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26.  The Relationship between Comprehension of Figurative Language by Japanese Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders and College Freshmen's Assessment of Its Conventionality of Usage 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:480635.
Unlike their English-speaking counterparts, Japanese children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs) perform as well as typically developing (TD) children in comprehending metaphor, despite lacking 1st order theory of mind (ToM) reasoning. Additionally, although Japanese sarcasm and “indirect reproach” appear theoretically to need 2nd order ToM reasoning, HFASD children without this comprehended these forms of language as well as TD children. To attempt to explain this contradiction, we asked college freshmen to evaluate the strangeness (unconventionality) of these types of figurative language. We aimed to test the hypothesis that metaphor, sarcasm, and “indirect reproach” might be evaluated as more conventional than irony, which children with HFASDs do not comprehend as well as those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The results for irony, metaphor, and “indirect reproach” supported the hypothesis, while those for sarcasm did not. Sarcasm is comprehended by HFASDs children as well as by TD children despite being evaluated as highly unconventional. This contradiction is discussed from a self-in-relation-to-other perspective. We postulate that a new explanation of disabilities of figurative language comprehension in children with HFASDs is needed instead of relying on a single cognitive process.
PMCID: PMC3830864  PMID: 24288607
27.  Effectiveness of Methylcobalamin and Folinic Acid Treatment on Adaptive Behavior in Children with Autistic Disorder Is Related to Glutathione Redox Status 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:609705.
Treatments targeting metabolic abnormalities in children with autism are limited. Previously we reported that a nutritional treatment significantly improved glutathione metabolism in children with autistic disorder. In this study we evaluated changes in adaptive behaviors in this cohort and determined whether such changes are related to changes in glutathione metabolism. Thirty-seven children diagnosed with autistic disorder and abnormal glutathione and methylation metabolism were treated with twice weekly 75 µg/Kg methylcobalamin and twice daily 400 µg folinic acid for 3 months in an open-label fashion. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS) and glutathione redox metabolites were measured at baseline and at the end of the treatment period. Over the treatment period, all VABS subscales significantly improved with an average effect size of 0.59, and an average improvement in skills of 7.7 months. A greater improvement in glutathione redox status was associated with a greater improvement in expressive communication, personal and domestic daily living skills, and interpersonal, play-leisure, and coping social skills. Age, gender, and history of regression did not influence treatment response. The significant behavioral improvements observed and the relationship between these improvements to glutathione redox status suggest that nutritional interventions targeting redox metabolism may benefit some children with autism.
PMCID: PMC3810468  PMID: 24224089
28.  Parasympathetic Response Profiles Related to Social Functioning in Young Children with Autistic Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:868396.
Psychophysiology studies of heart rate and heart rate variability can be employed to study regulatory processes in children with autism. The objective of this study was to test for differences in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA; a measure of heart rate variability) and to examine the relationship between physiologic responses and measures of social behavior. Participants included 2- to 6-year-old children with Autistic Disorder and children without autism. Heart rate and RSA were derived from ECG recordings made during a baseline period and then a stranger approach paradigm. Social and adaptive behavior was assessed by parent report. Groups did not differ in mean heart rate or RSA at baseline or in response to social challenge. However, children with autism were more likely to show a physiologic response to intrusive portions of the stranger approach than to less intrusive portions of this procedure. Nonautistic children were equally likely to respond to intrusive and less intrusive social events. Within the autistic group, physiologic response to the intrusive stranger approach corresponded to higher ratings of social adaptive behaviors. These results suggest that physiologic responses to social challenge may help understand differences in social behavioral outcomes in children with autism.
PMCID: PMC3794559  PMID: 24175094
29.  Neuropathology and Animal Models of Autism: Genetic and Environmental Factors 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:731935.
Autism is a heterogeneous behaviorally defined neurodevelopmental disorder. It is defined by the presence of marked social deficits, specific language abnormalities, and stereotyped repetitive patterns of behavior. Because of the variability in the behavioral phenotype of the disorder among patients, the term autism spectrum disorder has been established. In the first part of this review, we provide an overview of neuropathological findings from studies of autism postmortem brains and identify the cerebellum as one of the key brain regions that can play a role in the autism phenotype. We review research findings that indicate possible links between the environment and autism including the role of mercury and immune-related factors. Because both genes and environment can alter the structure of the developing brain in different ways, it is not surprising that there is heterogeneity in the behavioral and neuropathological phenotypes of autism spectrum disorders. Finally, we describe animal models of autism that occur following insertion of different autism-related genes and exposure to environmental factors, highlighting those models which exhibit both autism-like behavior and neuropathology.
