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Research Study Findings


General Research


Autism study suggests connection between repetitive behaviors, gut problems Severity of GI symptoms, other autism symptoms also associated~December 3, 2020-In children with autism, repetitive behaviors and gastrointestinal problems may be connected, new research has found. The study found that increased severity of other autism symptoms was also associated with more severe constipation, stomach pain and other gut difficulties.

Trajectories in Symptoms of Autism and Cognitive Ability in Autism From Childhood to Adult Life: Findings From a Longitudinal Epidemiological Cohort~ December 2020 - Latent growth curve models were fitted to data from the Special Needs and Autism Project cohort at three time points: 12, 16, and 23 years. Outcome measures were IQ and parent-reported Social Responsiveness Scale autism symptoms. Of the 158 participants with an autism spectrum disorder at 12 years, 126 (80%) were reassessed at 23 years. Child, family, and contextual characteristics obtained at 12 years predicted intercept and slope of the trajectories.

Assessment of racial and ethnic bias in autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates from a US surveillance system~March 20, 2019- Confirmation of autism spectrum disorder case status was more likely for children with relevant health records than for those with school records only. Moreover, relevant health records were more likely to be missing for Black and Hispanic children than for White children. Observed disparities in autism spectrum disorder prevalence were not accounted for by missing demographic data, but may reflect disparities in healthcare access for developmental evaluations.

EEG signals accurately predict autism as early as 3 months of age. Early diagnosis by 'digital biomarkers' may allow early intervention, better outcomes~May 1, 2018- Autism is challenging to diagnose, especially early in life. A new study in the journal Scientific Reports shows that inexpensive EEGs, which measure brain electrical activity, accurately predict or rule out autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants, even in some as young as 3 months.

Adaptive behavior in autism: Minimal clinically important differences on the Vineland-II ~September 21, 2017-Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is associated with persistent impairments in adaptive abilities across multiple domains. These social, personal, and communicative impairments become increasingly pronounced with development, and are present regardless of IQ. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition (Vineland-II) is the most commonly used instrument for quantifying these impairments, but minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs) on Vineland-II scores have not been rigorously established in ASD. 

Parent-mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism~October 25, 2016- It is not known whether early intervention can improve long-term autism symptom outcomes. We aimed to follow-up the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT), to investigate whether the PACT intervention had a long-term effect on autism symptoms and continued effects on parent and child social interaction.The results are the first to show long-term symptom reduction after a randomised controlled trial of early intervention in autism spectrum disorder. They support the clinical value of the PACT intervention and have implications for developmental theory.

Children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder show unique handwriting patterns. Integrative education system should consider this factor, say experts~ June 1, 2016- The new study found that children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder integrated in regular schools find it difficult to perform writing tasks. This can impair their academic achievements, social availability, and self-confidence, say experts.

New method vets quality of antibodies for experimental use~July 15, 2015- Researchers have devised a reliable technique for evaluating how well antibodies home in on specific molecules in scientific experiments. The new approach, published 29 June in Nature Methods, could take some of the guesswork out of studies that use these sticky immune molecules to flag proteins of interest1.Autism researchers use antibodies to determine the binding partners of proteins associated with the disorder.

Study finds link between autism and labour induction ~video~ Duke University's Simon Gregory looks at a study that suggests a link between induced or augmented pregnancy and the risk of autism. August 12,2013

Autism’s surprising link to cancer gene ~Researchers studying two seemingly unrelated conditions autism and cancer have unexpectedly converged on a surprising discovery. Some people with autism have mutated cancer or tumour genes that apparently caused their brain disorder. Aug. 11 2013

Across Generations: Older Fathers May Transmit Autism Risk To Their Grandkids~ Last year, several studies came out showing that the age of the parents, and particularly the age of the father, seemed to increase a child’s risk for autism. Now, it seems that on top of the father’s age (or mother’s), it’s also the grandfather’s age at the time he conceived his child that can affect his grandchild’s risk of autism. March 20, 2013

Low birthweight infants have five times rate of autism ~ The children, some born as small as about a pound, were followed for 21 years making this study, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, one of the most remarkable of its kind. The infants were born between September 1984 through July 1987 in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in New Jersey at birthweights from 500 to 2000 grams or a maximum of about 4.4 pounds.

Summary of "Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism" Jan 2011 teleconference~ What were the results of this study?Children with autism were found to have several abnormalities in mitochondrial function, when compared to the neuro-typical control group, suggesting there may be a high rate of mitochondrial dysfunction, mtDNA overreplication and mtDNA deletions in children with ASD.  In fact, 8 out of 10, or 80% of children in the ASD group were found to have mitochondrial and biochemical abnormalities of one kind or another.

