Signs Of Nonverbal Communication Difficulties
- Avoids eye contact.
- Uses facial expressions that dont match what they are saying
- Doesnt pick up on other peoples facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures.
- Makes very few gestures . May come across as cold or robot-like.
- Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the childs attention.
- Atypical posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the give-and-take of social interaction very difficult.
Does Maternal Weight Affect A Child’s Autism Risk
Research from the University of Utah published in the November 2013 issue of Pediatrics suggests a potential link between excess pregnancy pounds and autism risk. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women gain no more than 35 pounds during pregnancy . In the study, incremental 5-pound increases in weight above ACOG’s recommendation were linked to a slightly higher, yet significant risk for autism.
Previous studies indicate a possible connection to a woman’s pre-pregnancy body mass index , pregnancy weight gain, and a child’s risk of autism. One theory is that excess body fat may change a woman’s hormone levels or cause inflammation that affects fetal brain development. “Obesity rates and autism rates have both gone up over the past decades, yet that doesn’t mean the two are connected,” says Anna Maria Wilms Floet, M.D., a behavioral developmental pediatrician at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore. The bottom line: “Women should watch their weight gain during pregnancy to prevent problems like diabetes and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.
Can Reducing Your Exposure To Air Pollution Help
“Perhaps the most convincing and consistent environmental association with autism risk to date is pregnancy exposure to air pollution,” says Dr. Fallin. Multiple studies have shown this connection:;One by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health;found that the risk doubled for children born to women exposed to high levels of pollution, particularly in the third trimester. The higher the levels of exposure, the greater the risk.
However, that’s just part of the story.
“The challenge has become understanding what component of air pollution may be relevant, as this implicates hundreds of chemicals from multiple sources,” explains Dr. Fallin. In general, the;American Lung Association recommends;several ways to protect yourself from air pollution: for instance, fill your gas tank up after dark, exercise away from highly-trafficked areas and, when pollution levels are high, take your workout indoors. You can check out your daily air quality levels at;www.airnow.gov.
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Treating Infants For Autism May Eliminate Symptoms
Heres how you might be able to turn autism around in a baby: Carefully watch her cues, and push just a little harder with that game of peek-a-boo or This little piggy. But dont push too hard kids with autism are super-sensitive.
Thats what Sally Rogers of the University of California, Davis has found in an intense experiment with the parents of infants who showed clear signs of autism. Its one of the most hopeful signs yet that if you diagnose autism very early, you can help children rewire their brains and reverse the symptoms.
It was a small study, and its very hard to find infants who are likely to have autism, which is usually diagnosed in the toddler years. But the findings, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, offer some hope to parents worried about their babies.
With only seven infants in the treatment group, no conclusions can be drawn, they wrote.
However, the effects were striking. Six out of the seven children in the study had normal learning and language skills by the time they were 2 to 3.
Isabel was one of them.
She is 3 years old now and she is a 100 percent typical, normally developing child, her mother, Megan, told NBC News. The family doesnt want their last name used for privacy reasons.
We dont have to do the therapy any more. It literally rewired her brain.
The signs are not always clear early on. Megan says she and her husband, John, began to be concerned about Isabel when she was 3 months old.
Signs Of Social Difficulties
- Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or whats going on around them.
- Doesnt know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
- Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
- Doesnt play pretend games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
- Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them.
- Doesnt seem to hear when others talk to them.
- Doesnt share interests or achievements with others .
Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.
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Exposure To Radiations Is A Big No
Radiation exposure during pregnancy tops the list of causes of autism in womb. Electromagnetic pollution from electrical appliances and gadgets at home and workplace can inflict great damage to your infant’s brain. So, have a check on the use of electronic and wireless devices during pregnancy to keep your child’s brain cells intact.
Feature Selection For Classification
A common issue in technology-based biological classification studies is the low ratio of sample size to number of collected features which increases the classification error and the risk of data overfitting,,. To treat this issue, a good practice is reducing the dimension of the feature space by finding and dropping irrelevant and redundant features based on some criteria or domain knowledge.
In this study, features were selected by two strategies: the automatic strategy by the Lasso regularization technique, and semi-automatic strategy which consists of a feature preselection based on medical knowledge followed by the Lasso technique. The goal was to compare classification performance with and without human intervention in feature selection and also, the similarity between selected features by those strategies.
