Autism spectrum disorders

Tool helps kids with autism improve socialization skills

A team of NIH-funded researchers at Stanford University Medical School has found that children with autism improved measurably on a test of socialization and learning when their therapy included an at-home intervention with ...

Medical research

Targeting key gene could help lead to Down syndrome treatment

Targeting a key gene before birth could someday help lead to a treatment for Down syndrome by reversing abnormal embryonic brain development and improving cognitive function after birth, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Genetics

Study links gene to sleep problems in autism

Up to 80 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience sleep problems. The source of these problems has been as much of a mystery as the exact causes of ASD, which scientists are still working to unravel. ...

Neuroscience

Brain changes in autism traced to specific cell types

Changes in gene activity in specific brain cells are associated with the severity of autism in children and young adults with the disorder, according to a UC San Francisco study of postmortem brain tissue. The study's new ...

Neuroscience

Autism gene linked to brain and behavior deficits in mice

Mice lacking the gene Shank3 display structural and functional deficits in the prefrontal cortex, finds a study published in JNeurosci. The research advances our understanding of one of the most common genetic risk factors ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Placental function linked to brain injuries associated with autism

Allopregnanolone (ALLO), a hormone made by the placenta late in pregnancy, is such a potent neurosteroid that disrupting its steady supply to the developing fetus can leave it vulnerable to brain injuries associated with ...

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The term "autism spectrum" is often used to describe disorders that are currently classified as pervasive developmental disorders. Pervasive developmental disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome, Childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. These disorders are typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, and/or cognitive delays. Although these diagnoses share some common features, individuals with these disorders are thought to be "on the spectrum" because of differences in severity across these domains.

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