Researchers have made an important step forward in understanding the complex genetic structure of autism spectrum disorders.
The causes of autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are complex, and contain elements of both nature (genes) and the environment. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Autism shows that common genetic polymorphisms (genetic variation) can add up to an increased risk of ASD.
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a genetic mutation that may underlie common behaviors seen in some people with autism, such as difficulty communicating and resistance to change.
University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered a genetic signal common to both cerebral palsy and autism.
For the first time, scientists have discovered that five major psychiatric disorders—autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia—share several common genetic risk factors.
Just last week, U.S. health authorities announced that autism is more common than previously thought. About 1 in 88 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder, according to the report. Autism spectrum disorders are developmental conditions associated with impaired social communication and repetitive behaviors or fixated interests. Diagnoses have risen 78% since 2000, partly because of greater awareness, and partly for reasons entirely unknown. Most medications don't help, and while some find improvements with intense (and expensive) behavioral therapy, there is no cure.
Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesises Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study.
A review of the genetic and biochemical abnormalities associated with autism reveals a possible link between the widely diagnosed neurological disorder and Type 2 diabetes, another medical disorder on the rise in recent decades.