Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dramatic rise in autism prevalence parallels research explosion

Date:
November 26, 2012
Source:
Autism Speaks
Summary:
A researcher has described the dramatic progress in autism research paralleling increased recognition of autism's prevalence and financial impact. She notes funding for autism research hasn't kept pace with the increasing scale of the public health challenges posed by autism and more research is needed on prenatal and early postnatal brain development, on gene and environmental risk factors, treatment and adults with autism.

This month's issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry features an editorial commentary by Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. In it, Dr. Dawson describes how the dramatic progress in autism research has paralleled increased recognition of autism's prevalence and financial impact.

"This issue of the journal features three articles on autism," she writes in her editorial. "A decade ago, the journal published about the same number of autism articles per year."

Dr. Dawson also notes that, while the funding for autism research has dramatically increased over the last decade, it hasn't kept pace with the increasing scale of the public health challenges posed by autism.

Despite an increase in research and funding, "we yet to fully describe the causes of ASD or developed effective medical treatments for it," Dr. Dawson writes. "[This issue's] articles point to an urgent need for more research on prenatal and early postnatal brain development in autism, with a focus on how genes and environmental risk factors combine to increase risk for ASD."

In one of the three articles, scientists report a three-fold increase in autism risk associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy and the first year of life. The study's lead author, Heather Volk, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the recipient of an Autism Speaks research grant to study autism risk and gene-environment interactions involving air pollution. (Free full text here.)

A second report confirms an association between autism and changes in immune function. The study is the first to use new brain imaging techniques to demonstrate immune function changes in adults with autism. Specifically, it looked at microglial activation in the brain. Microglial cells are the brain's first and primary immune defense.

The third study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the size of the cerebral cortex (cortical volume) in ASD. It compared the cortical volume of young men on the autism spectrum with that of their unaffected peers. The study's key finding is that autism-associated differences in brain volume reflect differences in surface area, not cortical thickness. This sheds light on mechanisms that might account for early brain overgrowth in individuals with ASD.

"More research is needed to develop strategies for preventing or reducing the disabling symptoms associated with this highly prevalent and costly neurodevelopmental disorder," Dr. Dawson concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Autism Speaks. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Geraldine Dawson et al. Dramatic Increase in Autism Prevalence Parallels Explosion of Research Into Its Biology and CausesAutism Prevalence, Research Into Biology/Causes. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.488

Cite This Page:

Autism Speaks. "Dramatic rise in autism prevalence parallels research explosion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164308.htm>.
Autism Speaks. (2012, November 26). Dramatic rise in autism prevalence parallels research explosion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164308.htm
Autism Speaks. "Dramatic rise in autism prevalence parallels research explosion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126164308.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins