Hip hip hooray for toddler interventions for autism

As always, good news and bad news in autism this week.  First the good news:  an intervention given between 9-14 months of age in children with a high probability of having an autism diagnosis improved autism symptoms at 3 years of age.  Now the bad:  mothers who experience severe childhood abuse are more likely to have a child with an autism diagnosis.  Why?  A new study explains it might have a lot to do with autism traits in the parents.  We would love to hear your thoughts on the results, please provide them in the comment section.

Why is there a link between c-sections and autism?

Happy New Year!  Over the holiday break, a the largest study so far including the most number of countries analyzed the risk of having a c-section and autism.  They found a consistent increase risk that wasn’t due to cause of the c-section or the age of the infant (preemie or term).  So what is going on?  This week’s podcast warns against the unintended consequences of linking c-sections to autism and offers an explanation of the findings in addition to what the study authors provide.

Unfortunate new risk discovered for people with autism and their siblings

In addition to risks of anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders and other psychiatric issues, people with autism (and their siblings) show increased risk of substance abuse issues.  This information comes from a large scandanavian registry study that included over 26,000 individuals with ASD.  On this week’s podcast I discuss what this means for people with autism and their family members.

Making sense of toxic chemicals and risk of autism

On Monday the 1st, a consensus statement from over 50 expert scientists was published that collectively emphasized the link between toxic chemicals and neurodevelopment disorders like autism, learning disabilities and ADHD.  In this podcast, we want to help you understand why this is relevant for autism.  If you want to learn more about this statement and read about specific actions that can be taken to minimize exposures to these chemicals, go to www.projecttendr.com.  We will also be having a live chat about it on July 11th at 2PM EST.

Autism genes that are seen in everyone

This was a very genetics-centric week because of two exciting new publications that focused on genetic risk factors.  In the first, Dr. William Brandler at UCSD demonstrates that mutations in autism risk genes come in all sorts of different forms, but they must be in the right genes to lead to a diagnosis.  Just having different mutations is not enough. Also,  in an intriguing analysis led by Dr. Elise Robinson at the Broad Institute (and also summarized on SpectrumNews), she looked at these autism risk genes in people without autism and found that we all have them.  Reiterating what Dr. Brandler found, she showed that the spectrum of autism genetics may be broader than the spectrum of an autism diagnosis.  It may explain symptoms of autism without a diagnosis in family members as well.