An altered immune system can cause autism-like behaviors, suggests a study published 31 July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that a bone marrow transplant, which restores the animals’ immune system, alleviates their anxiety and repetitive behavior.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Experiencing a stressful event during pregnancy does not increase the risk of having a child with autism, according to an epidemiological study published 13 June in PLoS One.
Offspring born to pregnant rats with an activated immune system emit more distress calls when they receive electrical shocks than do controls, according to a study published 9 June in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
An untreated fever during pregnancy more than doubles the risk that the child will develop autism, according to a study published 5 May in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
By studying pregnant women who already have a child with autism, researchers hope to understand how epigenetic changes — those that affect gene expression but don’t directly alter DNA — during pregnancy influences risk of the disorder.
Individuals with autism may belong to one of four groups with discrete sets of symptoms, the most distinct of which includes immune system abnormalities accompanied by sleep problems and sensory sensitivity. The results were published in the April issue of Autism Research.