Autism News

Browse our library of news below or learn more about autism symptoms, diagnosis and causes.

Autism Associated With Higher Levels of TV Viewing

 

Too much TV could be a trigger for autism according to a group of Cornell University business professors.

Late last year a study found evidence that gives support to the idea that childhood autism could be triggered by toddlers watching too much television. So we have another factor to add to the already confusing question of what is causing the ever increasing number of autism cases.

For a long time autism was thought to be an entirely genetic condition and research efforts were mainly focused in this area. Over the years however, a growing body of research has built up that suggests the involvement of various environmental triggers in causing the illness. Now there is a growing consensus that autistic spectrum disorders are the result of an interaction between environmental factors and genetic susceptibilities. So could too much TV viewing be added to the list of potential environmental triggers which includes heavy metal poisoning, vaccinations, and chemicals such as organophosphate pesticides?

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Major genetic clue to autism uncovered

 

An international research effort has found genes that may significantly increase the risk for developing autism.

Hot on the heals of the disclosure by medical authorities that autism rates are increasing even more rapidly than previously thought, a major breakthrough in the understanding of the genetics of the condition was announced yesterday.

The research that led to the discovery involved a major international collaboration of more than 130 researchers from 50 institutions in eight countries. The effort was coordinated by the Autism Genome Project, a large-scale, collaborative genetics research project initiated by the National Alliance for Autism Research and the National Institutes of Health, which is aimed at sifting through the human genome in search of autism-susceptibility genes.

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New Focus on Environmental Factors in Autism

 

The Autism Society of America (ASA) launches magazine special edition and new web based campaign focusing on the role environmental toxins play in the illness.

For far too long now, research funding and effort has concentrated on genetic aspects of autism. The general feeling in the medical community has been that the condition is entirely predetermined by a child's genes before birth and there's nothing that can be done about it medically. Over the years however, considerable evidence has accumulated pointing at various environmental factors that seem to play a role in autism.

The Autism Society of America has launched a special edition of their magazine the Autism Advocate and launched a new environmental health section on their website to help highlight the environmental links to autism and raise awareness of them.

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Autism linked to fatty nerve cell coating

 

New research may explain why more boys are affected by autism than girls.

There is no doubt that autism affects boys more than it does girls with most authorities putting that ratio at 4:1. Scientists have been unsure about the reasons for this uneven distribution for a long time. Now, research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the US, has uncovered a possible explanation. The research also sheds light on underlying mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders.

The researchers looked at the protective coating around the delicate axons which extend from nerve cells in the brain. This insulating jacket around the axons, known as myelin, is made predominantly from fatty substances, including cholesterol, and is essential for ensuring proper communication between cells, and therefore brain function as a whole.

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