In popular culture — from the TV show
to high-traffic health blogs — I’ve noticed more and more stories about the domestic difficulties that come from raising a child with autism, particularly the emotional and financial toll it takes on parents.
Diagnosing autism is an evolving science but a crucial first step to understanding the disorder.
Changes in diagnostic practices, more active neighborhood networks, and an increase in the number of older parents may all contribute to the massive rates of autism in California, says a group of social scientists. But the numbers still don’t add up.
The Autism Birth Cohort, based on data from 100,000 Norwegian children and their families, aims to uncover genetic and environmental factors contributing to the disorder.
An imaging study widely interpreted as heralding a diagnostic brain scan for autism is more preliminary than popular media reports would indicate, according to experts familiar with the work.
Toddlers who abruptly lose language, social or other developmental skills are more likely to have severe autism a few years later compared with children who have consistent delays from an early age. That’s the conclusion of the largest study thus far of autism onset patterns, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Autism and intellectual disability often occur together, but in most cases that overlap is not genetic, according to a study of twin pairs published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Unraveling this link might help researchers pinpoint brain circuits involved in both conditions, and better understand the diversity of symptoms in the autism spectrum, experts say.
A region of the brain that controls language is more extensively curved in children with autism than in those with Asperger syndrome, according to a study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. The findings offer preliminary biological evidence that Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum, is distinct from high-functioning autism.
Individuals carrying an extra copy of the genetic region that’s missing in Williams syndrome — which causes mental retardation and a hyper-friendly personality — have language impairments and other autism-like social difficulties, according to a wave of new research on this duplication syndrome.