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Top Stories 2 Sept 2015

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Expert Available: Cutting-Edge Molecular Diagnostic Tests Provide Benefit for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are not completely understood neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed solely on the basis of behavioral assessments of social, communicative and repetitive symptoms. Though behaviorally distinctive and reliably identified by experienced clinicians, ASD is clinically and genetically extremely diverse, affecting each patient differently. Efforts to identify subsets of patients with similar outcomes and chances of recurrence has been difficult, said Judith Miles, M.D., P.h.D., a University of Missouri child health physician and researcher specializing in medical genetics, in an invited editorial published Sept.1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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Newer Genetic Testing Methods May Provide Benefit For Children With Suspected Autism

The use of two newer genetic testing technologies (chromosomal microarray analysis and whole-exome sequencing) among children with autism spectrum disorder may help identify genetic mutations potentially linked to the disorder, according to a study in the September 1 issue of JAMA. The study also found that children with certain physical anomalies were more likely to have genetic mutations, findings that may help identify children who could benefit most from genetic testing.

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Transforming Behavioral Therapy with Technology

Using computer vision, signal processing and privacy protection, University of Kentucky doctoral student Nkiruka Uzuegbunam, along with electrical and computer engineering Associate Professor Sen-ching Samson Cheung, have developed "MEBook," a combination of a social narrative and gaming system that psychologists and parents can use as behavioral therapies for autistic children.

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Receptors in Brain Linked to Schizophrenia, Autism

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Mice lacking a set of receptors in one type of neuron in the brain developed compulsive, anti-social behaviors, Salk scientists found

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Psychologists Develop First Adult Self-Assessment for Repetitive Behaviours in Autism

Psychologists from Cardiff University have developed the first self-assessment test designed to help clinicians diagnose autism in adults.

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UNC Scientists Pinpoint How a Single Genetic Mutation Causes Autism

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Last December, researchers identified more than 1,000 gene mutations in individuals with autism, but how these mutations increased risk for autism was unclear. Now, UNC researchers are the first to show how one of these mutations disables a molecular switch in one of these genes to cause autism.

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Young Adults with Autism Show Improved Social Function Following UCLA Skills Program

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A wealth of programs target autistic kids. But what about when they grow up? UCLA's Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills is the only evidence-based approach to teaching social skills to young adults with autism.

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Study May Show a Way to Predict Whether Children with a Genetic Disorder Will Develop Autism or Psychosis

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Findings are the first to shed light on the genetic differences between DiGeorge syndrome patients with autism and those with psychosis.

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Research Links Premature Birth to Withdrawn Personality

New research indicates that adults born very premature are more likely to be socially withdrawn and display signs of autism.

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Scripps Florida Scientists Pinpoint Mechanism for Altered Pattern of Brain Growth in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered how mutations in a specific autism risk gene alter the basic trajectory of early brain development in animal models.

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Clinical Trial Finds Lower-Intensity Treatment as Effective as High-Intensity for Children with High-Functioning Autism

Researchers at the Institute for Autism Research at Canisius College have found that reducing the intensity of their comprehensive summer treatment (summerMAX) yielded improvements for high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) that were comparable to the original high-intensity program.

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MRI Studies Point to Brain Connectivity Changes in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques are beginning to reveal differences in brain connectivity—the ways that different parts of the brain are connected to each other and work together—in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), reports a review in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

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Johns Hopkins Expert Available to Discuss New Autism Database

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Exercise for Arthritis, Summer Weight Loss, ACA and Lower Drug Costs, and More Top Stories 8 July 2015

Other topics include autism research, biofuel sources, nutrition supplements, and more...

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Preemies at High Risk of Autism Don’t Show Typical Signs of Disorder in Early Infancy

Premature babies are at an increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorder. But a small study indicates that preemies who avoid eye contact in early infancy are less likely to demonstrate symptoms of autism at age 2 than preemies who maintain eye contact during early interactions, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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Small RNAs Found to Play Important Roles in Memory Formation

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Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have found that a type of genetic material called “microRNA” plays surprisingly different roles in the formation of memory in animal models. In some cases, these RNAs increase memory, while others decrease it.

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Autistic Children Improved Reading and Brain Activity After 10-Week Reading Intervention

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Ten weeks of intensive reading intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder was enough to strengthen the activity of loosely connected areas of their brains that work together to comprehend reading, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found.

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Clinical Trial Launched to Assess Safety and Efficacy of Autism Drug Treatment

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of an unprecedented drug therapy for autism.

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Fragile X Proteins Involved in Proper Neuron Development

Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited intellectual disability and the greatest single genetic contributor to autism. Unlocking the mechanisms behind fragile X could make important revelations about the brain. In a new study published June 4 in the journal Cell Reports, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center and Department of Neuroscience show that two proteins implicated in fragile X play a crucial role in the proper development of neurons in mice.