Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital's Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans and affects brain development and behavior. In the brain of genetically altered mice, the protein FOXP1 is not synthesized, which is also the case for individuals with a certain form of autism. Consequently, after birth the brain structures degenerate that play a key role in perception. The mice also exhibited abnormal behavior that is typical of autism. The new mouse model now allows the molecular mechanisms in which FOXP1 plays a role to be explained and the associated changes in the brain to be better understood.
This is a really interesting article. What it basically says is activities that stimulate the vestibular system (inner ear) such as swinging or bouncing increased children with autism's ability to maintain eye contact. Horse riding also of course stimulates the vestibular system. Going to look more into it. I read somewhere else that the right combination of vestibular stimulation and deep pressure keeps children more calm, organized and focused...
While most researchers agree that autism is triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, no one has been able to pinpoint the triggered neurological mechanism that ultimately results in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, new researchmayexplain this longstanding mystery.
In the study, researchers found that the brains of people with ASD had a significantly higher number of brain synapses — the information-transferring connections between brain cells — than brains of people without ASD.
As children at a very young age begin to experience the world around them, their brains produce a remarkable number of synapses to help them process their environment. The brain normally prunes any extra synapses that may lead to over-stimulation for the child, around the same age that many children with ASD begin to show symptoms of autism.
It's a common challenge for parents of children with autism: How to help their child learn to play well with other children.
A new study, funded by Autism Speaks, suggests that one key may be providing the right amount of guidance to encourage kid-directed imaginative play. The study report appears in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The researchers designed their study to measure the benefits of a program called Integrated Play Groups. Developed over the last decade by study co-author Pamela Wolfberg, the program encourages children with autism and their typically developing peers to engage in creative play of mutual interest. An adult facilitator initiates but doesn’t direct the play. This sets the program apart from more traditional, highly structured programs for teaching social skills to children with autism.
top avoiding that broccoli, especially if you or your child has autism. According to new research, a chemical in broccoli sprouts may help improve symptoms in some individuals with autism.
The substance in question is sulforaphane, which researchers say has previously been shown to reduce oxidative stress within the body. Oxidative stress is known to cause issues of inflammation and DNA damage, and individuals with autism are particularly prone to this form of stress due to biochemical abnormalities in their cells.
Children with autism often have difficulty understanding the beliefs of others. Traditional tests of this ability, called theory of mind, require children to have good enough language skills to understand what they’re being asked to do.
That means the tests can’t reliably assess theory of mind in children with language impairments or intellectual disability, both of which are common among individuals with autism. A new study, published 24 September inAutism Research, suggests that swapping these language-based tasks for a ‘penny-hiding game’ can help researchers assess theory of mind in these children.
The traditional test for theory of mindis a ‘false-belief task.’ This task often involves telling a child a story about two characters named Sally and Ann who put a toy into a basket. When Sally leaves the room, Ann hides the toy in a box. The child passes the test by reasoning that Sally will look for the toy in the basket when she returns.
Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers. A third whistleblower, this one a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, also promises to bring Merck grief following his confession of misconduct involving the same MMR vaccine.