Chromosomal microarray analysis, which screens the entire genome for tiny blips in the sequence, should be the first genetic test performed when diagnosing autism, says a consortium of clinical geneticists. The recommendation comes on the heels of a study that found the test is three times more effective at spotting autism variants than are standard clinical methods.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Mirror neurons, which fire when someone either performs an action or observes it, are not defective in people with autism, scientists report today in Neuron. The findings dispute the theory that flaws in the mirror neuron system give rise to the disorder.
Astropolis, a dynamic video game, allows for the unprecedented testing of children with autism on a variety of cognitive skills, all at once, without the artificial, boring and anxiety-ridden setup of a typical psychology lab.
Studies on younger siblings of children with autism are finding that during tests of sensory or perceptual processing, these baby sibs show abnormally fast brain responses, rather than a delay.
Autism may be the result of faulty wiring that occurs during early brain development, according to two independent studies that looked at the origins of circuit disruption.
The brains of people with autism have structural abnormalities that disrupt normal connections between brain regions and impede the flow of information across the brain. That’s the conclusion of a 20-year-old theory supported by several new studies.
In the spring of 2002, as a new graduate student at the University of Washington, Raphael Bernier was charged with introducing his advisor, Geraldine Dawson, before her lecture to a room of about 40 people from the psychology department. To Dawson’s astonishment, Bernier sang his introduction to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey. “[It was] a pretty gutsy thing for a first-year student to do,” Dawson says.
Imagine being confined for at least half an hour to a dark, claustrophobic tunnel, in a machine so obnoxiously loud that it sounds like you’re in an oil drum with a jackhammer pounding on the outside. Thatʼs whatʼs involved in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an experience enough to make even the bravest among us flinch.