Autism Research: September 27, 2013 Week in Review

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

Study Shows No Link between Autism and Celiac Disease

A new Swedish study published in JAMA Psychiatry on September 25, 2013 shows no evidence of a link between celiac disease and autism. The study analyzed medical records and biopsy results from over 40,000 people in Sweden who were either diagnosed with celiac disease or tested positive for celiac antibodies. These records were compared to a control group consisting of over 200,000 people with no history of celiac disease. The analysis revealed no correlation between people diagnosed with autism and celiac disease or between autism and gluten sensitivity. However, the study did show a significant positive correlation between people diagnosed with autism and people who had normal intestinal linings but a positive celiac antibody blood test

 

Gene Mutations Linked to Autism May Be Passed from Grandfather to Grandchild

A study conducted in Sweden shows a significant link between a grandfather’s age at the time his children were born and the development of autism in his grandchildren. Published in JAMA Psychiatry in August, 2013, the study was conducted by analyzing the data from nationwide multi-generation and patient registers in Sweden dating back to 1932. Researchers found a statistically significant association between the grandfather’s age at the time of the birth of the parent, and a grandchild’s risk of developing autism. This result was found to be independent of the parents’ ages at the time of birth. The study also found a significant correlation between the age of the father at the time of birth and a child’s risk of developing autism, with the highest risk observed after age 50. No correlation was found between the age of the mother or grandmother and a child’s risk of developing autism.

 

 Research Based Training Program Focuses on Early Intervention for Children with Autism 

Two Georgia based agencies are teaming up to provide training to early childhood workers on how to recognize the signs of autism. The Marcus Autism Center, a division of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning are working together to provide training to workers in child care centers and pre-kindergarten programs on how to identify symptoms and provide intervention to children with autism. The program is based on research that shows that children with autism benefit the most from intervention if it is started before the age of 3 and provided and intensive levels of 25 hours per week or more. The training will allow workers to identify the red flags associated with autism, share concerns regarding the children with parents, and develop lesson plans that are specific to a child’s needs.

 

Gene Duplication Disorder Shares Pattern with Autism

A new, unpublished study conducted by researchers led by Daniel Geschwind at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed that people who have duplication of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region have the same genetic pattern in the brain as people with autism. The study analyzed post mortem brain tissue from 8 people with 15q11-13 duplications, 37 people with idiopathic autism, and 30 control people. The study showed that people with 15q11-13 gene duplications display the same gene expression patterns as people with autism. The genes that appear to be affected in both people with autism and people with 15q11-13 duplication include multiple genes that relate to the synapses between neurons in the brain.