Babies born to mothers who took
antidepressants early in their
pregnancy are approximately three
times more likely to develop autism.

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2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Study Says New Autism Criteria Will Have Limited Impact

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A new autism study suggests that proposed changes to autism diagnosis criteria will affect 10 percent of children that have already been diagnosed with autism. The proposed changes to autism diagnosis, which were developed by a panel of experts appointed by the American Psychiatric Parents, are scheduled to be implemented in May 2013.

$19 Million in Federal Funding for Autism Research Might be in Jeopardy

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An analysis issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says that federal agencies that fund autism research are in danger of facing an eight percent budget cut in January. This means that federal funding for autism research could be hit by as much as $18.9 million. 

Research Suggests Owning a Pet Beneficial to Autistic Children

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A new autism study conducted by researchers in France has found that having a pet can improve social skills in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. The study found that children who were given a pet at about five years old saw the best improvements in social behavior. Compared to autistic children without a pet or those who have had a pet since birth, researchers discovered that autistic kids given pets at an early age exhibited improved behavior in social situations, including sharing with others and comforting others who are hurt or sad.

House Approves Amendment to Improve Autism Coverage for Military Families

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment on May 18, 2012, to improve medical care for military families that have dependents with autism. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is sponsored by John Larson (D - Connecticut), improves TRICARE insurance coverage for current and retired Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force families with autistic dependents.

Water Contaminated With Prozac Might Link to Autism

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A new study published in the science journal PLoS ONE shows that fish exposed to psychiatric medications like antidepressant Prozac were found to have similar gene patterns to people with autism. Researchers involved with the study put two antidepressants (Prozac and Effexor) and antiseizure drug Tegratol into water tanks inhabited by minnows. Tests performed on the fish that were exposed revealed that genes similar to those in people with autism were triggered in the fish. The test results indicate that there might be a link between traces of these medications in the water supply and autism, as these drugs have already been associated with autism in studies performed on rats.

Head Lag Test for Infants May Indicate Autism

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It has been well-documented that weak head and neck control in babies can be an indication of developmental delays, but new research shows that head and neck control can also signal autism. According to a new autism study conducted by the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a "pull-to-sit" test on babies as early as 6-months-old can be an early indicator of possible autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Specialists Finding Success in Early Autism Intervention Via Play

Monday, May 07, 2012

The mantra in the field of autism has long centered on early diagnosis and intervention: the earlier children with an autism can get the help they need, the better their chances are for the long term. The opinions of specialists, however, differ when it comes to the right intervention for treating very young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

As Autism Numbers Rise, What Happens When Autistic Children Become Adults?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that one in 88 children in the United States has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The startling statistic has sparked a nation-wide discussion that centers on the causes of autism and the search for a cure. The new statistic has also prompted many in the autism community to wonder if care providers for adults with disabilities like ASD will be prepared to handle what is sure to be a growing amount of autistic adults.

Mothers of Autistic Kids Work and Earn Less
Than Mothers of Normally Developing Kids

Thursday, April 26, 2012

According to a new report, mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) earn nearly $18,000 less than mothers of children that are developing normally. The report, issued from the Center for Autism Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, found the discrepancy to be based on mothers of autistic children not having jobs or working fewer hours.

Michigan Becomes 30th State to Pass Autism Insurance Reform

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In a move fitting for Autism Awareness month, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan Brian Calley signed into law new legislation that requires insurance companies to offer autism treatment coverage for children up to age 18. This makes Michigan the 30th state to enact autism insurance reform, and the first to pass autism insurance reform since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued data detailing the prevalence of autism in the United States.

Autism Awareness Month tips:
Helpful Programs and Apps Designed For Children With Autism

Friday, April 13, 2012

Apps for the iPad, as well as an influx of computer programs and websites, are garnering the attention of educators within the autism community. Educators are finding that students using new technology are able to fully concentrate on a lesson or skill without distractions that can occur when a lesson is conducted by a teacher.

New Tool Reduces Autism Diagnosis From Hours to Minutes

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Researchers at Harvard Medical School are working on a new online tool that will cut the time it takes to diagnose autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from hours to minutes. Autism testing and diagnosis, which is complex and subjective, currently takes up to three hours to administer and often includes a 93-part question survey called the ADI-R. On top of the lengthy testing, there is a delay of up to a year between initial symptom recognition and diagnosis due to waiting times to see a clinical professional that can administer the tests and give a proper diagnosis.

The new approach will use a process of seven questions and a short home video of a child to assess behavioral traits and evaluate the patient. Dennis Wall, associate professor of pathology and director of the Computational Biology Initiative at Harvard Business School, is currently hard at work developing algorithms that will be used to detect autism significantly faster and with accuracy. According to a statement made by the university, this new tool could be integrated into "routine child screening practices to include more of the population at risk." Says Wall, "we believe this approach will make it possible for more children to be accurately diagnosed during the early critical period when behavioral therapies are most effective."

Autism Awareness Month Brings Stark Statistic –
CDC Says One in 88 Children Born with Autism

Friday, April 6, 2012

As April brings us National Autism Awareness Month, the results of a study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that numbers for the disorder are on the rise. On average, one in every 88 children will be born with autism, an increase of 78 percent from previous statistics. The cost of autism cannot be understated -- a child diagnosed with autism will cost the country an average of $3.2 million in medical services, long term care and loss of income, according to a study conducted in 2006. "At one in 88, let me be clear, the United States is experiencing an autism epidemic," said Mark Roithmayr, president of the advocacy organization Autism Speaks. "We are dealing with a national emergency that needs a national strategy."

In order to curtail this epidemic, more needs to be done to better understand the disorder so it can be properly treated. At least one study has found a link between the use of antidepressants (SSRI's) by pregnant women and an increased risk of giving birth to a child with autism. Reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the study found a four-fold increased risk of giving birth to a child with autism if a woman used antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy.

New Data Reports one in 88 Children Born in US have Autism

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In the United States, the number of children diagnosed with autism, or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), continues to rise annually. According to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that one in 88 children born in the U.S. has some form of ASD, marking a 78 percent increase in autism diagnosis since 2002. According to the CDC report, boys continue to outnumber girls in ASD diagnosis by a rate of five to one, meaning that and estimated one out of every 54 American boys will be diagnosed with autism.

New Study on How Babies Learn Language Could Assist in Autism Diagnosis

Thursday, January 12, 2012

study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that infants learn language through lip reading as well as through sound, thus defying the previously held notion that babies learn to speak through sound alone. The study, conducted by a team of scientists from Florida Atlantic University, looked at 89 infants between the ages of 4 months and 12 months, as well as 21 adults. Subjects watched a short video of a woman speaking as the scientists used eye tracking technology to determine where the subjects directed their attention. The data revealed that four-month-old infants, as well as the adults, directed their attention to the woman's eyes. However, the attention of infants between the ages of 6 months and 12 months shifted between the woman's eyes and mouth, which seems to indicate that they are integrating lip reading and sound in an effort to learn words. Babies typically start producing their first words at around 12 months.

Researchers believe the study could be helpful to autism research, because two-year-olds with autism tend to focus their attention on a speaker's mouth rather than on a speaker's eyes, where social information is gathered. A normally developing child will start to focus their attention specifically on the eyes after about 12 months. "Right now, the earliest one can diagnose a child with autism is 18 months, so this could possibly be a way in the future to diagnose infants as early as 12, 13 or 14 months if we find babies are not making a shift back to the eyes around this age," said David Lewkowicz, lead author of the study.

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