   New Findings Validate the Accuracy of Autism Diagnosis in Children With 

   Down Syndrome ~  New findings from a 16-year study confirm that the  

   Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the gold-standard  

   for the classification of mental health conditions, can be used to accurately

   identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children with Down syndrome,

   according to research from Kennedy Krieger Institute.~ October 2011

   Autism Research:Breakthrough Discovery on the Causes of Autism

    researchers at the University of California, Davis called "Mitochondrial

    Dysfunctionin Autism  (i) discovered a profound and serious biological

    underpinning of autism-an acquired loss of the ability to produce energy in the

    cells, damage to mitochondria (the energy factories in your cells), an increase

    in oxidative stress(the same chemical reaction that causes cars to rust,apples turning brown,fat to become rancid,skin to wrinkle).~ December 2010

Genes implicated in twins' autism ~Jan 2010-Autism could have 100 different causes," says Kennedy Krieger neuroscientist Jonathan Pevsner, who's encouraged by DNA sequencing studies of autistic patients' genomes.

Variability in outcome for children with an ASD diagnosis at age 2 ~Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2007

Social and communication development in toddlers with early and later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders ~ This study provides insight into different patterns of development of children with early vs later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. JAMA Psychiatry July 2007

Early social-communicative and cognitive development of younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders ~ Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2007

Associated medical disorders and disabilities in children with autistic disorder: a population-based study ~ Autism, 2004

New AAP Reports Help Pediatricians Identify and Manage Autism Earlier

~ American Academy of Pediatrics ~ Two new clinical reports from the

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help pediatricians recognize autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) earlier and guide families to effective interventions, which will ultimately improve the lives of children with ASDs

and their families.

Adult Outcome for Children with Autism ~ Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2004

Autism - Cutting Edge Discoveries ~ Dr. Roger L. Turner, DC ~ Do you feel

there must be an answer to the causes of Autism? Would you like to hear about “the cause” missed by most treatment protocols? A cutting edge protocol has been discovered that addresses the main causative factor in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that almost all disciplines have missed in their treatment protocols.

Service Dogs for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Benefits,   

Challenges and Welfare Implications ~ a qualitative investigation of the benefits, challenges and welfare of service dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.

Twin Autism Study ~An exciting study for autism that started as a mothers

means to document her twin's development and milestones for their albums.  The mother is also the founder and president of the Canadian National Autism Foudation ~ 2005

Children and Youth with Special Needs ~ A Report by the Canadian Council on Social Development November 2001

Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders) ~ National Institute of Mental Health ~ 2004

A Case Study in the Misrepresentation of Applied Behavior Analysis in Autism: The Gernsbacher Lectures ~This article presents a case study in the misrepresentation of applied behavior analysis for autism based on Morton Ann Gernsbacher's presentation of a lecture titled “The Science of Autism: Beyond the Myths and Misconceptions.” Her misrepresentations involve the characterization of applied behavior analysis, descriptions of practice guidelines, reviews of the treatment literature, presentations of the clinical trials research, and conclusions about those trials ~Spring 2009


Genetic and Enviromental

Association of Genetic and Environmental Factors With Autism in a 5-Country Cohort~July 17, 2019- Findings  In a large population-based multinational cohort study including more than 2 million individuals, 22 156 of whom were diagnosed with ASD, the heritability of autism spectrum disorder was estimated to be approximately 80%, with possible modest differences in the sources of autism spectrum disorder risk replicated across countries.Meaning  The variation in the occurrence of autism spectrum disorder in the population is mostly owing to inherited genetic influences, with no support for contribution from maternal effects.

Maternal factors, birth order up autism risk - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative ~ Having one child with autism raises the odds of having a second child with the disorder 20-fold, according to one of the largest epidemiological studies so far to address the inheritance of autism risk . In families that have one child with autism, the next-born child has the highest risk of developing the disorder. This risk is higher for brothers than for sisters, and if the first child with autism is female.



Is Autism Caused By The Environment? Just As Much As Genes, Scientists Say-Autism’s 'Surprising' Link To The Environment May 2014~The role of the environment in autism is “a crucial area of study,” especially since the increasing prevalence of the disorder in recent decades has left many scientists wondering what's behind the rising numbers. A new study the largest one to date examined how autism runs in families, and found that environmental factors are far more important in understanding autism causes than previously thought. Researchers at King’s College London, the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and Mount Sinai in the U.S. reviewed data from Swedish national health registers, analyzing two million people 14,516 of which had been diagnosed with autism. The researchers examined two measures of autism risk, heritability (risk attributed to genetic factors) and “relative recurrent risk,” or risks among people who have a relative with autism.

