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Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

Date Last Revised: 
June 18, 2014

In research lies hope for the future…

Parents and teachers, pediatricians and therapists – all of those who have a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their lives – are seeking answers. Some progress has been made, but there is still so much we don’t know about these baffling disorders.

Discover the latest autism research

  • Twins Study Finds Large Genetic Influence in Autism
    What plays a bigger role in autism, genetics or environment? Scientists don't agree on the answer, but the debate just got more attention with the arrival of a new study of twins. When you look at extreme autism symptoms, genetics plays almost the only role, it concludes.

  • Scientists Start with One Gene in Hunt for Autism Subtype
    Scientists often make discoveries by starting with a set of symptoms and looking for the cause. But some autism researchers worked in reverse: they began with a mutated gene and then looked for its symptoms. In so doing, they found a subtype of autism with its own traits.

  • Brain Donation More Important Than Ever
    There is a severe shortage of brain tissue for research. Brain tissue must be retrieved within 24 hours of a donor’s death, and brain tissue donation is a separate process from organ donation. Because it has been so difficult for researchers to procure brain tissue without advance registration, It Takes Brains seeks to make the public, especially families affected by autism, aware of the promise of brain research and the critical need for people to register to donate brain tissue.
     
  • Rethinking Head Size in Autism: Scientists question statistics on "early brain overgrowth"
    For years researchers have said children with autism are more likely to have large heads, a phenomenon they attributed to "early brain overgrowth." But now several scientists are questioning assumptions about brain overgrowth and autism, especially how common it is. Their stories spotlight the important ways science reconsiders evidence in the search for answers.

  • Good News for Late Talkers: More Children with Autism Learn to Speak Than Previously Believed
    Researchers found that most young children with autism and severe language delay developed "phrase or fluent" speech by age 8, with almost half achieving fluent speech. These findings suggest that a greater percentage of children with autism "may be capable of attaining phrase speech than previously reported."
     
  • When a Psychiatric Crisis Hits: Children with Autism in the Emergency Room
    Dr. Roma Vasa and Luther Kalb discuss the first large study of psychiatric-related Emergency Room visits for children with autism. The study reached interesting conclusions about how often children with autism visit the ER and why their insurance might play a role.
     
  • The Critical Role of Tissue Donation in Finding Answers to Autism
    Scientists hope to unlock the secrets of autism by examining brain tissue for differences that cannot be detected by imaging scans, but they face a shortage of donated tissue, according to H. Ronald Zielke, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders.
     
  • New Findings on ASD Traits in Siblings
    Dr. John Constantino explains important new findings on autistic traits in siblings of children with ASD, as well as the under-identification of girls with ASD.
     
  • A Unified Genetic Theory for Sporadic and Inherited Autism
    Dr. Michael Wigler and his colleagues propose a groundbreaking new theory on the genetics of autism. This is the first research paper to be published based, in part, on IAN data.
     
  • A Good Night's Sleep. Why is it so hard to get?
    Beth A. Malow, MD, MS discusses her research on ASDs and sleep disorders.
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