Language delays found in siblings of children with autism
by John Constantino, MD
Siblings of children with autism have more frequent language delays and other subtle characteristics of the disorder than previously understood. Girls also may be mildly affected more often than recognized in the past.
A new study, led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found mild traits, not strong enough to provoke a diagnosis of autism, seem to be present in the siblings of affected children at significantly higher rates than seen in the general population. The findings appear online and will be published in the November issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.
"...many siblings of children on the spectrum have significant, subclinical traits of autism, but, for whatever reason, they never actually develop the disorder.”
“Mild symptoms, called quantitative traits, may be confounding studies that compare children with autism to their siblings,” says first author John N. Constantino, MD. “Researchers presume one child is affected, and the other is not, but our findings suggest that although one child may have autism while the other does not, it’s very possible both children are affected to some degree by genes that contribute to autism.”
This article is published in the USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual. Click here to purchase the manual.
Dr. Constantino was a panelist on the "Current Status of Research and Strategies for the Future" Panel Workshop at the USAAA 2010 World Conference in St. Louis, Missouri October 1-3, 2010. DVDs of the all Keynotes and the panel workshops are available at the USAAA DVD store.
John Constantino, MD is a Blanche F. Ittleson Professor, and Director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.
Scientists find gene clue to 130 brain diseases
PARIS (AFP) – Scientists on Sunday said they had discovered a bouquet of proteins that play a critical role in the development of more than 130 brain diseases.
Their study also highlights a surprising link between these disorders -- including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's -- and the evolution of human behaviour, they said.
"We can also see ways to develop new genetic diagnostic tests and help doctors classify the brain diseases," Grant said.
The human brain is a labyrinth of millions of specialised nerve cells interconnected by billions of electrical and chemical pathways called synapses.
Within these synapses are proteins that combine together, forming a molecular machine known as the post-synaptic density, or PSD, which is believed to disrupt synaptic functioning, causing disease and behavioural change.
Reporting in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Seth Grant of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute led a team that extracted PSDs from synapses of patients undergoing brain surgery.
Click here for entire article, "Scientists find gene clue to 130 brain diseases."
Investigating face memory in people with and without autism
MIT is currently embarking on a new approach in autism research: online testing. Via the Internet, people with and without autism can participate in a behavioral investigation of face and object memory.
" Via the Internet, people with and without autism can participate in a behavioral investigation of face and object memory.
What is this study about?
We want to understand how people see the world. This study investigates how people with and without autism remember faces and objects.
The study is conducted by Sarah Weigelt and Nancy Kanwisher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, USA. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this experiment, please contact Sarah Weigelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to participate in the study, "Investigating face memory in people with and without autism.
USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual now available
The USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual is now available. The manual is a collection of articles from many of the USAAA 2010 World Conference presenters that include Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Martha Herbert, Dr. John Constantino, Dr. Phillip DeMio, Dr. Mark Geier, David Geier, Dr. Michael McManmon, Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Jim Partington, Elaine (Coach E) Hall, Theresa K. Wrangham, Marlo Payne Thurman, plus a bonus section of articles from previous USAAA Conference Manuals.
Click here for more information on the USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual.
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