Autism Research: May 16, 2014 Week in Review

ResearchFathers with technical jobs at higher risk of having autistic children

A shocking new study published this week has revealed that children with fathers holding technical jobs are more likely to have autism. The study conducted by researchers from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that fathers who had technical jobs like engineering were two times more likely while those holding a finance position were at a four time higher risk of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder. The study also found that fathers working in health care related jobs were at the highest, six times, risk of having a child with an ASD. No such association was found between the occupation of the mother and autism risk in child.

The findings were presented this Friday at Atlanta at the International Meeting for Autism Research. First author Aisha Dickerson also said that parents were both the father and mother had technical jobs were at a greater risk of having a child with a more severe variant of autism. The study coupes up the three of the top ten most well-paying professions in the world, leaving parents and children worried alike.

Stimulated training helps autistic adults crack interviews

We all know how important making a great first impression is when giving a job interview. However, autistic adults are at a disadvantage here because of lack of social interaction skills and poor communications. Scientists have developed an interactive new software meant to train humans with neuropsychiatric conditions learn to communicate better. The software not only trains the person how to talk about themselves better but also stimulates them to sound enthusiastic and interested in the job so as to sound a better team player and a hard worker. The study was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders by Matthew Smith and his team which was a collaboration between Northwestern Medicine, Prof Morris Bell from Yale Medical School and SIMmersion LLC.

Autism-related protein found to play vital role in addiction-related behaviors

A new paper published by investigators from the McLean Hospital has found that a particular gene, FMRP, which has been associated with autism spectrum disorders in the past also plays a significant role in behaviors associated with addiction. The paper published in the prestigious journal Neuron found that FMRP, the gene responsible for Fragile X syndrome of autism was also used by cocaine and possibly even other narcotics in altering brain cells to develop addictions. The researchers from Harvard Medical School hope to find the exact molecular mechanisms behind these and hopefully develop therapies to attend to both autism and addictions.

Protein controlling DNA structure during sperm growth identified

Prof. Alea Mills and her team of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have identified a protein Chd5 that affects DNA packaging into sperms. Published in Nature Communications the study that defects in presence of Chd5 damaged the double helical structure of DNA that lead to defective sperms which lead to male infertility. When these defective sperms did manage to fertilize an egg they tend to pass on mutations that lead to cancer, autism, etc. The study could lead to immense future research and therapies based on gene remodeling to prevent or treat these conditions.

Neonatal jaundice and the risk of autism

Autism Daily Newscast reported earlier this week that research by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues* based in Taiwan adds to other research pointing to a potentially increased risk of autism when jaundice appears at birth. Details on the possible mechanism(s) through which jaundice may confer a greater susceptibility to being diagnosed on the autism spectrum remain elusive.

Study finds that adults with autism at risk of having multiple health problems

Autism Daily Newscast reported briefly today about a study to be presented in Atlanta at the International Meeting for Autism has found adults with autism are at a higher risk from additional health problems which depression, obesity and high blood pressure.