Autism Research: June 27, 2014 Week in Review

ResearchAutism causes driving difficulties, study reveals

A new study published by researchers from the Drexel University has for the first time studied the difficulties faced by adults diagnosed with autism in driving and the perception of the ability of driving. The study led by Brian Daly was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders this week and is unique in its subject as well as approach. The study was the first of its kind to study the problems faced by real people in their real world, their experiences driving, difficulties faced in procuring a license and driving behaviours. the study involved 78 adults with ASD whose answer were compared to 94 non-ASD adults. They found that adults with ASD avoided highways and night driving and reported to have more traffic rules violations compared to their typical peers. the study throws light on how small neurocognitive abilities like driving that come easily to typical adults might pose a challenge on the path to independence for those with autism.


Pesticides associated with autism in yet another study

In a series of researches that have trying to identify the association between expectant moms being exposed to agricultural pesticides, one more study has pointed the finger at the pesticides. A new research conducted by the UC Davis MIND Institute found that expectant mothers residing closer to farms being sprayed with chemical pesticides had a 2/3rd higher risk of giving birth to a child with a developmental delay or autism spectrum disorder as compared to other pregnant mothers. the study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives this week and was led by researcher Janie Shelton. The study drives home the necessity of pregnant mothers steering clear from pesticide exposure in all possible ways to prevent undue and unexpected harm to their expected child.

Asperger Syndrome adults have higher chances of suicidal ideation, study investigates

The Lancet Psychiatry ran a research finding this week conducted by researchers Dr. Sarah Cassidy and her team from the Autism Research Center at the prestigious Cambridge University, UK. The study found the adults with Asperger syndrome were 9 times more prone to have suicidal thoughts than others from a general UK participant study. Studying 374 adults with Asperger Syndrome, the higher suicidal ideation is a cause for worry for the family members of those with the condition.  Prof. Baron Cohen said that adults suffering from Asperger Syndrome often have secondary depression, social exclusion and loneliness which might be the reason for the suicidal thoughts.


Promising drug discovered for Rett Syndrome

The world renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified that a certain growth factors termed IGF1 has shown promise to become a potential drug in the treatment of Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is one of the leading causes for autism spectrum disorders leading to physical deformities, autism and even mental retardation. The study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published findings of the growth factor tested on 12 kids for its efficacy under the leadership of author Mriganka Sur. The study gives hope to the families of those suffering from Rett Syndrome or are on the autism spectrum.