Autism Research: May 1, 2015 Week in Review

ResearchDiagnosis age differs for girls and boys in autism

A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics this week has found out that the age at which the diagnosis of autism is made differs for the fairer sex. The study headed by Paul Lipkin of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore found that girls got diagnosed much later compared to boys possibly due to the mildness of symptoms exhibited. The findings were presented on 28 April at San Diego at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting. The researchers used the national registry having data of almost 50,000 individuals and their families. In general girls were diagnosed at an average age of 4 years as compared to boys who got diagnosed at about 3.8 years. Increasing awareness about this situation can help improve suspicion and diagnosis for girls.

Journal Reference: Biyuan Chen, Alison R. Marvin, Paul H. Lipkin. Gender Differences in Diagnosis and Social Characteristics of Children With Autism (ASD) from a US Registry. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015, April 28). To view the study abstract, go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS15L1_4545.2

Obesity in moms tied to ADHD, etc.

A study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of US has found that expecting moms who were morbidly obese prior to pregnancy had higher chances of having kids with emotional, behavioral problems and developmental delays, ADHD, etc. Although, the study did not conclude that obesity was a cause to this effect, but exercising caution in controlling weight might be the wiser way to go. Lead epidemiologist Laura Schieve said that although there was a clear association between being obese and having kids with developmental outcomes, they could not conclusively blame obesity for the same. They hypothesized that due to obesity, the higher chances of diabetes, hypertension and other morbidities is what probably lead to atypical developmental issues in the children.

Journal reference: Jo H, Schieve LA, Sharma AJ, Hinkle SN, Li R, Lind JN. Maternal prepregnancy body mass index and child psychosocial development at 6 years of age. : Pediatrics. 2015 May;135(5):e1198-209. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3058.

Fragile X carriers potentially treatable in future

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine lead by Azad Bonni have discovered that knocking off the interaction between a vital brain protein Cdh1-APC and the fragile X protein can help make more of the Cdh1-APC protein available to the brain for shaping memory and learning. The findings have been published this week in the journal Neuron and the researchers are hopeful that with some more research, they will be able to find a way to overcome this interaction caused by the mutation in the FMR1 gene that leads to the fragile x syndrome.

Journal Reference: Ju Huang, Yoshiho Ikeuchi, Marcos Malumbres, Azad Bonni. A Cdh1-APC/FMRP Ubiquitin Signaling Link Drives mGluR-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity in the Mammalian Brain. Neuron, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.049

Autism parents use video games more happily compared to typical peer parents

While most parents struggle to find ways to disconnect their kids from video games, parents of kids on the spectrum embrace the use of video games quite happily. Researchers have found in the past that video games can help children on the spectrum build relationships better and this fact might be the reason the parents are okay with their kids’ video gaming for hours each day. The study led by Erinn Finke was published this week in the journal Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. The researchers found that these parents felt that video gaming was a vital part of their child’s life and intended to continue it as it helped improve the child’s quality of life.

Journal reference: Finke EH, Hickerson B, McLaughlin E. Parental intention to support video game play by children with autism spectrum disorder: an application of the theory of planned behavior. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2015 Apr 1;46(2):154-65. doi: 10.1044/2015_LSHSS-13-0080.

Autism diagnosis lost but struggle continues, study finds

A new study has found that although almost 1 in every 14 kids with a diagnosis fo autism spectrum disorder no longer fulfils the criteria for the diagnosis, they continue to struggle with behavioral or emotional issues well into elementary school. the finding of the study was published at the PAS meeting this week in San Diego, authored by Lisa Shulman of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Journal reference: Lisa H. Shulman, Erin D’Agostino, Maria D. Valicenti-McDermott, et al. When an Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Resolves, What Remains? E-PAS2015:2750.2 To view the study abstract, go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS15L1_2750.2