March 20, 2013 |
U.S. schoolchildren are being diagnosed with some form of autism at a record rate of 1 in 50, according to a new government study. That rate of 2% is based on a survey involving tens of thousands of children between the ages of 6 and 17. A similar survey in 2007 found a rate of 1.2%. Though the increase is likely to fuel speculation that an expanding environmental threat is behind the rise in autism cases, the authors said their report did not support that view. Rather, better detection appears to be driving the surge, according to the researchers, from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.
June 8, 2011 |
Autism spectrum disorders can be caused by as many as 300 or so rare genetic mutations, scientists reported Wednesday. The research strongly implicates genetics, including spontaneous gene mutations, in the development of the disorder. But why do four times as many males as females develop autism spectrum disorder? In one of the three papers published in the journal Neuron , researchers suggest that girls are more resistant to gene mutations than boys. Girls seem to require a higher number of gene mutations to become afflicted with autism spectrum disorder.
June 9, 2011 |
Autism is not caused by one or two gene defects but probably by hundreds of different mutations, many of which arise spontaneously, according to research that examined the genetic underpinnings of the disorder in more than 1,000 families. The findings, reported in three studies published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, cast autism disorders as genetically very complex, involving many potential changes in DNA that may produce, essentially, different forms of autism. The affected genes, however, appear to be part of a large network involved in controlling the development of synapses, the critical junctions between nerve cells that allow them to communicate, according to one of the three studies.
April 24, 2013 |
Pregnant women who took the anti-seizure drug valproate during pregnancy increased the odds that their baby would have autism, and were roughly twice as likely to give birth to a child who would go on to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to a large study that captured 10 years of births in Denmark. Valproate, often known by its commercial name Depakote, is widely prescribed in the treatment of epilepsy and a wide range of psychiatric conditions. It is one of a class of drugs that has been linked to a child's delayed cognitive development and to some congenital malformations.
February 6, 2014 |
A generic blood pressure drug could prevent hyperactive brain cell firing associated with early stages of autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. Injecting pregnant mice with Bumetanide, a diuretic, appears to correct a developmental switch flipped during childbirth that reverses the firing characteristics of neurons in newborns, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Bumetanide mimics the effects of oxytocin, a hormone released during labor that helps protect newborns from the stresses and complications of birth, the study found.
March 14, 2014 |
Television producer and writer Jason Katims is known for tackling emotional stories. Even his new NBC comedy, "About a Boy," deals with bullying and depression. But family challenges are most apparent in his dramas, especially "Parenthood," finishing its fifth season on NBC, for which Katims sometimes draws on his own experiences. On "Parenthood," the character Max Braverman (played by Max Burkholder) is a child struggling with the autism spectrum disorder Asperger's syndrome. As the father of a son with this developmental disorder, what has it been like to tell that story?