Research Updates

researchScientists and researchers are constantly uncovering more information related to autism, offering insights into the origins, possible causes and even at times potential cures. I come across dozens of articles on a weekly basis, some of which seem more important than others. After the positive response I received when I posted Top Research Stories of2014, I thought I would share on a monthly basis stories that caught my eye.

 ~ Maureen


Children Who Lose Autism Label Subject of New Research

Some children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder go on to lose that diagnosis, but according to their parents, that change is not because of treatment or the child’s maturity. Rather, health professionals often make a different diagnosis based on more information on the child’s behavior, often ADHD.

Read the full article here.


Poverty Affects Children’s Brains at a Crucial Time

Children from families below the poverty line exhibited “systematic structural differences” in their brains, with 7-10% less gray matter in the three tested areas than those children living above the poverty line. The participants below the poverty line also scored significantly lower on the academic achievement tests; the researchers estimate that 15 to 20% of this difference can be attributed to the differences in brain development.

Read the full article here.


Study Finds Way to Track Exposures That May Contribute to Autism

Autism researchers have found a promising new method to detect prenatal exposures that may increase risk for autism – and to do so years after the exposures occurred. They will now look for markers for less-obvious toxic exposures suspected to increase autism risk. These include exposure to pesticides, air pollution, plasticizers and maternal inflammation during pregnancy.

Read the full article here.


Novel Technique Shows How Autism Affects Social Brain

Brain areas linked to social behaviors are both underdeveloped and insufficiently networked in youths with high functioning autism spectrum disorder, according to research published in the journal Brain and Behavior.

Read the full article here.


Signs of Dyslexia May Be Present in the Brain from Birth

5 to 17% of all children have developmental dyslexia, or unexplained reading difficulty. When a parent has dyslexia, the odds jump to 50%. Typically, though, dyslexia isn’t diagnosed until the end of second grade or as late as third grade, when interventions are less effective and self-esteem has already suffered. A new study has found that the writing is on the wall as early as infancy—if only there were a way to read it and intervene before the academic, social and emotional damage is done. In 2012, the Gaab Lab showed that pre-readers with a family history of dyslexia (average age 5½) have differences in the left hemisphere of their brains, according to MRI results.

Read the full article here.


Tune in next month for an update on autism research!

Merry Christmas!

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