In 2003, Stephane Jamain and his colleagues reached a breakthrough by taking a candidate approach to the X chromosome, and linking members of the neuroligin protein family to autism.
Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.
It took 50 years for scientists to develop instruments reliable enough to be considered the gold standards for diagnosing autism. Autism has always been around, but it was not until the mid-1940s that Leo Kanner in the United States and Hans Asperger in Austria, both physicians, independently described children with what we now recognize as autism.
Autism is caused by poor parenting, particularly by ‘frigid’ mothers who reject their children. Such a statement would seem bizarre today. But 30 years ago parents, especially mothers, were blamed for their childrenʼs autism. But then in 1977, one study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, single-handedly turned the field around to recognize the importance of genetics.
Donald T. was not like other 5-year-old boys. Leo Kanner knew that the moment he read the 33-page letter from Donaldʼs father that described the boy in obsessive detail as “happiest when he was alone… drawing into a shell and living within himself… oblivious to everything around him.”