Autism News

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

Autism symptoms improved by fever


New research comes to the surprising conclusion that children with autism improve when they have a fever.

Although it may have grabbed fewer headlines compared to mercury and vaccines, many parents of autistic children have noticed that when their child has a fever, the severity of their autstic traits seems to diminish. Many will have dismissed te observation as a strange quirk but now scientists say there is something to it.

The research, involving 30 children with autism spectrum disorders, is published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics. Parents were required to observe changes in symptoms during and immediately after their child experienced a fever of 100.4oF or greater, and for seven days once the fever had cleared up.

The parents were then asked to complete standardized questionnaires designed to capture data about the childrens behaviour as the fever progressed and once they had recovered. Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders who did not experience fever were also asked to complete the same questionnaires at three set time points to act as controls in the study.

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Recruiting starts for study into genetic and environmental factors in autism


Reserchers this week started recruiting for the largest study to date investigating the genetic and environmental factors that may cause autism and other developmental disabilities.

Children between ages two and four with autism and other neuro-developmental disorders as well as children with normal development are being recruited from six different areas around the United States.

A total of 2700 children and their parents will be involved in the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) which is aiming to shed light on how genetics and environmental factors interact to cause problems with neuro-development that result in the symptoms of autism and other disorders.

The study is being funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is the largest of its kind to date. Research will be conducted at major medical institutions including the California Department of Public Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Doctors call for early autism screening


A leading pediatricians group in the US is calling for early screening of every child for autism to catch the condition early and provide the best chances of successful intervention.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released two new reports at its annual meeting in San Francisco on Monday. The reports provide detailed inormation on symptoms to look out for and the call for early screening for autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and are also set to appear in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The latest reports are part of a strong push by the group to have all children in the US screened for autism twice by the time they are 2 years old. Autism is now estimated to affect 1 in 150 children.

The news will be welcomed by many autism advocacy groups. It is widely thought that early diagnosis and behavioural therapy give autistic children the best chance of leading relatively normal lives. As yet however, there is a suprising lack of research to confirm this.

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New genetic information on autism released to researchers worldwide


An autism advocacy and research group has announced that it has completed the first full genome scan for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The Autism Consortium, which includes researchers, doctors and families of autistic children, this week announced the completion of its first genome scan of autistic children and their families. The scan is part of its Autism Gene Discovery Project and the group has released all of the data to researchers worldwide through a central database.

The Gene Discovery Project is the first comprehensive genetic association study to examine the entire human genome for clues to autism.

This vitally important research data has been added to the database before it has been published in a scientific journal. Such a sharing of information is extremely rare in the scientific research community and underlines The Autism Consortium's determination to advance the understanding of autism.

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New web site helps parents identify signs of autism


Spotting the signs of autism in their children may now be easier for parents with the launch of a new web based video glossary of autistic behaviours.

The glossary launched yesterday as a new addition to the Autism Speaks web site at and is backed by First Signs. Both are nonprofit advocacy groups.

The new feature offers a collection of more than a hundred video clips contrasting the behaviour of autistic children with that of healthy kids. Some of the autistic traits are subtle and require the narrator to point them out; others are immediately obvious.

Despite improvements in diagnosis in recent years, the signs of autism are still missed by parents, and even doctors. It is hoped this new tool, which is already generating huge media attention, will help people recognize hard to spot autistic behaviours. This in turn would lead to early diagnosis and treatment which is essential to giving the child the best chance of leading a more normal life.

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