More on that Korea Daily mess. Plus early detection of ASD does improve outcomes.

This podcast was going to be dedicated to new early detection research which shows what the USPSTF has been looking for – the link between early detection, early intervention, and improved outcomes in a community setting.  Those findings are still included this week, but there is a slight diversion in theme.  The podcast will also include  an explanation of the immune/microbiome study published in Nature and misrepresented  by Korea Daily.  The study is important, however, the media sensationalized the findings and did the research no favors by labeling it a “major cause”.   Learn what the study did and what it actually discovered in this week’s podcast.


Here are the references of the studies mentioned in the podcast:



Exploiting genetics to understand environmental risks for autism

On March 13th, Dr. Mark Zylka from UNC gave a 60 minute overview of how researchers are using autism-relevant genetic mutations in cells to start to understand the interactions between genetics and thousands of environmental factors on gene expression.  He pointed out the convergence of pathways in how genes and these environmental factors worked in the brain, and they included:  neuroinflammation, early brain development, turning neurons on and off, and cell signaling.  Dr. Valerie Hu from George Washington University commented on the important impact of these results and perspective from her lab studying epigenetically modified genes, like RORA, which also may be sensitive to common chemicals found in our environment.  The entire webinar, including the questions that they were able to answer from participants, is found here.

To see differences in the brains of males and females with autism, you have to look at the brains of males and females with autism

Last month, UC Davis researcher Cyndi Schumann used resources for the Autism BrainNet to look at what causes differences in the rates of diagnosis between males and females.  Consistent with other studies on this topic, males and females don’t show differences in the rates of autism genes, but rather in the way that the brain controls other genes that code for things like neuroinflammation and development.  Clearly more studies are necessary but it is consistent with the Female Protective Effect in autism.  The full text can be found here:

And also, there was a study on genital herpes and autism that CNN got totally wrong.