Genetic Research

Breakthrough in autism spectrum reseach finds genetic 'wrinkles' in DNA could be a cause~ July 27, 2020- Through this research, they identified something they call “genetic wrinkles” in DNA itself, a breakthrough they believe could explain why some individuals find themselves on the autistic spectrum.Dr. Stephen Scherer, co-author of the study released Monday and director of the Centre for Applied Genomics at SickKids, told CTV News the new discovery is “really quite exciting.”“It unveils a whole new class of genes that we didn't know (were) involved in autism before,” he said.“We do know that they're involved in brain function but we don't know how they fit into the jigsaw puzzle.”Current research estimates that genetic factors should be found in anywhere from 50 to 90 per cent of individuals with ASD.Scientists already know of about 100 genes that play a role in the development of autism, but these genes only explain less than 20 per cent of cases.

Inherited and De Novo Genetic Risk for Autism Impacts Shared Newtworks~ August 8, 2019- We performed a comprehensive assessment of rare inherited variation in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by analyzing whole-genome sequences of 2,308 individuals from families with multiple affected children. We implicate 69 genes in ASD risk, including 24 passing genome-wide Bonferroni correction and 16 new ASD risk genes, most supported by rare inherited variants, a substantial extension of previous findings.


Research Team Identifies 33 Genes That Contribute to Autism Risk~ June 24, 2015 -Published today in Nature, the study examined data on several types of rare, genetic differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected children and unrelated individuals. It is the largest sample to date, and provides evidence that small differences in some of possibly 1,000 risk genes contribute to autism. In addition to increasing the number of definitive autism genes almost fourfold, the team pinpointed more than 70 other likely ASD genes.

Mapping the genes for autism:Canadian study part of a worldwide effort~ Is autism a genetically inherited disorder? If so, which gene or genes are responsible? More than 1,200 families from all over the world, including 200 families across Canada, are participating in this global research collaboration, the largest ever assembled to locate the genes associated with autism spectrum disorders. Locating the genes will be no easy task.There are approximately 30,000 genes in the 23 chromosomes that make up the human genome.Roughly 4,000 of these genes are located in the brain.Autism is known as a complex disorder that is believed to involve many genes on several chromosomes. Preliminary findings have zeroed in on Chromosome 7 as one hot spot for continued research. But while results are promising, there remains much work to be done.Researchers hope eventually to enable clinicians to biologically diagnose autism, allowing children to be diagnosed earlier than ever and leading to more effective treatments and better outcomes for them and their families.Knowing what causes autism may even allow us, one day, to prevent it.

Common Genetic Ground Found for Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism~ Mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia clearly run in families, but neuroscientists have always assumed that the biological drivers behind these disorders were distinct. However, expanding on results reported earlier this year from psychiatry’s largest ever experiment, researchers now report that known genetic variations account for 17% to 29% of the risk for schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And risk for one condition is often strongly linked with risk for others. August 12, 2013

More genes linked to autism with advanced sequencing tool~A Canadian-led international research team has identified several new genetic mutations that appear to be linked to autism spectrum disorder, using a method that looks at the entire DNA code of affected individuals.The method is called whole genome sequencing,and the researchers believe they are the first to use it to take an in-depth look at genetic alterations associated with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. ~July 11, 2013

Scientists find gene pattern in autism patients ~Scientists have identified a genetic pattern common to people with autism that is linked to the way messages are sent in the brain.Medical Research Council researchers at the University of Oxford said the knowledge could help them understand the role that genetics plays in autism. Doctors can currently only identify the exact genetic cause of autism in about one in five cases but it is known that genes play an important role in the development of autism spectrum disorders, an MRC spokeswoman said. June 7, 2013

Genetic Research on Autism Advances ~In the current project,researchers tested the contribution of rare genetic mutations, as well genetic variations common to autism,to see whether these different types of genetic risk factors are related.Instead of testing individual genes, the researchers chose to study gene collections, in an attempt to understand general pathways involved in autism. May 2, 2012

    Israeli and NY researchers find evidence autism genetic ~ A team at Cold  

    Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in New York, led by an Israeli doing

    postdoctoral fellowship work on mice, has for the first time provided

    functional evidence that inheriting fewer copies of genes on chromosome

    #16 leads to autism-like features.  ~ Oct 2011

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism ~researchers from the University of California ~ December 2010       

Autism gene breakthrough hailed ~ Scientists have found new autism genes by scanning the largest collection of families with multiple cases of autism ever assembled. The monumental task of studying the 1,200 families took more than 120 scientists from more than 50 institutions across 19 countries.The work, described in Nature Genetics, implicates a region of chromosome 11 and a specific gene called neurexin 1. February 19,2007                                           

Canadian Scientists Lead International Autism Genome Discoveries ~ Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto Feb 18, 2007

