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June 3, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Hyperactive brain cells firing together could be an early indicator of autism and developmental disabilities, a team of UCLA researchers has found. Networks of neurons were found to be firing in a highly synchronized and seemingly unrelenting fashion, even through sleep, in the brains of juvenile mice that have a genetic abnormality similar to one that causes mental retardation and autism symptoms in humans, according to the research published online Monday in Nature Neuroscience.
May 5, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Children conceived in winter are more likely to develop autism than those conceived in other months of the year, according to a study of more than 7 million births in California. The findings suggest that at least some cases of the disorder may be linked to infectious diseases or other environmental facts, say researchers from UC Davis who conducted the study. Epidemiologist Irva Hertz-Picciotto, graduate student Ousseny Zerbo and their colleagues studied birth records of more than 7.2 million children born in California from 1990 to 2002.
May 31, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
How an autistic baby's brain fires up in response to words at 2 years of age may predict how well that child will learn language and even think and behave later in life, a new study shows. The research, published this week in the online journal PLOS One, suggests that a “social gateway” based in the brain impedes not only early language processing, but a broader spectrum of cognitive development, including the ability to adapt behavior to circumstances, according to Patricia Kuhl, who studies early language and brain development at the University of Washington's Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences.
August 7, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Different genes may be responsible for causing autism in boys than in girls, researchers said last week, a finding that may help explain why the condition is more common in boys. And, writing in the journal Molecular Genetics, they said other genes might play a role in the early onset and late onset forms of autism.
January 11, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Researchers at 11 universities will create a databank of DNA samples from 3,000 autism patients in an effort to identify different kinds of autism and develop treatments. The University of Michigan will lead the three-year, $10-million effort funded by the Simons Foundation, the school announced this week. The New York philanthropic group aims to spend $100 million long-term to find a cure for the disorder that affects one in 200 children.
June 15, 2003
Re "Brother's Wish to Help His Sister Is Winning Formula in Essay Contest," June 11: Daniel Boyce has accomplished a great deal toward curing one of the most serious aspects of autism. His story and the picture of him with his beautiful sister Suzie will go a long way to dispel the erroneous notion that persons with autism are not capable of affection or family relationships. Theresa DeBell Beverly Hills
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
French scientists have identified genetic mutations in a small number of children with autism that could provide insight into the biological basis of the disorder. They sequenced a gene called SHANK3 in more than 200 people with autism spectrum disorders, which include autism, and found mutations in the gene in members of three families, according to the report in the journal Nature Genetics.
February 27, 2009
Re "A dose of reality on autism," editorial, Feb. 25 The court decision that additives in the measles vaccine do not cause autism may not be the final word on the issue. As history has shown, officials tend to downplay beliefs of parents or other nonprofessionals. But parents have brought needed attention to this important issue, and the demand now should be that government and the pharmaceutical industry dedicate adequate resources to the discovery of any and all possible environmental causes for autism.
June 21, 2010 | By Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Though the causes of autism are unclear, and many researchers believe that environmental factors play some kind of role, they are sure of one thing: Genes are strongly involved. Scientists once harbored hopes that autism might be linked to a handful of genetic mutations that would clearly explain why someone develops it. But the genetic roots of autism (known these days as autism spectrum disorders because behaviors and severity differ widely) are proving much trickier to untangle than anticipated . One problem is that the number of people in most studies has been limited; another is that the small tweaks in genes that scientists have linked to autism so far are very rare in the human population.
January 12, 2008
Re "Research can't link autism, mercury," Jan. 8 As a speech and language pathologist, I have worked with many families whose children had autism. A child's limited ability to interact and use language appropriately is a difficult aspect of the disorder. Studies continue to show that vaccines are not to blame for autism. Unfortunately, with human research it is impossible to factor everything involved, but focusing on the effect of one thing at a time has not found the culprit. Perhaps we should be looking at something different.
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