Scientists from the Ivy League Brown University have found a link between the epilepsy drug VPA and autism. The team led by Eric Brown suggested that valproic acid might be increasing the risk for autism in to-be born babies due to intra-natal exposure to expectant moms. The study has been published this week in the journal Journal of Neuroscience.
Journal Reference: Brown University. “Tadpole model links drug exposure to autism-like effects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150217202933.htm>
Research by special education professor Michael Solis from University of Virginia, Curry School of Education has shown that incorporating the child’s interest into reading instructions can increase the reading comprehension. The unwavering interest of a child is termed as ‘preservative interest’ and using this Solis and Farah El Zein from Cleveland State University have designed a new technique. The study showed that reading comprehension improved when the preservative interest was repeatedly mentioned in the instructions for children with ASD. The findings appear in the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities this week.
Journal Reference: Solis M, Zein EF, et al. Reading comprehension interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders: An alternating treatments comparison. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 12/2014. in press.
In a path breaking new research, researchers are all set to use saliva help diagnose autism. Researchers led by Armand Gatien Ngounou Wetie from Clarkson University and the State University of New York say that one day a simple spit test might be all that is needed to detect autism in children owing to the high protein levels of 9 proteins as seen in the research findings. The findings have been published in the journal Autism Research.
Journal Reference: Armand G. Ngounou Wetie, Kelly L. Wormwood, Stefanie Russell, Jeanne P. Ryan, Costel C. Darie, Alisa G. Woods. A Pilot Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Research, 2015; DOI: 10.1002/aur.1450
Researchers from the prestigious Israeli institute, Tel Aviv University are suggesting that it might really by genes that are the reason being more boys being diagnosed with autism than girls. The study led by Illana Gozes has been published this week in the journal Translational Psychiatry and highlights how a protein called ADNP that is crucial for fetal brain development is linked to the gene ADNP, also important for functioning of the brain. The gene was found to be common to Alzheimer’s and autism, both of which have gender predilections. The team is keen to connect the dots between the gene and the gender bias to help unlock therapeutic solutions some day.
Journal Reference: A Malishkevich, N Amram, G Hacohen-Kleiman, I Magen, E Giladi, I Gozes. Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) exhibits striking sexual dichotomy impacting on autistic and Alzheimer’s pathologies. Translational Psychiatry, 2015; 5 (2): e501 DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.138
Research detects activation of autism genes in the fetal brain
Researchers from the University of California – San Diego have identified that genetic mutations that lead to autism are connected to a vital brain development pathway. The team of researchers lead by Lilia Iakoucheva found that copy number variants or CNVs were ‘turned on’ during the fetal developmental stages. The findings appeared in the journal Neuron this week.
Journal Reference: Guan Ning Lin, Roser Corominas, Irma Lemmens, Xinping Yang, Jan Tavernier, David E. Hill, Marc Vidal, Jonathan Sebat, Lilia M. Iakoucheva. Spatiotemporal 16p11.2 Protein Network Implicates Cortical Late Mid-Fetal Brain Development and KCTD13-Cul3-RhoA Pathway in Psychiatric Diseases. Neuron, 2015; 85 (4): 742 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.010
Fragile protein linked to autism, new study finds
Scientists from the American Chemical Society have gained new insight into a hitherto known protein. The team of researchers led by Ronald Raines and Sean Johnston found that abnormalities in the protein PTEN might be the cause behind autism and many uninherited cancers. The findings have been published this week in the journal Biochemistry. The finding could lead to development of treatments for both cancer as well as autism.
Journal Reference: Sean B. Johnston, Ronald T. Raines. Conformational Stability and Catalytic Activity of PTEN Variants Linked to Cancers and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Biochemistry, 2015; 150213083648000 DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00028