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Should You Space Out Your Pregnancies
A study in the;Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry;found that pregnancies spaced between 2 and 5 years apart have the lowest risk of a child developing autism. Researchers found that those children conceived after less than 12 months were 50 percent more likely to end up with a diagnosis as compared with children conceived between that 2-and-5-year time frame, though it’s unclear why.
Meanwhile, those conceived after more than 60 months were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed. However, keep in mind that autism risk increases with both parents’ ages at conception and that a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older. When it comes to timing, work with your doctor to determine the best plan for you and your family.
Ultrasensitive Blood Test May Detect Autism Mutations In Utero
by Nicholette Zeliadt;/;18 July 2019
A blood test can accurately detect whether a fetus carries large mutations of the kind linked to autism, according to findings from a pilot study. The researchers also plan to extend the technique to detect mutations that affect a single DNA base.
They presented the findings yesterday at the 2019 Dup15q Alliance Scientific Symposium in Houston, Texas.
The test is not available to doctors yet, but its creator says it is only a matter of time before it is.
This test will revolutionize prenatal diagnosis, says lead investigator Arthur Beaudet, professor and chair of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Doctors test for major genetic abnormalities whenever an ultrasound scan suggests a fetus is developing atypically. They also test pregnant women who have a family history of genetic conditions, as well as those who are older than 35.
Most tests for genetic disorders require sampling fetal DNA by inserting a needle into the womb a practice that boosts the risk of a miscarriage. More recently, doctors have been able to use a blood test that analyzes fetal DNA floating in the mothers bloodstream. This test can accurately detect major chromosomal abnormalities, such as the one that causes Down syndrome, but it is far less accurate at spotting subtle genetic glitches.
We have to have a noninvasive test thats as good as the invasive test, Beaudet says.
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Accuracy Of Prenatal Genetic Testing For Asd
Genetic testing for autism is becoming more accurate and advanced, but currently there are still restrictions. According to a study chromosomal microarray to detect autism had an overall detection rate of 24.4%. Improvement in testing with exome sequencingwhich looks at more of the genetic code than standard genetic testswill probably improve genetic counseling, meaning autism will be detected with increasing accuracy in fetuses.
Should You Reduce Your Exposure To Chemicals
There seems to be an increased risk for ASD associated with maternal exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy, thought a lot more research needs to be done. For instance,;one recent study;found environmental exposures associated with autism, specifically “traffic-related pollutants, some metals, and several pesticides and phthalates.” It can get confusing to figure out exactly which chemicals, such as those found in flame-retardants, plastics, and even cosmetics, to avoid. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for youyou might want to limit your intake of canned foods, avoid water bottles made of plastic or aluminum, and stay away from personal care products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient.
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Prenatal Test For Autism
Prenatal genetic testing for autism spectrum disorders are clinically available in countries like the US and Taiwan. A study titled Autism Spectrum Disorders: Prenatal Genetic Testing and Abortion Decision-Making among Taiwanese Mothers of Affected Children of Taiwanese mothers suggests about two-thirds of participants would undergo prenatal genetic testing for autism and more than half would terminate a pregnancy showing signs of autism.
One can imagine the other half, choosing not to terminate the hypothetical pregnancy, were plagued with questoins and uncertainty. If and whenand scientists believe this is in the near futurereliable screening for autism becomes available, will these tests become routine? Online forums spell out the moral wrestling of ending a pregnancy after genetic testing finds fetal abnormalities. If a prenatal test for autism becomes routine, how will women deal with finding out their fetus could be on the spectrum?
Biomarkers In Mothers Plasma Could Aid In Early Autism Diagnosis And Intervention
Using machine learning, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute have identified several patterns of maternal autoantibodies highly associated with the diagnosis and severity of autism. Their study, published Jan. 22 in Molecular Psychiatry specifically focused on maternal autoantibody-related autism spectrum disorder , a condition accounting for around 20% of all autism cases.
MIND Institute researchers have identified patterns of maternal autoantibodies highly associated with autism.
The implications from this study are tremendous, said Judy Van de Water, a professor of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology at UC Davis and the lead author of the study. Its the first time that machine learning has been used to identify with 100% accuracy MAR ASD-specific patterns as potential biomarkers of ASD risk.
Autoantibodies are immune proteins that attack a persons own tissues. Previously, Van de Water ;found that a pregnant mothers autoantibodies can react with her growing fetus brain and alter its development.
