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Molecular Autism

Dorothea L Floris, Meng-Chuan Lai, Tanmay Nath, Michael P Milham, Adriana Di Martino
Background: The male predominance in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has motivated research on sex differentiation in ASD. Multiple sources of evidence have suggested a neurophenotypic convergence of ASD-related characteristics and typical sex differences. Two existing, albeit competing, models provide predictions on such neurophenotypic convergence. These two models are testable with neuroimaging. Specifically, the Extreme Male Brain (EMB) model predicts that ASD is associated with enhanced brain maleness in both males and females with ASD (i...
2018: Molecular Autism
Melanie Penner, Evdokia Anagnostou, Wendy J Ungar
Background: Inefficient diagnostic practices for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may contribute to longer wait times, delaying access to intervention. The objectives were to describe the diagnostic practices of Canadian pediatricians and to identify determinants of longer wait time for ASD diagnosis. Methods: An online survey was conducted through the Canadian Paediatric Society's developmental pediatrics, community pediatrics, and mental health sections. Participants were asked for demographic information, whether they diagnosed ASD, and elements of their diagnostic assessment...
2018: Molecular Autism
Federica Filice, Emanuel Lauber, Karl Jakob Vörckel, Markus Wöhr, Beat Schwaller
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by two core symptoms: impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests. The pathophysiology of ASD is not yet fully understood, due to a plethora of genetic and environmental risk factors that might be associated with or causal for ASD. Recent findings suggest that one putative convergent pathway for some forms of ASD might be the downregulation of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV)...
2018: Molecular Autism
Katherine B Martin, Zakia Hammal, Gang Ren, Jeffrey F Cohn, Justine Cassell, Mitsunori Ogihara, Jennifer C Britton, Anibal Gutierrez, Daniel S Messinger
Background: Deficits in motor movement in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have typically been characterized qualitatively by human observers. Although clinicians have noted the importance of atypical head positioning (e.g. social peering and repetitive head banging) when diagnosing children with ASD, a quantitative understanding of head movement in ASD is lacking. Here, we conduct a quantitative comparison of head movement dynamics in children with and without ASD using automated, person-independent computer-vision based head tracking (Zface)...
2018: Molecular Autism
Fu-Sun Lo, Reha S Erzurumlu
Background: Met receptor tyrosine kinase regulates neurogenesis, differentiation, migration, connectivity, and synaptic plasticity. The human Met gene has been identified as a prominent risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Met gene-altered mice serve as useful models for mechanistic studies of ASD. Inactivation of Met in excitatory cortical neurons in mice ( Emx1 cre /Met flox mice) yields a phenotype in which significantly decreased GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition shifts the excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance toward excitation in the somatosensory cortex...
2018: Molecular Autism
Stavros Stivaros, Shruti Garg, Maria Tziraki, Ying Cai, Owen Thomas, Joseph Mellor, Andrew A Morris, Carly Jim, Karolina Szumanska-Ryt, Laura M Parkes, Hamied A Haroon, Daniela Montaldi, Nicholas Webb, John Keane, Francisco X Castellanos, Alcino J Silva, Sue Huson, Stephen Williams, D Gareth Evans, Richard Emsley, Jonathan Green
Background: Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a monogenic model for syndromic autism. Statins rescue the social and cognitive phenotype in animal knockout models, but translational trials with subjects > 8 years using cognition/behaviour outcomes have shown mixed results. This trial breaks new ground by studying statin effects for the first time in younger children with NF1 and co-morbid autism and by using multiparametric imaging outcomes. Methods: A single-site triple-blind RCT of simvastatin vs...
2018: Molecular Autism
Attia Anwar, Provvidenza Maria Abruzzo, Sabah Pasha, Kashif Rajpoot, Alessandra Bolotta, Alessandro Ghezzo, Marina Marini, Annio Posar, Paola Visconti, Paul J Thornalley, Naila Rabbani
Background: Clinical chemistry tests for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are currently unavailable. The aim of this study was to explore the diagnostic utility of proteotoxic biomarkers in plasma and urine, plasma protein glycation, oxidation, and nitration adducts, and related glycated, oxidized, and nitrated amino acids (free adducts), for the clinical diagnosis of ASD. Methods: Thirty-eight children with ASD (29 male, 9 female; age 7.6 ± 2.0 years) and 31 age-matched healthy controls (23 males, 8 females; 8...
