Exposure to feces in womb tied to autism risk

by  /  16 January 2017

Babies who have their first bowel movement before birth have a slightly increased risk of autism, according to a study of nearly 10 million people.

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Chemical clues: Tags on proteins called histones (burgundy) that scaffold DNA (violet) may help researchers find an autism signature.

Autism brains bear telltale pattern of chemical tags

by  /  12 January 2017
The brains of many people with autism may exhibit a characteristic arrangement of chemical groups on the proteins that DNA coils around.
asiseeit / iStock

Merger aims to create massive repository of medical records

by ,  /  12 January 2017
A merger between nonprofit California Integrated Data Exchange and the Inland Empire Health Information Exchange could lead to the pooling of medical records of 16.7 million people in California.
Basic biology:  Different genetic variants contribute to autism risk in boys versus girls. Alfred Pasieka / Science Photo Library

Some autism risk may arise from sex-specific traits

by  /  11 January 2017
Genetic variants that shape physical features that vary with sex, such as waist-to-hip ratio, may alter autism risk.

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Mayra Del Real, 28, holds her newborn baby at the Eisner’s Women’s Health Center on Thursday, 21 January 2016. Heidi de Marco / KHN

Key provisions could disappear with Affordable Care Act repeal

by , ,  /  17 January 2017

If the ACA is repealed, it could mean loss of coverage for several surprising health provisions, including therapy for children with autism, breast-feeding support for working mothers and assistance with emergency room visits.

Pep Boatella

Experimental autism treatments put to test in real world

by  /  16 January 2017

Researchers are modifying autism therapies for the various communities tasked with implementing them — a move they hope will make treatments more effective for and accessible to all children.

Moving target: Brain waves known as beta oscillations reflect brain activity that controls body movements and may signal telltale changes in DNA.AJPhoto / Science Source

Brain-wave patterns distinguish dup15q syndrome

by  /  13 January 2017

Children with an extra copy of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region, the second most common genetic abnormality in people with autism, have unusually strong brain waves called beta oscillations. The preliminary findings, presented Friday at the Dup15q Alliance Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida, suggest that beta oscillations could distinguish children with dup15q syndrome from those with other forms of autism.

Seeing spots: The brain responds differently to animations of dots moving in random patterns (right) compared with ones that resemble a person moving (left).

Brain scans may forecast effectiveness of autism treatment

by  /  9 January 2017

Patterns of activity in certain brain regions may predict how well a child with autism will respond to a behavioral therapy.

Brain barrier: A mutation linked to autism prevents essential amino acids from entering the brain.

Rare form of autism linked to lack of key nutrient

by  /  5 January 2017

A mutation that prevents some amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, from entering the brain may lead to autism.

Injury-prone:   Children whose mothers lack a college degree are at heightened risk of self-harm.Kris Seraphin / Millennium Images, UK

Large study shows self-injury common among children with autism

by  /  4 January 2017

About one in four children with autism hit, scratch or otherwise hurt themselves, suggests an analysis of school and medical records for more than 8,000 children.

Long view: Children who lose their autism diagnosis early in life may benefit from continued psychiatric care. Lynn Koenig / Getty Images

Compulsions, anxiety replace autism in some children

by  /  2 January 2017

Most children who lose their autism diagnosis develop related psychiatric conditions.

Illustration by Julia Yellow

Mutations in mitochondria genes may raise autism risk

by  /  22 December 2016

Some children with autism carry harmful mutations in the DNA found in mitochondria, the cell’s energy producers.

Unfamiliar faces: Baby monkeys that grow up to be loners show no reaction when a new monkey appears in a photo.

Solitary monkeys missed social cues as infants

by  /  21 December 2016

Adult monkeys that spend most of their time alone struggled as infants to recognize faces.

Sure shot: Getting a flu vaccine while pregnant may not increase autism risk in the child.
JackF  / iStock

Autism’s link to flu during pregnancy may be a fluke

by  /  19 December 2016

Women who come down with influenza while pregnant are no more likely than those without the infection to have a child with autism.

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