenatal maternal mercury levels averaging 6-10 times more than those in Europe or USA, the good effects of consuming fish during pregnancy probably outweighed the high mercury levels said Philip Davidson, lead investigator.

Being an island country, Seychelles has the advantage of a population whose chief source of food is the ocean. Thus, if the population here wasn’t affected by the mercurial fish, then it’s highly likely that it doesn’t affect anyone, anywhere.

Breakthrough nasal balm to help people with ASD deal with malodour

A novel nasal balm produced by the Olfactory Biosciences Corp, Philadelphia has been launched this 22nd and it claims to help people with ASD beat bad odour. Instead of targeting the source of bad odour, this product aims at calming the nasal smell receptors directly blocking it from sending signals to the brain and preventing retching, nausea associated with offensive smells.

The all-natural product, NOXO Autism Aid, claims to help pacify autistic children too, by use of essential scents that reach the brain directly on application in the nose. The scents transfer signals of calmness to the part of brain where emotion control take place making the kids relaxed, quieter and happier. The product contains phytochemicals sourced directly from plants, roots, flowers etc and is already available widely off the shelf.

SynapDx gathers $15.4 M to fund blood test for autism

Massachusetts-based SynapDx has managed to raise a whopping $15.4 million to develop a simple blood test that can detect autism. The test will be able to detect children of just 19 months with autism rather than the 4.5 years average currently.

The money will help furthering research in identification of the genetic mutations that take place leading to autism. This blood test, if and when it is available to the public, will be probably the most advanced and informational blood test ever possible, Krishna Yeshwant, Google Ventures partner said.

 Keeping jobs, a toughie for people with autism

A study published in Research in Developmental Disabilities reported that a person with autism was 6 times more likely to get a job if they lived alone or with partners than with a group or family. Also, those living with family were twice more likely to get a job than those staying at group houses. The same held true for staying at the job beyond six months.

The researchers recommended career support and counselling for youth with autism before and during their job hunt.