Atypical development can be detected as early as 12 months of age among the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder

The research suggests that parents and clinicians should be vigilant for such symptoms early on among the siblings of children with autism, in order to take full advantage of opportunities for targeted early intervention to improve those children’s outcomes.

Can gaining weight during pregnancy provide clues into the cause of autism spectrum disorders? New research from the University of Utah shows the answer to that question may be yes in some situations.

Researchers have uncovered an association between autism spectrum disorders and a small increase in the amount of weight a mother gains during pregnancy.
Posted by Elsevier

A new study in Biological Psychiatry explores the influence of oxytocin

Difficulty in registering and responding to the facial expressions of other people is a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Relatedly, functional imaging studies have shown that individuals with ASD display altered brain activations when processing facial images.

Pregnant women whose labors are induced or augmented may have an increased risk of bearing children with autism, especially if the baby is male, according to a large, retrospective analysis by researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Michigan.

The findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics on Aug. 12, 2013, do not prove cause and effect, but suggest the need for more research, particularly as labor induction and augmentation have been used more frequently in recent years. Expediting deliveries has benefitted women with health conditions that pose a risk to them and their unborn children. Inducing labor (stimulating contractions before the onset of spontaneous labor) and augmenting labor (increasing the strength, duration or frequency of contractions during labor) have been shown to prevent complications, including stillbirth.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have decoded an important molecular signal that guides the development of a key region of the brain known as the neocortex.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have decoded an important molecular signal that guides the development of a key region of the brain known as the neocortex. The largest and most recently evolved region of the brain, the neocortex is particularly well developed in humans and is responsible for sensory processing, long-term memory, reasoning, complex muscle actions, consciousness and other functions.