2018: Molecular Autism
Dai-Hua Lu, Hsiao-Mei Liao, Chia-Hsiang Chen, Huang-Ju Tu, Houng-Chi Liou, Susan Shur-Fen Gau, Wen-Mei Fu
Background: Impaired social interaction is one of the essential features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our previous copy number variation (CNV) study discovered a novel deleted region associated with ASD. One of the genes included in the deleted region is ARHGEF10 . A missense mutation of ARHGEF10 has been reported to be one of the contributing factors in several diseases of the central nervous system. However, the relationship between the loss of ARHGEF10 and the clinical symptoms of ASD is unclear...
2018: Molecular Autism
Bart Boets, Lien Van Eylen, Kevin Sitek, Pieter Moors, Ilse Noens, Jean Steyaert, Stefan Sunaert, Johan Wagemans
Background: One of the most reported neural features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the alteration of multiple long-range white matter fiber tracts, as assessed by diffusion-weighted imaging and indexed by reduced fractional anisotropy (FA). Recent methodological advances, however, have shown that this same pattern of reduced FA may be an artifact resulting from excessive head motion and poorer data quality and that aberrant structural connectivity in children with ASD is confined to the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF)...
2018: Molecular Autism
Gregor Kohls, Ligia Antezana, Maya G Mosner, Robert T Schultz, Benjamin E Yerys
Background: Neurobiological research in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has paid little attention on brain mechanisms that cause and maintain restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests (RRBIs). Evidence indicates an imbalance in the brain's reward system responsiveness to social and non-social stimuli may contribute to both social deficits and RRBIs. Thus, this study's central aim was to compare brain responsiveness to individual RRBI (i.e., circumscribed interests), with social rewards (i...
2018: Molecular Autism
Maria E Verhoeff, Laura M E Blanken, Desana Kocevska, Viara R Mileva-Seitz, Vincent W V Jaddoe, Tonya White, Frank Verhulst, Maartje P C M Luijk, Henning Tiemeier
Background: Sleep difficulties are prevalent in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The temporal nature of the association between sleep problems and ASD is unclear because longitudinal studies are lacking. Our aim is to clarify whether sleep problems precede and worsen autistic traits and ASD or occur as a consequence of the disorder. Methods: Repeated sleep measures were available at 1.5, 3, 6, and 9 years of age in 5151 children participating in the Generation R Study, a large prospective birth cohort in the Netherlands...
2018: Molecular Autism
E Loth, L Garrido, J Ahmad, E Watson, A Duff, B Duchaine
Background: Impairments in social communication are a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Because the ability to infer other people's emotions from their facial expressions is critical for many aspects of social communication, deficits in expression recognition are a plausible candidate marker for ASD. However, previous studies on facial expression recognition produced mixed results, which may be due to differences in the sensitivity of the many tests used and/or the heterogeneity among individuals with ASD...
2018: Molecular Autism
Nora Urraca, Kevin Hope, A Kaitlyn Victor, T Grant Belgard, Rawaha Memon, Sarita Goorha, Colleen Valdez, Quynh T Tran, Silvia Sanchez, Juanma Ramirez, Martin Donaldson, Dave Bridges, Lawrence T Reiter
Background: The inability to analyze gene expression in living neurons from Angelman (AS) and Duplication 15q (Dup15q) syndrome subjects has limited our understanding of these disorders at the molecular level. Method: Here, we use dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) from AS deletion, 15q Duplication, and neurotypical control subjects for whole transcriptome analysis. We identified 20 genes unique to AS neurons, 120 genes unique to 15q duplication, and 3 shared transcripts that were differentially expressed in DPSC neurons vs controls...