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What Do The Experts Say
Professor Andrew Whitehead, an authority on childhood health research had this to say:
It is without question that a persons life would be improved if they were free from intellectual;disability,;if they had the facility to communicate more freely, and if they had the capacity to live independently.
To want a person to live without;disability;does not diminish in any way our love for people in these circumstances, nor their irreplaceable importance in our lives.
Only a minority of our community know the challenges of raising a child with;significant;disability. It is just plain wrong for people who have never been in this position to judge the wants and desires of those who have.
People and families with autism, as well as medical experts, would need to be involved in decisions around whether screening for ASD is a good idea or has negative genetic consequences.
We cant screen for it yet, but the consensus is that science will soon be able to find a way, and the problem will move from whether or not we can to whether or we should.
Are We Ready For A Prenatal Screening Test For Autism
Autism was formally described for the first time 71 years ago. The medical notes for “Case one”, a 10-year-old from Mississippi, US, referred to as Donald T, describe a perplexing condition that was different from “anything reported so far”. In 1943, when Donald Triplett was diagnosed, autism was considered extremely rare and treatment consisted of institutionalisation and all too often isolation.
Today we know “autism disorder” as one of a number of autism spectrum disorders alongside Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder and single gene disorders such as Rett syndrome. But of all neuropsychiatric conditions, autism remains one of the least understood.
We now know that genetics almost certainly plays a key role, with researchers finding that if a family has one child with autism, then the likelihood of a future child having the condition is as high as 25%. But to what extent autism is defined by genes remains a mystery.
“Everyone recognises that genes are part of the story but autism isn’t 100% genetic,” says Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. “Even if you have identical twins who share all their genes, you can find that one has autism and one doesn’t. That means that there must be some non-genetic factors.”
David Cox researches neuropsychiatric disorders at Cambridge University, focusing on drug discovery and diagnosis
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New Study Suggests Autism Starts In The Womb
Children with autism have many more brain cells than typically developing children, researchers have found, supporting previous research that suggests that autism may be caused by something going awry before a baby is born as opposed to something triggering autism in a toddler.
Scientists studied the brains of 13 boys and found those with autism had 67% more brain cells than typically developing boys. They specifically looked at the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortexbecause it’s the part that’s responsible for social, emotional, communication and language development. Having too many neurons or nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls the very features that children with autism struggle with may explain the origin of autism, the study suggests.
“In autism something is going terribly wrong with mechanisms that control the number of neurons beginning in prenatal life and may extend to perinatal and early post-natal life,” says lead author Eric Courchesne, Ph.D.; When there are too many brain cells, the brain can’t wire itself up correctly.; If there’s too much wiring in the prefrontal cortex, it could help explain why children with autism have poor social skills, difficulty communicating and why some may never learn to speak at all.
Is There A Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism
An April 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mothers-to-be who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes by their 26th week of pregnancy are 63 percent more likely to have a child with autism. That means for every 1,000 women with gestational diabetes, seven of them may have a child with autism. Researchers speculate that in utero exposure to high blood sugar may affect a baby’s brain development and heighten the risk for developmental disorders.
Earlier studies also have shown a possible connection between high blood sugar during pregnancy and autism risk. The key factor may be how high blood sugar levels get. Interestingly, the JAMA study found that babies born to mothers who had type 2 diabetes before getting pregnant didn’t have a higher risk of autism, perhaps because the women were taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes poses a number of problems for infants, including preterm labor, large birth-weight and an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Moms-to-be have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes, as well. “All expectant women should strive to keep their blood sugar under control, regardless of these study findings,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.
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What Early Signs Of Autism Should I Watch For In My Child
While the causes of autism remain mysterious, the;early signs of autism don’t come out of nowhere. Most parents of autistic children recognize language delays at around 18 months of age. In fact, there are a few red flags that parents can look out for in their child much earlier than that. The;American Academy of Pediatrics says some subtle, early signs of autism to look for before baby is 12 to 18 months old include:
- Your child doesn’t turn when you say his or her name by 12 months
- Your child doesn’t turn to look when you point and say, “Look at”
- Your child doesn’t point to show you interesting objects or events
- Your child doesn’t engage in back-and-forth baby babbling
- Delay in smiling and laughing
- Your child doesn’t make and keep eye contact with people
Other early signs of autism that warrant evaluation by your pediatrician include the following :
- No babbling, pointing or other gestures by 12 months
- No single words by 16 months
- No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months
- Loss of language or social skills at any age