PMCID: PMC3787615  PMID: 24151553
30.  Epigenetics and Autism 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:826156.
This review identifies mechanisms for altering DNA-histone interactions of cell chromatin to upregulate or downregulate gene expression that could serve as epigenetic targets for therapeutic interventions in autism. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) can phosphorylate histone H3 at T6. Aided by protein kinase Cβ1, the DNMT lysine-specific demethylase-1 prevents demethylation of H3 at K4. During androgen-receptor-(AR-) dependent gene activation, this sequence may produce AR-dependent gene overactivation which may partly explain the male predominance of autism. AR-dependent gene overactivation in conjunction with a DNMT mechanism for methylating oxytocin receptors could produce high arousal inputs to the amygdala resulting in aberrant socialization, a prime characteristic of autism. Dysregulation of histone methyltransferases and histone deacetylases (HDACs) associated with low activity of methyl CpG binding protein-2 at cytosine-guanine sites in genes may reduce the capacity for condensing chromatin and silencing genes in frontal cortex, a site characterized by decreased cortical interconnectivity in autistic subjects. HDAC1 inhibition can overactivate mRNA transcription, a putative mechanism for the increased number of cerebral cortical columns and local frontal cortex hyperactivity in autistic individuals. These epigenetic mechanisms underlying male predominance, aberrant social interaction, and low functioning frontal cortex may be novel targets for autism prevention and treatment strategies.
PMCID: PMC3787640  PMID: 24151554
31.  Presence of Contagious Yawning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:971686.
Most previous studies suggest diminished susceptibility to contagious yawning in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, it could be driven by their atypical attention to the face. To test this hypothesis, children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children were shown yawning and control movies. To ensure participants' attention to the face, an eye tracker controlled the onset of the yawning and control stimuli. Results demonstrated that both TD children and children with ASD yawned more frequently when they watched the yawning stimuli than the control stimuli. It is suggested therefore that the absence of contagious yawning in children with ASD, as reported in previous studies, might relate to their weaker tendency to spontaneously attend to others' faces.
PMCID: PMC3736493  PMID: 23970970
32.  Sensory Response Patterns in Nonverbal Children with ASD 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:436286.
We sought to examine concurrent and longitudinal associations between sensory response patterns (i.e., hyperresponsiveness, hyporesponsiveness, and sensory seeking) and verbal status of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a potential factor influencing the development of verbal communication. Seventy-nine children with ASD (verbal, n = 29; nonverbal, n = 50) were assessed using cross-sectional analyses (Study 1), and 14 children with ASD (verbal, n = 6; nonverbal, n = 8) were assessed using prospective longitudinal analyses (Study 2). Data were collected regarding sensory response patterns and verbal ability. Hyporesponsiveness and sensory seeking behaviors were associated with verbal status in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses; nonverbal children were more likely to demonstrate higher hyporesponsive and sensory seeking patterns. Hyperresponsiveness did not significantly differ between verbal and nonverbal groups in either design. Sensory hyporesponsiveness and seeking behaviors may be important factors hindering the development of functional verbal communication in children with ASD. Unusual sensory responsiveness can often be observed before the onset of speech and may yield important prognostic capabilities as well as inform early interventions targeting verbal communication or alternative communication options in young children with ASD.
PMCID: PMC3727194  PMID: 23956859
33.  Theory of Mind Deficit versus Faulty Procedural Memory in Autism Spectrum Disorders 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:128264.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have impairments in social interaction, communicative capacity, and behavioral flexibility (core triad). Three major cognitive theories (theory of mind deficit, weak central coherence, and executive dysfunction) seem to explain many of these impairments. Currently, however, the empathizing-systemizing (a newer version of the theory of mind deficit account) and mnesic imbalance theories are the only ones that attempt to explain all these core triadic symptoms of ASD On the other hand, theory of mind deficit in empathizing-systemizing theory is the most influential account for ASD, but its counterpart in the mnesic imbalance theory, faulty procedural memory, seems to occur earlier in development; consequently, this might be a better solution to the problem of the etiology of ASD, if it truly meets the precedence criterion. Hence, in the present paper I review the reasoning in favor of the theory of mind deficit but with a new interpretation based on the mnesic imbalance theory, which posits that faulty procedural memory causes deficits in several cognitive skills, resulting in poor performance in theory of mind tasks.
