Could parental exposure to solvents at work be linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children? According to an exploratory study by Erin McCanlies, a research epidemiologist from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and colleagues, such exposures could play a role, but more research would be needed to confirm an association. Their pilot study is published online in Springer's Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The experts' assessment indicated that exposures to lacquer, varnish and xylene occurred more often in the parents of children with ASD compared to the parents of unaffected children. Parents of children with ASD were also more likely to report exposures to asphalt and solvents, compared to parents of unaffected children. All of these exposures fall into the broader category of solvents, or solvent-containing products.
A Model Established To Study How The Brain Processes Multisensory Information, A Process That Goes Awry In Autism Spectrum Disorders
The next time you set a trap for that rat running around in your basement, here's something to consider: you are going up against an opponent whose ability to assess the situation and make decisions is statistically just as good as yours. A Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) study that compared the ability of humans and rodents to make perceptual decisions based on combining different modes of sensory stimuli - visual and auditory cues, for instance - has found that just like humans, rodents also combine multisensory information and exploit it in a "statistically optimal" way - or the most efficient and unbiased way possible. "Statistically optimal combination of multiple sensory stimuli has been well documented in humans, but many have been skeptical about this behavior occurring in other species, " explains Assistant Professor Anne Churchland, Ph.
Given that almost 70% of young adults with Asperger syndrome have suffered from depression, it is vital that psychiatric care staff are aware of this so that patients are given the right treatment, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Tove LugnegĂ rd, researcher at the University of Gothenburg, has shown in her thesis that mood disorders and anxiety disorders are very common among young adults with Asperger syndrome. Around 70% of the young adults with Asperger Syndrome in the study reported at least one previous episode of depression, and up to 50 % had had repeated episodes - a remarkable result given that the mean age of the group was just 27 years. Important to prevent depression "The results mean that it's important that psychiatric care staff keep an eye open for the symptoms of depression in young adults with autism spectrum disorders, " says LugnegĂ rd.
New research from Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just provides an explanation for some of autism's mysteries - from social and communication disorders to restricted interests - and gives scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies. Autism has long been a scientific enigma, mainly due to its diverse and seemingly unrelated symptoms until now. Published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Just and his team used brain imaging and computer modeling to show how the brain's white matter tracts - the cabling that connects separated brain areas - are altered in autism and how these alterations can affect brain function and behavior. The deficiencies affect the tracts' bandwidth - the speed and rate at which information can travel along the pathways.
According to a study published online February 17, at AJP in Advance, a section of the website of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered considerable differences in brain development at age six months in high-risk infants who develop autism, than high-risk infants who do not develop the condition. Jason J. Wolff, Ph.D, lead researcher of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at UNC's Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), explained: "It's a promising finding. At this point, it's a preliminary albeit great first step towards thinking about developing a biomarker for risk in advance of our current ability to diagnose autism." According to results from the study, autism develops in infancy over time, not suddenly in young children.