Mapping the Genes for Autism: Canadian Study Part of Worldwide Effort ~ Offord Centre for Child Studies, Hamilton ~ 2004

Autism Research at the Duke Center for Human Genetics ~ abstracts to a

number of different studies being conducted at Duke


Complex Gene Interactions Account for Autism Risk ~ Duke University Medical Centre ~ August 2005

Autism Gene Located~ In a major development, UCLA geneticist Rita Cantor recently pinpointed the location of an autism gene. Cantor and her colleagues analyzed the DNA of two large, unrelated groups of autism patients and their families.In both groups,the disorder was linked to a particular bit of genetic real estate on chromosome 17,called 17q21.The segment contains several genes, one of which raises the risk of autism. ~ August 06, 2005

Project to Search for Autism Gene ~ BBC News ~ July 2004

New Genetic Hypothesis for the Cause of Autism ~ American Journal of Genetics ~ September 8, 2004

Researchers Identify First Gene Variant That Appears To Increase Risk Of Autism In Significant Portion Of The Population ~ American Journal of Psychiatry ~ April 2004

The Origins of Autism ~ New research into the causes of this baffling

disorder is focusing on genes that control the development of the brain ~

Scientific American ~ February 2000



Vaccine Research

    Medical fraud revealed in discredited vaccine-autism study ~ In 2004,

    Brian Deer of The Sunday Times published damning evidence about Dr.

    Wakefield’s ties to the lawsuit, showing that the children in the study were

    recruited unethically, and exposing other flaws in the published study.  

   ~January 2011

  Autism-vaccine study retracted ~A medical journal in Britain has retracted

    a controversial study about the MMR it published in 1998 that linked the use of

    a vaccine in children to autism. ~  February 2010

   Vaccines cause autism: Supporting evidence ~ Rates of autism have

    skyrocketed 1000% since 1990, yet defenders of vaccines and the

    pharmaceutical industry keep scratching their heads in confusion: What could

    be causing this? Lots of clues point to vaccines as one of the primary

    contributing factors to increased rates of autism.~ October 2009

Mac Experts Dispute Link Between Autism, Vaccines The Hamilton Spectator ~ Saturday, February 2, 2004



Brain Research

Early brain development in infants at high risk for autism spectrum disorder~ February 15, 2017- Brain enlargement has been observed in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but the timing of this phenomenon and its relationship to the appearance of behavioral symptoms is unknown. Retrospective head circumference and longitudinal brain volume studies of 2 year olds followed up at age 4 years, have provided evidence that increased brain volume may emerge early in development. Sudies of infants at high familial risk for autism can provide insight into the early development of autism and have found that characteristic social deficits in ASD emerge during the latter part of the first and in the second year of life

Lab-spun spheres reveal common biology in boys with autism ~July, 2015. Balls of neurons derived from the skin cells of four boys with autism show shared alterations in biology and gene expression, researchers report today in Cell1. Like many people with autism, none of the four boys have a mutation known to be associated with the disorder.

10-week reading intervention improves brain activity in autistic children~ 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. At the same time, the reading comprehension of those 13 children, whose average age was 10.9 years, also improved.

     Autism And Early Childhood Rapid Growth May Be Linked, New Study 

     Shows ~ suggests the mechanisms behind rapid brain growth in autistic

     infants are related to broader neuronal and musculoskeletal abnormalities.

     Rapid growth in head size, weight and height may be linked with autism

     development in baby boys.~ October 2011



Interview with Dr. Dan Rossignol: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Improves Symptoms in Autistic Children ~ Medical Veritas (3), 2006

Study Provides Evidence That Autism Affects Functioning of Entire Brain
Previous View Held Autism Limited to Communication, Social Behavior, and Reasoning
~ released August 2006

Major Brain Structures Implicated in Autism~pictures of an over view of the brain

UCSD Researchers Find Brain Overgrowth During First Year of Life in Autism ~ University of California, San Diego ~ July 2003

Researchers Find Brain Overgrowth During First Year of Life in Autism ~ Could a Big Head Mean Autism? ~ The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) ~ July 2003 Small head circumference at birth, followed by a sudden and excessive increase in head circumference during the first year of life, has been linked to development of autism by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego. Autism spectrum disorder occurs in one out of every 160 children and is among the more common and serious of neurological disorders of early childhood.

Clues to Autisms A Neurological and Sensory Based Perspective~ International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences ~ 2000



Other Interesting Research

Facing off against autism; Can a computer game help autistic children recognize faces and expressions? ~May 2004 Dr. Jim Tanaka, a UVic cognitive neuroscientist, has developed a computer game that may improve the face-processing abilities of children with autism




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