At 6 months of age, babies who will later develop autism begin to lose some of their social skills and continue to regress until age 3, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Young mouse models of fragile X syndrome show a significant lag in the development of synapses, the connections between neurons, according to a study published in Neuron. The findings suggest that a similar mistiming may be responsible for the sensory problems — such as hypersensitivity to touch and sound — sometimes seen in people with fragile X syndrome.
Scientists have unveiled the first two comprehensive maps of the human epigenome, the set of chemical changes that affect gene expression without altering the underlying DNA code. Pinpointing epigenetic differences between healthy and diseased cells could reveal the roots of many conditions, including autism.
The ability to recognize faces and interpret facial expressions is programmed partly by genes and inherited separately from other traits, according to three independent studies published this year.
The proposed connection between premature birth and autism may be more complicated than it seems, according to a new report. Early birth may not cause classically defined autism but, rather, may predispose children to autism-like symptoms that are part of a larger syndrome, the researchers say.
Researchers have found a higher density of several types of interneurons — nerve cells that connect sensory and motor neurons in the brain— in postmortem brain tissue from individuals with autism, compared with healthy controls. The findings appear in the February issue of Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.
Several genetic and animal studies in the past year have found intriguing ties between autism and DISC1, one of the oldest candidate genes for psychiatric disorders.
When thinking about themselves, adults with autism have lower activity in two specific brain regions than do healthy controls, according to an imaging study published in the February issue of Brain.