PMCID: PMC3687595  PMID: 23862063
34.  Comparison of Adaptive Behavior Measures for Children with HFASDs 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:415989.
Adaptive behavior rating scales are frequently used to gather information on the adaptive functioning of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs), yet little is known about the extent to which these measures yield comparable results. This study was conducted to (a) document the parent-rated VABS-II, BASC-2, and ABAS-II adaptive behavior profiles of 6- to 11-year-olds with HFASDs (including relative strengths and weaknesses); (b) examine the extent to which these measures yielded similar scores on comparable scales; and (c) assess potential discrepancies between cognitive ability and adaptive behavior across the measures. All three adaptive measures revealed significant deficits overall for the sample, with the VABS-II and ABAS-II indicating relative weaknesses in social skills and strengths in academic-related skills. Cross-measure comparisons indicated significant differences in the absolute magnitude of scores. In general, the VABS-II yielded significantly higher scores than the BASC-2 and ABAS-II. However, the VABS-II and ABAS-II yielded scores that did not significantly differ for adaptive social skills which is a critical area to assess for children with HFASDs. Results also indicated significant discrepancies between the children's average IQ score and their scores on the adaptive domains and composites of the three adaptive measures.
PMCID: PMC3683422  PMID: 23819048
35.  Reciprocity in Interaction: A Window on the First Year of Life in Autism 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:705895.
From early infancy onwards, young children appear motivated to engage reciprocally with others and share psychological states during dyadic interactions. Although poor reciprocity is one of the defining features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), few studies have focused on the direct assessment of real-life reciprocal behavior; consequently, our knowledge of the nature and the development of this core feature of autism is still limited. In this study, we describe the phenomenon of reciprocity in infant-caregiver interaction by analyzing family movies taken during the first year of life of 10 infants with ASD and 9 infants with typical development (TD). We analyzed reciprocal behaviors by means of a coding scheme developed for this purpose (caregiver-infant reciprocity scale (CIRS)). Infants with ASD displayed less motor activity during the first semester and subsequently fewer vocalizations, compared to TD infants. Caregivers of ASD infants showed in the second semester shorter periods of involvement and a reduction of affectionate touch. These results suggest that from the first months of life a nonsynchronic motor-vocal pattern may interfere in different ways with the development of reciprocity in the primary relationship between infants later diagnosed with ASD and their caregivers.
PMCID: PMC3671510  PMID: 23762551
36.  Prevalence and Predictors of Psychotropic Use in Children with High-Functioning ASDs 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:384527.
This study examined (1) the prevalence of psychotropic medication use for a sample of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs), (2) the extent to which psychotropic agents were linked to targeted symptoms, and (3) predictors of psychotropic use. A total of 115 children, ages 6–13, with HFASDs who were enrolled in psychosocial treatment trials were included in this study. Parents completed extensive background and rating forms prior to treatment that included data on demographic characteristics, child health, child medication use, and child ASD-related symptoms. Results indicated that 33% (n = 38) of the sample was taking psychotropic medication with the most common being stimulants (25%; n = 29), antidepressants (10%; n = 12), and neuroleptics (6%; n = 7). All children taking stimulants had target symptoms that were appropriate for stimulant medication, whereas 57% of those taking neuroleptics and 42% of those taking antidepressants did not have targeted symptoms consistent with the medication. Logistic regression for the major psychotropic drug categories indicated that lower IQ was a significant predictor of increased antidepressant and neuroleptic use. A higher level of ASD-related symptoms was related to the likelihood of stimulant use.
PMCID: PMC3671274  PMID: 23762550
37.  Validation of Autism Spectrum Quotient Adult Version in an Australian Sample 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:984205.
The Autism Spectrum Quotient is used to assess autistic spectrum traits in intellectually competent adults in both the general population and the autism spectrum community. While the autism spectrum Quotient has been validated in several different cultures, to date no study has assessed the psychometrics of the Autism Spectrum Quotient on an Australian population. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychometrics of the autism spectrum Quotient in an Australian sample of both typically developing individuals (n = 128) and individuals with autism spectrum disorder (n = 104). The results revealed that the internal consistency and the test-retest reliability were satisfactory; individuals with autism spectrum disorder scored higher on total Autism Spectrum Quotient score and its subscales than typically developing individuals; however, gender differences were not apparent on total score. Possible cultural differences may explain some of the psychometric variations found. The results of this analysis revealed that the Autism Spectrum Quotient was a reliable instrument for investigating variation in autistic symptomology in both typically developing and Autism Spectrum Disorders populations within an Australian population.
