Measuring fetal head growth during pregnancy could help doctors identify which children are at risk of ASD. Researchers found fetuses with narrower heads during mid-gestation are more likely to be diagnosed with autism during childhood. The head development abnormalities appear to be sex-specific, with males and females showing different head shapes. Additionally, the head abnormalities appear to be related to the severity of ASD symptoms.
A new study reveals up to 30% of children diagnosed with autism had less severe symptoms at age six than they did at age three. In some cases, children lost their autism diagnoses entirely. Girls are more likely to show a greater reduction in autism symptoms and less of a rise in the severity of symptoms than boys on the autism spectrum.
Children whose mothers had a sibling on the autism spectrum were three times as likely to be diagnosed with ASD than those whose mothers had no siblings with autism. Fathers with one or more siblings diagnosed with ASD were twice as likely to have a child diagnosed as autistic.
Study points to a common gene expression profile, regardless of DNA mutations, applicable to any person on the autism spectrum. The dysregulation occurs in neural progenitor cells. While the genetic cause of ASD may be different between individuals, the behavior of the genes is similar in people with autism, and differ from those who are not on the autism spectrum.
Maternal inflammation has been linked to a range of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in children, including autism and schizophrenia. A new mouse study reveals maternal responses and subsequent developmental disorders are based on the mother's immunoreactivity to infection.
Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus affects the brain, in addition to the lungs. Researchers are examining the threat COVID-19 posses to long term brain health. They speculate maternal inflammation could lead to an increased risk of autism-like behaviors and neurodevelopment deficits in children born to mothers diagnosed with coronavirus. Other studies are exploring how the virus may spread in the nervous system via synaptic transmission.
Lower levels of vasopressin were present in the cerebrospinal fluid of infants who later went on to be diagnosed with autism.