Hear what you missed if you were unable to attend the Seaver Autism Conference on September 25th! Dr. David Skuse discusses “where are all the girls with autism”, summarizing evidence that some girls with high verbal IQ and autism might be missed, suggesting genes associated with high IQ may be protective against a diagnosis until adolescence. Also, ASF grantee Dr. Jennifer Foss-Feig describes how biomarkers can be used to improve personalized medicine. Finally, a summary and review of the new air pollution systematic review and meta analysis. Limited evidence does not equal none, and air pollution is a real problem. Here is a link to the paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161851. All in 12 minutes.
Cognitive ability, measured by intellectual quotient or IQ, has been thought to predict response to intervention, social abilities, adaptive behavior and long term outcome. Numerous studies have shown that it can influence what is labeled as a good outcome. However, two studies this week point out how those across the spectrum in cognitive ability still benefit from early intervention and make friends on the playground. In both studies, there were factors that were more important for outcome than IQ. So it may be an important factor in outcome, but not the only factor.
This week I am in Minneapolis at an incredibly important meeting of Medical Examiners to pitch them the importance of collecting brain tissue for Autism BrainNet. While I was here I noticed a new study on the blogs that is important for families to hear about. It focused on a known environmental exposure in established genetic groups. The authors of the study, led by Dr. Sara Webb at University of Washington, showed that an environmental exposure can modify symptoms in genetically susceptible narrow subgroups. This is the sort of research that will better describe how environmental exposures are affecting autism risk. Thank you to Dr. Sara Webb for your perspectives and interpretation of the data!