PMCID: PMC3665170  PMID: 23762552
38.  Early Infant Exposure to Excess Multivitamin: A Risk Factor for Autism? 
Autism Research and Treatment  2013;2013:963697.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects boys more than girls, is often associated with altered levels of monoamines (serotonin and catecholamines), especially elevated serotonin levels. The monoamines act as both neurotransmitters and signaling molecules in the gastrointestinal and immune systems. The evidence related to monoamine metabolism may be summarized as follows: (i) monoamine neurotransmitters are enzymatically degraded/inactivated by three mechanisms: oxidative deamination, methylation, and sulfation. The latter two are limited by the supply of methyl groups and sulfate, respectively. (ii) A decrease in methylation- and sulfation-mediated monoamine inactivation can be compensated by an increase in the oxidative deamination catalyzed by monoamine oxidase, an X-linked enzyme exhibiting higher activity in females than in males. (iii) Vitamins can, on one hand, facilitate the synthesis of monoamine neurotransmitters and, on the other hand, inhibit their inactivation by competing for methylation and sulfation. Therefore, we postulate that excess multivitamin feeding in early infancy, which has become very popular over the past few decades, may be a potential risk factor for disturbed monoamine metabolism. In this paper, we will focus on the relationship between excess multivitamin exposure and the inactivation/degradation of monoamine neurotransmitters and its possible role in the development of autism.
PMCID: PMC3603653  PMID: 23533752
39.  Atypical Functional Connectivity of the Amygdala in Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders during Spontaneous Attention to Eye-Gaze 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:652408.
We examined functional connectivity of the amygdala in preadolescent children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) during spontaneous attention to eye-gaze in emotional faces. Children responded to a target word (“LEFT/RIGHT”) printed on angry or fearful faces looking in a direction that was congruent, incongruent, or neutral with the target word. Despite being irrelevant to the task, gaze-direction facilitated (Congruent > Neutral) or interfered with (Incongruent > Congruent) performance in both groups. Despite similar behavioral performance, amygdala-connectivity was atypical and more widespread in children with ASD. In control children, the amygdala was more strongly connected with an emotional cognitive control region (subgenual cingulate) during interference, while during facilitation, no regions showed greater amygdala connectivity than in ASD children. In contrast, in children with ASD the amygdala was more strongly connected to salience and cognitive control regions (posterior and dorsal cingulate) during facilitation and with regions involved in gaze processing (superior temporal sulcus), cognitive control (inferior frontal gyrus), and processing of viscerally salient information (pregenual cingulate, anterior insula, and thalamus) during interference. These findings showing more widespread connectivity of the amygdala extend past findings of atypical functional anatomy of eye-gaze processing in children with ASD and challenge views of general underconnectivity in ASD.
PMCID: PMC3544253  PMID: 23326662
40.  A Review of Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:870391.
Given the severe and chronic problems associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the limitations of available treatments, there exists a large public health need for additional interventions. As more parents are inquiring about complementary and alternative treatments (CATs), both parents and practitioners require up-to-date information about them and whether and how to integrate them into treatment. After presenting data on CAT usage patterns for ASD, we review 13 ingestible (i.e., orally administered) and 6 noningestible (i.e., externally administered) CATs for ASD. For each CAT we briefly describe its definition; rationale for use; current research support, limitations, and future directions; safety issues; and whether we currently recommend, not recommend, or find it acceptable for the treatment of ASD. We conclude this paper with recommendations for future research and ten clinical recommendations for practitioners.
PMCID: PMC3515887  PMID: 23243505
41.  Telehealth for Expanding the Reach of Early Autism Training to Parents 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:121878.
Although there is consensus that parents should be involved in interventions designed for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), parent participation alone does not ensure consistent, generalized gains in children's development. Barriers such as costly intervention, time-intensive sessions, and family life may prevent parents from using the intervention at home. Telehealth integrates communication technologies to provide health-related services at a distance. A 12 one-hour per week parent intervention program was tested using telehealth delivery with nine families with ASD. The goal was to examine its feasibility and acceptance for promoting child learning throughout families' daily play and caretaking interactions at home. Parents became skilled at using teachable moments to promote children's spontaneous language and imitation skills and were pleased with the support and ease of telehealth learning. Preliminary results suggest the potential of technology for helping parents understand and use early intervention practices more often in their daily interactions with children.
