As autism rates rise, so do health care costs for the disorder. Despite federal programs, some children with autism are falling through the cracks in the health care system.
From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.
Accounting for gender increases the power of family-wide studies linking genetic mutations with autism, according to a study published in December in Molecular Psychiatry. The researchers use this approach to identify two candidate genes for the disorder.
Using tricks of genetic engineering, researchers in Taiwan have created the first comprehensive map of the myriad neuronal connections in the fruit fly brain. The findings appeared 11 January in Current Biology.
Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists. The assumption underlying the use of high IQ as a synonym for high functioning is suspect because social and communicative abilities may have a far greater impact on an individual’s daily interactions.
Over the next five years, dozens of researchers funded by the $40 million ‘NIH Human Connectome Project’ will map the circuits of the human brain, tracing neural pathways and learning how different regions work together in synchrony.