2018: Molecular Autism
Katherine Kuhl-Meltzoff Stavropoulos, Leslie J Carver
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition, and multiple theories have emerged concerning core social deficits. While the social motivation hypothesis proposes that deficits in the social reward system cause individuals with ASD to engage less in social interaction, the overly intense world hypothesis (sensory over-responsivity) proposes that individuals with ASD find stimuli to be too intense and may have hypersensitivity to social interaction, leading them to avoid these interactions...
2018: Molecular Autism
Anneke de Boer, Karlijn Vermeulen, Jos I M Egger, Joost G E Janzing, Nicole de Leeuw, Hermine E Veenstra-Knol, Nicolette S den Hollander, Hans van Bokhoven, Wouter Staal, Tjitske Kleefstra
Background: Genetic mosaicism is only detected occasionally when there are no obvious health or developmental issues. Most cases concern healthy parents in whom mosaicism is identified upon targeted testing of a genetic defect that was initially detected in their children. A germline genetic defect affecting the euchromatin histone methyltransferase 1 (EHMT1) gene causes Kleefstra syndrome, which is associated with the typical triad of distinct facial appearance, (childhood) hypotonia, and intellectual disability...
2018: Molecular Autism
Kristin A Bakke, Patricia Howlin, Lars Retterstøl, Øivind J Kanavin, Arvid Heiberg, Terje Nærland
Background: Autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy often co-occur; however, the extent to which the association between autism symptoms and epilepsy is due to shared aetiology or to the direct effects of seizures is a topic of ongoing debate. Angelman syndrome (AS) is presented as a suitable disease model to explore this association. Methods: Data from medical records and questionnaires were used to examine the association between age of epilepsy onset, autism symptoms, genetic aberration and communication level...
2018: Molecular Autism
Heidi Elisabeth Nag, Ann Nordgren, Britt-Marie Anderlid, Terje Nærland
Background: A substantial amount of research shows a higher rate of autistic type of problems in males compared to females. The 4:1 male to female ratio is one of the most consistent findings in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Lately, the interest in studying ASD in genetic disorders has increased, and research has shown a higher prevalence of ASD in some genetic disorders than in the general population.Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) is a rare and complex genetic syndrome caused by an interstitial deletion of chromosome 17p11...
2018: Molecular Autism
Kit San Yeung, Winnie Wan Yee Tso, Janice Jing Kun Ip, Christopher Chun Yu Mak, Gordon Ka Chun Leung, Mandy Ho Yin Tsang, Dingge Ying, Steven Lim Cho Pei, So Lun Lee, Wanling Yang, Brian Hon-Yin Chung
Background: Macrocephaly, which is defined as a head circumference greater than or equal to + 2 standard deviations, is a feature commonly observed in children with developmental delay and/or autism spectrum disorder. Although PTEN is a well-known gene identified in patients with this syndromic presentation, other genes in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signalling pathway have also recently been suggested to have important roles. The aim of this study is to characterise the mutation spectrum of this group of patients...
2017: Molecular Autism
Sebastien Levy, Marlena Duda, Nick Haber, Dennis P Wall
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis can be delayed due in part to the time required for administration of standard exams, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Shorter and potentially mobilized approaches would help to alleviate bottlenecks in the healthcare system. Previous work using machine learning suggested that a subset of the behaviors measured by ADOS can achieve clinically acceptable levels of accuracy. Here we expand on this initial work to build sparse models that have higher potential to generalize to the clinical population...
2017: Molecular Autism
Ting Ting Lee, Efstratios Skafidas, Mirella Dottori, Daniela Zantomio, Christos Pantelis, Ian Everall, Gursharan Chana
Background: While evidence for white matter and astrocytic abnormalities exist in autism, a detailed investigation of astrocytes has not been conducted. Such an investigation is further warranted by an increasing role for neuroinflammation in autism pathogenesis, with astrocytes being key players in this process. We present the first study of astrocyte density and morphology within the white matter of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in individuals with autism. Methods: DLPFC formalin-fixed sections containing white matter from individuals with autism ( n  = 8, age = 4-51 years) and age-matched controls ( n  = 7, age = 4-46 years) were immunostained for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)...
2017: Molecular Autism
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