PMCID: PMC3512210  PMID: 23227334
42.  What Works for You? Using Teacher Feedback to Inform Adaptations of Pivotal Response Training for Classroom Use 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:709861.
Several evidence-based practices (EBPs) have been identified as efficacious for the education of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, effectiveness research has rarely been conducted in schools and teachers express skepticism about the clinical utility of EBPs for the classroom. Innovative methods are needed to optimally adapt EBPs for community use. This study utilizes qualitative methods to identify perceived benefits and barriers of classroom implementation of a specific EBP for ASD, Pivotal Response Training (PRT). Teachers' perspectives on the components of PRT, use of PRT as a classroom intervention strategy, and barriers to the use of PRT were identified through guided discussion. Teachers found PRT valuable; however, they also found some components challenging. Specific teacher recommendations for adaptation and resource development are discussed. This process of obtaining qualitative feedback from frontline practitioners provides a generalizable model for researchers to collaborate with teachers to optimally promote EBPs for classroom use.
PMCID: PMC3506866  PMID: 23209896
43.  Investigating the Relationship between Self-Injurious Behavior, Social Deficits, and Cooccurring Behaviors in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:156481.
Research suggests that self-injurious behavior (SIB) is related to social deficits and cooccurring problem behaviors in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. A sample of 95 participants with ASD was assessed on presence and frequency of SIB (Behavior Problems Inventory), social deficits (the Matson Evaluation of Social Skills with Youngsters-II) and cooccurring problem behaviors (ASD-Comorbidity-Child version). A model was created and tested to explain the relationship between these variables. Results showed that the model was acceptable in presenting the relationships between these variables. This information could be used to help predict which individuals are at risk of developing further cooccurring behavioral problems and determine risk markers for the development of social deficits.
PMCID: PMC3502765  PMID: 23193469
44.  Facing Your Fears in Adolescence: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders and Anxiety 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:423905.
Adolescents with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are at high risk for developing psychiatric symptoms, with anxiety disorders among the most commonly cooccurring. Cognitive behavior therapies (CBTs) are considered the best practice for treating anxiety in the general population. Modified CBT approaches for youth with high-functioning ASD and anxiety have resulted in significant reductions in anxiety following intervention. The purpose of the present study was to develop an intervention for treating anxiety in adolescents with ASD based on a CBT program designed for school-aged children. The Facing Your Fears-Adolescent Version (FYF-A) program was developed; feasibility and acceptability data were obtained, along with initial efficacy of the intervention. Twenty-four adolescents, aged 13–18, completed the FYF-A intervention. Results indicated significant reductions in anxiety severity and interference posttreatment, with low rates of anxiety maintained at 3-month follow-up. In addition, nearly 46% of teen participants met criteria for a positive treatment response on primary diagnosis following the intervention. Initial findings from the current study are encouraging and suggest that modified group CBT for adolescents with high-functioning ASD may be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Limitations include small sample size and lack of control group. Future directions are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3471403  PMID: 23091719
45.  Visual Scanning Patterns during the Dimensional Change Card Sorting Task in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:123053.
Impaired cognitive flexibility in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been reported in previous literature. The present study explored ASD children's visual scanning patterns during the Dimensional Change Card Sorting (DCCS) task using eye-tracking technique. ASD and typical developing (TD) children completed the standardized DCCS procedure on the computer while their eye movements were tracked. Behavioral results confirmed previous findings on ASD children's deficits in executive function. ASD children's visual scanning patterns also showed some specific underlying processes in the DCCS task compared to TD children. For example, ASD children looked shorter at the correct card in the postswitch phase and spent longer time at blank areas than TD children did. ASD children did not show a bias to the color dimension as TD children did. The correlations between the behavioral performance and eye moments were also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3459256  PMID: 23050145
46.  Safety and Observations in a Pilot Study of Lenalidomide for Treatment in Autism 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:291601.
