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Autism and environment

Cally Kent, Reinie Cordier, Annette Joosten, Sarah Wilkes-Gillan, Anita Bundy
BACKGROUND/AIM: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently demonstrate impaired play skills and poor quality social interactions compared to typically developing peers. Complex interventions to improve play skills should be investigated with randomised control trials (RCT) where possible to support evidence-based practice for occupational therapists. Prior to a RCT, multiple feasibility studies are recommended to identify barriers to the trial. The aim of this study is to adapt a complex intervention to improve play skills in children with ASD and investigate the feasibility of conducting a RCT...
March 11, 2018: Australian Occupational Therapy Journal
Amy L Harbison, Tiffany G Woynaroski, Jon Tapp, Joshua W Wade, Anne S Warlaumont, Paul J Yoder
Children's vocal development occurs in the context of reciprocal exchanges with a communication partner who models "speechlike" productions. We propose a new measure of child vocal reciprocity, which we define as the degree to which an adult vocal response increases the probability of an immediately following child vocal response. Vocal reciprocity is likely to be associated with the speechlikeness of vocal communication in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two studies were conducted to test the utility of the new measure...
March 6, 2018: Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research
Samantha J Teague, Louise K Newman, Bruce J Tonge, Kylie M Gray
This paper investigates the role of caregiver mental health and parenting practices as predictors of attachment in children with intellectual disability/developmental delay, comparing between children with ASD (n = 29) and children with other developmental disabilities (n = 20). Parents reported that children with ASD had high levels of anxiety and stress, and attachment insecurity in children (less closeness and more conflict in attachment relationships, and more inhibited attachment behaviours) compared with children with other developmental disabilities...
March 2, 2018: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Bianca Acevedo, Elaine Aron, Sarah Pospos, Dana Jessen
During the past decade, research on the biological basis of sensory processing sensitivity (SPS)-a genetically based trait associated with greater sensitivity and responsivity to environmental and social stimuli-has burgeoned. As researchers try to characterize this trait, it is still unclear how SPS is distinct from seemingly related clinical disorders that have overlapping symptoms, such as sensitivity to the environment and hyper-responsiveness to incoming stimuli. Thus, in this review, we compare the neural regions implicated in SPS with those found in fMRI studies of-Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Schizophrenia (SZ) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to elucidate the neural markers and cardinal features of SPS versus these seemingly related clinical disorders...
April 19, 2018: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Young-A Lee, Tsukasa Obora, Laura Bondonny, Amelie Toniolo, Johanna Mivielle, Yoshie Yamaguchi, Akemi Kato, Masatoshi Takita, Yukiori Goto
Population density has been suggested to affect social interactions of individuals, but the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. In contrast, neurotransmission of monoamines such as serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) has been demonstrated to play important roles in social behaviors. Here, we investigated whether housing density affected social interactions of rodents and non-human primates housed in groups, and its correlations with monoamines. Japanese macaques exhibited higher plasma 5-HT, but not DA, concentrations than rhesus macaques...
February 22, 2018: Scientific Reports
Brian C Shonesy, Walker P Parrish, Hala K Haddad, Jason R Stephenson, Rita Báldi, Rebecca J Bluett, Christian R Marks, Samuel W Centanni, Oakleigh M Folkes, Keeley Spiess, Shana M Augustin, Ken Mackie, David M Lovinger, Danny G Winder, Sachin Patel, Roger J Colbran
BACKGROUND: Endocannabinoid signaling plays an important role in regulating synaptic transmission in the striatum, a brain region implicated as a central node of dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder. Deficits in signaling mediated by the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) have been reported in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder, but a causal role for striatal 2-AG deficiency in phenotypes relevant to autism spectrum disorder has not been explored. METHODS: Using conditional knockout mice, we examined the electrophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral effects of 2-AG deficiency by deleting its primary synthetic enzyme, diacylglycerol lipase α (DGLα), from dopamine D1 receptor-expressing or adenosine A2a receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons (MSNs) to determine the role of 2-AG signaling in striatal direct or indirect pathways, respectively...
