Monthly 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. I thought I would share on a monthly basis stories that caught my eye.

~ Maureen

Wearable camera captures eye contact in children with autism

A camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses can reliably gauge a child’s tendency to look another person in the eye. A tendency to avoid looking at others’ eyes is a hallmark of autism and may appear in infancy — years before clinicians can diagnose the condition. Recordings from the new device may eventually help clinicians spot toddlers at risk for the condition.

Read the full article here.

Brain Stem Size May Predict Aggression in Those with ASD

Biological differences in the brain could explain why some with autism display problematic behavior, researchers say, and pinpointing the root of such issues may lead to interventions. In a study looking at magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans of kids with and without autism, researchers found a correlation between brain stem volume and a child’s propensity for aggression. Those with a smaller brain stem were more likely to have difficulty controlling themselves, according to findings published this month in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Read the full article here.

Landmark autism genetic study seeking participants

Families affected by autism are invited to a special on-site registration and data collection event for the nation’s largest-ever autism research study. The research project, called SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge), aims to uncover causes and treatments for autism by collecting behavioral information and saliva DNA samples from 50,000 individuals with autism and their biological family members.

Read the full article here.

In trials, repurposed drug shows promise for autism

A drug used to treat excessive swelling seems to ease autism features in some children on the spectrum, according to results from a trial in France. Clinicians prescribe the drug, called bumetanide, to relieve fluid retention after heart failure and in people with liver or kidney disease. The drug is also used to lower blood pressure. In the brain, it affects a chemical messenger, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), thought to be important in autism.

Read the full article here.

World’s Largest Autism Genome Database Shines New Light on Many New “Autisms”

Latest study from the Autism Speaks MSSNG program identifies 18 new autism-linked genes, deepening understanding of autism’s broad spectrum. What’s more, 80% of the 61 gene variations discovered through the program, to-date, affect biochemical pathways that have clear potential as targets for future medicines.

Read the full article here.


Tune in next month for an update on autism research!

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