Autism affects 1 : 88 children in the United States. Familial history of autoimmune disease, autoantibodies in the serum of mothers when there is more than one autistic offspring, and neuroglial response in CSF and brain tissue in autistic patients suggest an immunological variable may be associated with this condition. Lenalidomide has the potential to invoke changes in TNF-α with less toxicity than thalidomide. This pilot study evaluated lenalidomide at reduction of TNF-α and improvement of behavior and language in children with autism with elevated TNF-α. Subjects with elevated TNF-α were given 2.5 mgs lenalidomide daily for 12-weeks. Pharmacodynamics and safety was evaluated. Changes in language and autistic behaviors after six and twelve weeks were measured. Although statistical significance was not achieved for most measures, there were trends toward improvement. After 6-weeks, mean receptive language increased: 60.67 ± 12.06 to 65.00 ± 15.10 (P = 0.11) and symptoms of autism decreased (40.75 ± 5.96 versus 38.67 ± 7.90, P = 0.068). After 12-weeks, CSF-TNF-α declined 57% ± 25% from 80.5 ± 41.03 to 38.0 ± 31.27 (P = 0.068). Serum TNF-α declined 57% (92.50 ± 68.92 to 40.25 ± 44.53 (P = 0.048). This study suggests that lenalidomide is tolerated as a treatment by children with autism and should be further studied as a potential agent for cytockine inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3446644  PMID: 22997574
47.  Autism: Where Genetics Meets the Immune System 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:486359.
PMCID: PMC3440848  PMID: 22988503
48.  Mood Disorders in Mothers of Children on the Autism Spectrum Are Associated with Higher Functioning Autism 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:435646.
Mood disorders occur more frequently in family members of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than in the general population. There may be associations between maternal mood disorder history patterns and specific ASD phenotypes. We therefore examined the relationship between maternal mood disorders and child autism spectrum disorders in 998 mother-child dyads enrolled in a national online autism registry and database. Mothers of children with ASD completed online questionnaires addressing their child's ASD as well as their own mood disorder history. In multivariate logistic regression models of ASD diagnoses, the odds of an Asperger disorder versus autistic disorder diagnosis were higher among those children whose mothers had a lifetime history of bipolar disorder (OR 2.11, CI 1.20, 3.69) or depression (OR 1.62, CI 1.19, 2.19). Further, maternal mood disorder onset before first pregnancy was associated with higher odds (OR 2.35, CI 1.48, 3.73) of an Asperger versus autism diagnosis among this sample of children with ASD. These data suggest that differences in maternal mood disorder history may be associated with ASD phenotype in offspring.
PMCID: PMC3426171  PMID: 22934172
49.  Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: Claims versus Evidence 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:839792.
The purpose of this paper is to review and critique studies that have been conducted on dolphin-assisted therapy for children with various disorders. Studies have been released claiming swimming with dolphins is therapeutic and beneficial for children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, physical disabilities, and other psychological disorders. The majority of the studies conducted supporting the effectiveness of dolphin-assisted therapy have been found to have major methodological concerns making it impossible to draw valid conclusions. Readers will be informed of the history of, theory behind, and variations of dolphin-assisted therapy along with a review and critique of studies published which purportedly support its use.
PMCID: PMC3420785  PMID: 22928101
50.  Identification of Four Novel Synonymous Substitutions in the X-Linked Genes Neuroligin 3 and Neuroligin 4X in Japanese Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:724072.
Mutations in the X-linked genes neuroligin 3 (NLGN3) and neuroligin 4X (NLGN4X) were first implicated in the pathogenesis of X-linked autism in Swedish families. However, reports of mutations in these genes in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients from various ethnic backgrounds present conflicting results regarding the etiology of ASD, possibly because of genetic heterogeneity and/or differences in their ethnic background. Additional mutation screening study on another ethnic background could help to clarify the relevance of the genes to ASD. We scanned the entire coding regions of NLGN3 and NLGN4X in 62 Japanese patients with ASD by polymerase chain reaction-high-resolution melting curve and direct sequencing analyses. Four synonymous substitutions, one in NLGN3 and three in NLGN4X, were identified in four of the 62 patients. These substitutions were not present in 278 control X-chromosomes from unrelated Japanese individuals and were not registered in the database of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms build 132 or in the Japanese Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms database, indicating that they were novel and specific to ASD. Though further analysis is necessary to determine the physiological and clinical importance of such substitutions, the possibility of the relevance of both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions with the etiology of ASD should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3420546  PMID: 22934180

Results 26-50 (90)