December 28, 2017: Biological Psychiatry
Beth Pfeiffer, Aimee Piller, Laura Slugg, Chengshi Shiu
The Participation and Sensory Environment Questionnaire: Home Scales (P-SEQ): Home Scales is a parent report tool designed to assess the impact of the sensory environment on participation in daily activities in the home of children with and without autism spectrum disorder. A cross-sectional study was completed to determine internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and examine item distribution. A total of 304 parents of children between the ages of 2 and 7 years of age completed the P-SEQ: Home Scales...
February 16, 2018: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Laura A Schieve, Stuart K Shapira
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a prevalent developmental disorder. Studies indicate that while ASD etiology has a genetic component, the risk is polygenic, with gene-environment interactions being likely. The prenatal period is a critical exposure window for nongenetic risk factors. Previous studies have found positive associations between congenital malformations (all types) and ASD; a few also found specific associations between genitourinary system malformations and ASD; and one study found an association between hypospadias and ASD...
February 14, 2018: American Journal of Epidemiology
Maria Bove, Kevin Ike, Adriaan Eldering, Bauke Buwalda, Sietse F de Boer, Maria Grazia Morgese, Stefania Schiavone, Vincenzo Cuomo, Luigia Trabace, Martien J H Kas
Disrupted sociability and consequent social withdrawal are (early) symptoms of a wide variety of neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, depressive disorders and Alzheimer's disease. The paucity of objective measures to translationally assess social withdrawal characteristics has been an important limitation to study this behavioral phenotype, both in human and rodents. The aim of the present study was to investigate sociability and social withdrawal in rodents using an ethologically valid behavioral paradigm, the Visible Burrow System (VBS)...
February 6, 2018: Behavioural Brain Research
Brittany D Needham, Weiyi Tang, Wei-Li Wu
Social impairment is one of the major symptoms in multiple psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Accumulated studies indicate a crucial role for the gut microbiota in social development, but these mechanisms remain unclear. This review focuses on two strategies adopted to elucidate the complicated relationship between gut bacteria and host social behavior. In a top-down approach, researchers have attempted to correlate behavioral abnormalities with altered gut microbial profiles in rodent models of ASD, including BTBR mice, maternal immune activation (MIA), maternal valproic acid (VPA) and maternal high-fat diet (MHFD) offspring...
February 7, 2018: Developmental Neurobiology
Melanie Ring, Sebastian B Gaigg, Olivier de Condappa, Jan M Wiener, Dermot M Bowler
To resolve some of the inconsistencies in existing research into spatial navigation in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we tested two large age- and ability-matched groups of ASD and typically developing (TD) participants for their spatial navigation abilities in a route learning task, which has been shown to shed light on the strategies participants employ when navigating complex environments. Participants studied a route through a virtual maze by watching a short video of a first-person perspective navigating a maze...
February 5, 2018: Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research
Benjamin L Handen, Carla A Mazefsky, Robin L Gabriels, Kahsi A Pedersen, Meredith Wallace, Matthew Siegel
Limited information about self-injurious behavior (SIB) is known for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who require intensive behavioral health interventions. We examined risk-factors for SIB in 302 individuals with ASD (ages 4-20) admitted to six specialized psychiatric inpatient units. Seventy-four percent were reported by a caregiver to display SIB, however, only 25% were observed to engage in daily SIB during hospitalization. Those exhibiting SIB across environments had significantly higher ratings on caregiver questionnaires of SIB severity...
January 24, 2018: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Ying Wang, Li Wang, Qian Xu, Dong Liu, Lihong Chen, Nikolaus F Troje, Sheng He, Yi Jiang
The ability to detect biological motion (BM) and decipher the meaning therein is essential to human survival and social interaction. However, at the individual level, we are not equally equipped with this ability. In particular, impaired BM perception and abnormal neural responses to BM have been observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by devastating social deficits. Here, we examined the underlying sources of individual differences in two abilities fundamental to BM perception (i...
