April is here and so is Autism Awareness month. ICare4Autism is honoring the tradition of highlighting the importance of education, acknowledgment and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders by taking a look back at groundbreaking research that have already surfaced in the past year.
Autistic Girls And Boys Have Different Brain Structures Could Lead to A Faster, More Accurate Diagnosis
Autism looks different in girls than it does in boys, mainly because girls don’t engage in as many repetitive behaviors thus resulting in a late diagnosis, misdiagnosis, as well as the lack of a diagnosis all together. A new study, done by Stanford Medicine, analyzed brain scans of 800 children with autism and came up with some interesting results. The behavioral differences between boys and girls reflect different patterns in the region of the brain responsible for motor activity and planned motor activity. Although the specific characteristics of male and female autism differ, both sexes have similar IQ scores. Uncovering these mysteries will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis for girls.
The research on female autism has been extremely limited, due to the fact that just 1 out of 189 females are diagnosed with ASD compared to 1 out of 42 males.
Autism Symptoms Reversed in Adult Mice
Shank3 is a gene missing in about 1% of people with autism. Missing or defective Shank3 leads to synaptic disruptions producing autism like symptoms in mice (anxiety, compulsive behavior, and avoidance of social situations). This new study consisted on genetically engineering the mice so that Shank3 was turned off during embryonic development.
Researchers then added tamoxifen to the mouse’s diet at two different stages in their life. The first group of mice ingested the tamoxifen 20 days after birth and experienced improved motor coordination and less anxiety as well as eliminated the mice’s repetitive behavior and social avoidance
When researchers fed the young adult mice tamoxifen at two to four and a half months after birth only the repetitive behavior and social avoidance dissipated, leading researchers to believe that while early intervention is best, it’s still possible to relieve these symptoms much later in life.
Essentially these findings lead researchers to believe that new genome-editing techniques could theoretically repair Shank3 mutations in the selection of the population affected by this.
ASD Traits are Evident in Everyone
A team of international researchers from University of Bristol, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) studied weather there is a genetic relationship with ASD and ASD related traits in people not diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. The findings the genetic risk, including inherited variants as well as de novo (not found in someone’s parents), underlying ASD is represented in a vast array of developmental and behavioral traits exhibited in all people, those diagnosed with ASD exhibiting the highest intensity.
Due to recent advances in genome sequencing and analysis, a picture of ASD’s genetic landscape is becoming clearer. These findings (as well as other research developments) lead Dr. Mark Daly to conclude that the “genetic risk contributing to autism is a genetic risk that exists in all of us, and influences our behavior and social communication.”
ICare4Autism’s National Conference In NYC – May 24th, 2016
The ICare4Autism National Conference “Personalized Medicine and Autism Spectrum Disorder” will be taking place at the Cherkasky Auditorium at the Montefiore Medical Center on May 24th. The audience will consist of researchers and practitioners in a variety of autism related fields such as genetics and neurology.
Lecture topics span a vast array including Biologic Mechanisms in Autism and App and Web based games designed to help individuals with autism and their families. Some of our esteemed speakers are Dr. Eric Hollander, Cuong Do, and Judy Van de Water. Click here for Early Bird Registration Specials.
ICare4Autism.org, International Center for Autism Research and Education, offers many methods to get involved with expanding autism awareness, education, research, and services for teachers, researchers, individuals with ASD and their families, as well as everyone else.
Volunteer opportunities are available both in and out of the iCare4Autism office in areas including, but not limited to, helping fundraisers, online media, blog writing, and social networking. If you are interested in gaining experience and getting involved in the autism community, please check out our volunteer opportunities .
Help ICare4Autism continue to promote autism research and education worldwide by donating what you can! Donate Directly or contact Jessica Wachtel at 718-686-9600 x 1108
Interested in sponsoring our national conference or quarterly magazine? Contact Jessica Wachtel at 718-686-9600 x 1108
By Nichole Caropolo
Differences in Autistic Boys And Girls
ASD Traits in Everyone