Researchers Question Validity of CDC ASD Statistic

Statistics are a tool often used in a variety of fields to realistically convey information to the public about the common nature and possibility of a certain event or abnormality. A widely-spread statistic revealed the current amount of autism diagnosis in children, but some are questioning its validity.

 

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that one of every 45 children have autism, which was increased 80% from the statistic that claimed one out of every 68 child, aged 3 to 17, was on the spectrum. Autism researchers are now taking a look into the truth behind the increase, and how it may not be as it seems.
Health experts are raising claims about the undermining of the statistics and the misinterpretation they may perceive. They believe the statistic does not necessarily mean that autism is increasing, but could mean that doctors are diagnosing autism more often, particularly in adolescents with mild cases of ASD.

 

Others believe that the structure of the survey given to parents is the reason for such a drastic increase. In 2013, the survey asked about a variety of disorders and developmental delay, while the 2014 survey focused predominantly on ASD, with other disorder being addressed after.

 

Benjamin Zablotsky, apart of the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, believes that the higher statistic could stem from how parents perceive the children’s behavior.

 

“There may have been alterations in the method in which parents attach labels to their kids that contribute to alterations in the way researchers surveyed them.” Zablotsky said. “I think within this report we found that the way that we ask the parents about autism spectrum disorder can have an impact on the way the parents respond to the question.”

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For more information, check out the source for this blog post, Albany Daily Star.

By Nichole Caropolo

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April Is Autism Awareness Month

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.

http://news.mit.edu/2016/neuroscientists-reverse-autism-symptoms-0217

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.

Get Involved

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 .

Donate

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

Research Sources

Differences in Autistic Boys And Girls

Shank3

ASD Traits in Everyone

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Researchers Develop New Method For ASD Mutation Isolation

Mice continue to be in the spotlight for scientific research. Autism researchers used mice, yet again, as test subjects to isolate mutations found in the base of autism diagnosis.

Researchers recently ran studies to sequence whole genomes found in the neurons of mice they created through stem cells. With this data, the researchers were able to conclude that each cell held approximately 100 somatic mutations. Subsets of these mutations are known to result in autism.

These mutations have been difficult to track down in the past due to the rapid division of cells. In this study, the researchers had to focus on enzymes developing extra DNA copies, but this could cause errors and lead to incorrect conclusions. There is also no way of verifying the authenticity of the mutations due to no genome being available for comparison.

The study focused on a new strategy surrounding the natural processes of the body, and the power it has to duplicate its own DNA. Nuclei was removed from isolated olfactory neurons from the brains of the test mice, and then injected into the cells of a female’s eggs. This allows the DNA to get rid of its original properties and transform to reflect the surrounding cells.

Seven neurons from the egg cell DNA were taken from 4 mice, resulting in stem cell lines that had the original DNA neurons. Ten of the 100 mutations found were interrupting normal genes.The researchers hope to continue the study in order to see how each mouse brain is affected by specific mutations.

Kristin Baldwin, the associate professor of molecular and cellular neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute, stays optimistic about the future by saying the cells could be their best shot to see the severe mutations in cases of ASD.

For more information, visit the source for this blog post, Spectrum News

By Nicole Caropolo

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Alpha and Beta Brainwaves Differ for ASD   

Brainwaves are key aspects in relaying information throughout the body, as well as to doctors about how a person’s brain is functioning. A recent study has found differences between two types brainwaves in people with autism spectrum disorder.

 

In the brain of someone with ASD, less alpha and beta brainwaves are present than people without an autism disorder. The brainwaves also exhibit erratic patterns in the frontal lobe.

 

Beta brainwaves contain high frequencies that are active during moments of high focus and alertness, while Alpha brainwaves are more prominent at night when you’re resting yet aware.

 

The study took place at the University of Malaysia Sarawak where the researchers studied the brainwave patterns of ten participants on the autism spectrum, and ten participants without ASD.

 

The brainwave patterns were examined using an instrument called a quantitative electroencephalogram, often shortened to QEEG. It measured the electrical activity with 19 electrodes during different tasks. It allowed them to create a brain map where there was high or low amounts of activity at a variety of frequencies.

 

The reduced amount of beta waves in the participants with ASD gave evidence of under-connectivity in the brain, as well as issues with attention, brain injuries, and learning disabilities. Less alpha waves result in issues with motor skills and senses, such as performing specified tasks.

 

The QEEG also showed a mix of abnormally fast and slow waves in the frontal lobe, leading the researchers to suspect bad connections in the front and back regions. The conclusions that researchers gather from the QEEG can create training plans with the neurofeedback for individuals with ASD.

 

Check out the resource used for this blog post at 0001-brain-43-big-ss-225x300

By: Nicole Caropolo

 

Posted in Autism Advocacy, Autism Alternative Treatment, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism Causes, Autism Conferences, Autism Diagnosis, Autism Education, Autism Employment, Autism Events, Autism Films, Autism in the Family, Autism International, Autism Media Coverage, Autism Medication, Autism New York, Autism News, Autism News, Autism Research, Autism Resources, Autism Symptoms, Autism Therapy, Autism Treatment, Public Policy, Resources, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Genetic Database Open Worldwide

 

 

Since we were children, we were always told that “sharing is caring.” Does this still apply in the world of adulthood? In the work field, many people see each other as competition in their career. In the scientific world, this is not the case. Researchers openly share information and data in order to boost each other’s studies. A database just made autism research a lot easier by making a collection of data from over 2000 families.

 

The Simons Foundation launched the Simons Simplex Collection for free, across the globe, through the online WuXi NextCODE Exchange. The collection showcases information for over 2600 children with autism spectrum disorder, including their family histories and their genome histories.

 

The information from the database will allow researchers to use online analysis tools and examine genomes of children with ASD and their families’. They are also able to able to see public reference datasets as well as ASD gene and variant lists.

 

The database has also been used for shared analyzing and comments on a shared platform that can be accessed by scientists from all over the world. It used to only be available for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative members, but now is accessible to non SFARI affiliates.

 

Simons Foundation is an institution that gives grants to support collaborations between scientific and mathematical research. The project was originally a partnership between Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and NextCode, but NextCode was bought by WuXi PharmTech.

 

Louis Reichardt, director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research, is excited to see the data spread throughout the scientific and autism research field.

 

“The SSC was conceived and has succeeded as a large-scale, open access discovery engine,” Reichardt said. “We are excited to be partnering with WuXi NextCode to realize the next phase in the SSC’s potential by making it directly accessible to the autism community worldwide.”

 

Access can be granted to users by contacting either WuXi NextCode or the Simons Foundation about training or applying online at NextCode.com.

 

For more information, check out the sources for this post, Bio-ItWorld and Genome Web.

 

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