January 22, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Chinatsu Hayashibara, Masatoshi Inagaki, Maiko Fujimori, Yuji Higuchi, Masaki Fujiwara, Seishi Terada, Hitoshi Okamura, Yosuke Uchitomi, Norihito Yamada
OBJECTIVE: Recently, rehabilitation therapists have become involved in cancer rehabilitation; however, no communication skills training that increases the ability to provide emotional support for cancer patients has been developed for rehabilitation therapists. In addition, no study has examined associations between rehabilitation therapists' communication skills and their level of autistic-like traits (ALT), which are in-born characteristics including specific communication styles and difficulty communicating with patients...
January 21, 2018: Palliative & Supportive Care
Cristan Farmer, Lauren Swineford, Susan E Swedo, Audrey Thurm
BACKGROUND: Adaptive behavior, or the ability to function independently in ones' environment, is a key phenotypic construct in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Few studies of the development of adaptive behavior during preschool to school-age are available, though existing data demonstrate that the degree of ability and impairment associated with ASD, and how it manifests over time, is heterogeneous. Growth mixture models are a statistical technique that can help parse this heterogeneity in trajectories...
January 5, 2018: Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Sheena Louise Forsberg, Mirolyuba Ilieva, Tanja Maria Michel
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 68 children in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is characterized by impairments in social interactions and communication, restrictive and repetitive patterns of behaviors, and interests. Owing to disease complexity, only a limited number of treatment options are available mainly for children that alleviate but do not cure the debilitating symptoms. Studies confirm a genetic link, but environmental factors, such as medications, toxins, and maternal infection during pregnancy, as well as birth complications also play a role...
January 10, 2018: Translational Psychiatry
Mahfuz Hassan, Andrea Simpson, Katey Danaher, James Haesen, Tanya Makela, Kendra Thomson
Limited research has explored how to best train caregivers to support their child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) despite caregivers being well suited to promote generalization and maintenance of their child's skills in the natural environment. Children with ASD have been shown to benefit from social skill training, which is not always conducted in the natural context. This research examined the efficacy of behavioral skills training (BST) with, and without in situ training (IST), for teaching caregivers how to also use BST to support their child's context-specific social skills...
January 6, 2018: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Elizabeth Edmiston, Karen L Jones, Tam Vu, Paul Ashwood, Judy Van de Water
Several groups have described the presence of fetal brain-reactive maternal autoantibodies in the plasma of some mothers whose children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We previously identified seven autoantigens targeted by these maternal autoantibodies, each of which is expressed at significant levels in the developing brain and has demonstrated roles in typical neurodevelopment. To further understand the binding repertoire of the maternal autoantibodies, as well as the presence of any meaningful differences with respect to the recognition and binding of these ASD- specific autoantibodies to each of these neuronal autoantigens, we utilized overlapping peptide microarrays incubated with maternal plasma samples obtained from the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) Study...
December 28, 2017: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Stefanie C Bodison, L Diane Parham
This systematic review examined the effectiveness of specific sensory techniques and sensory environmental modifications to improve participation of children with sensory integration (SI) difficulties. Abstracts of 11,436 articles published between January 2007 and May 2015 were examined. Studies were included if designs reflected high levels of evidence, participants demonstrated SI difficulties, and outcome measures addressed function or participation. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Seven studies evaluated effects of specific sensory techniques for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Qigong massage, weighted vests, slow swinging, and incorporation of multisensory activities into preschool routines...
January 2018: American Journal of Occupational Therapy: Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association
Jason D Cooper, Sureyya Ozcan, Renee M Gardner, Nitin Rustogi, Susanne Wicks, Geertje F van Rees, F Markus Leweke, Christina Dalman, Håkan Karlsson, Sabine Bahn
In the present study, we tested whether there were proteomic differences in blood between schizophrenia patients after the initial onset of the disorder and controls; and whether those differences were also present at birth among neonates who later developed schizophrenia compared to those without a psychiatric admission. We used multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry to quantify 77 proteins (147 peptides) in serum samples from 60 first-onset drug-naive schizophrenia patients and 77 controls, and 96 proteins (152 peptides) in 892 newborn blood-spot (NBS) samples collected between 1975 and 1985...
December 18, 2017: Translational Psychiatry
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