Autism Symptoms

You can observe some Autism symptoms in a person as young as two years old and sometimes even younger. Here are the main Autism symptoms that will allow you to identify or wonder if your a member of your family, a friend or anyone else might be affected by this disorder. The severity of these Autism symptoms may vary as each individual is unique. That is why it is evaluated on a spectrum.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Autism Symptoms may be present with difficult birth

Difficult birth or a history of mental illness in a parent may put a baby at greater risk for autism, according to a study that may provide clues to the causes of the devastating neurological disability.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that in a study of 698 Danish children with the developmental disorder, researchers found a disproportionately high number had been born before the 35th week of pregnancy, had suffered from low birth weights and were in a breech position at birth.
The children, all of whom were born after 1972 and diagnosed with autism before 2000, also were more likely to have a parent who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia-like psychosis before the autism was discovered.
The study was partly funded by the CDC and published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Previous research had suggested that perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history and socioeconomic status might represent or include risk factors for autism. The CDC, however, noted that the latest findings did not indicate a definitive link between autism and troubled births or other possible risk factors.
"At this point we don't know for sure if these events are causes, but it certainly points us to look more closely at what happens during pregnancy as a possible opportunity for future prevention," said Diana Schendel, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the authors.
The study came amid growing debate in the United States over the causes of autism, which permanently impairs development of those areas of the brain that control verbal and nonverbal communication as well as social interaction.
About one out of every 250 babies in the nation is born with the disability, which usually appears in the first three years of childhood, according to the Autism Society of America.
Some parents have claimed that their children developed autism due to exposure to childhood vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal, an organic compound that is 49 percent mercury.
Thimerosal was used routinely in the United States between the 1930s and the 1990s to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination of a wide range of infant vaccines, including those for hepatitis B.
Thimerosal is no longer used in childhood vaccines in the United States, but remains in the influenza vaccine and in vaccines in other countries.
The CDC, which launched a campaign earlier this year to make doctors and parents more aware of the need for early diagnosis of autism and other developmental disorders, said it had found no proof of a link between autism and vaccines.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Autism Symptoms leading to boys chromosome

UCLA scientists pinpoint region of autism gene on chromosome 17 Geneaffects boys only -- May explain autism's low incidence ingirls*CONTEXT*Autism is a complex disease caused by the interaction of multiplegenes and environmental influences. As a result, scientists' previousattempts to locate a genetic risk factor have proved inconclusive. Noresearchers have been able to pinpoint a predisposing gene and thenduplicate their efforts – a key piece of proof required forscientific validity. *FINDINGS*For the first time, a team of UCLA geneticists have isolated thelikely region of an autism gene on chromosome 17 and thensuccessfully duplicated their efforts in a separate population. In anearlier discovery, the scientists were surprised to find that the genecontributes to autism only in boys, perhaps explaining why girls havea dramatically lower risk of developing the disease. *IMPACT*After twice linking the risk gene to band 17Q21, the UCLA team is nowconducting DNA testing to identify the precise site on the chromosome,which will bring them closer to finding the gene mutation. This is thefirst step to providing better screening and potential treatments forautism. *AUTHORS*Dr. Dan Geschwind, associate professor of neurology; Rita Cantor,adjunct professor of human genetics; Stan Nelson, professor of humangenetics; Jennifer Stone, graduate student researcher, at the DavidGeffen School of Medicine at UCLA. *JOURNAL*The American Journal of Human Genetics, June 2005

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Autism Symptoms early signs study

TORONTO (CP) - Jodie Kushneryk has already gone through the devastation of learning that her first child is autistic. Now she's facing the possibility her second son may also have the disabling neurological disorder. But the Brantford, Ont., mom hopes groundbreaking Canadian research that has identified early signs of possible autism in siblings could help two-year-old Landon - by giving him a head-start with behavioural therapy even before a definitive diagnosis is made.
"It's really too early yet to see if, in fact, Landon does have autism or not," said Kushneryk, noting that he's far ahead of where her seven-year-old son Lukas was at that age, but is behind in language development.
"I'm just concerned. I want some help as soon as I can."
To that end, she agreed to have Landon participate in a multi-centre study that has enrolled 200 Canadian families with an autistic child and a younger sibling. So far, the researchers have found that even at six to 12 months of age, there are certain behaviours that distinguished siblings who were later diagnosed with autism.
"Quite a significant number of children who can be diagnosed at the age of two to three do have early behavioural clues that one can detect by the age of 12 months," said Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, a developmental pediatrician at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton and co-lead author of the study.
Those early signs include decreased eye contact, diminished social smiling and low social response, "so when you're playing peek-a-boo, for example, the child is not as responsive," he said Thursday. "It takes more effort to get a response."
Other signs include extreme reactivity, with the child becoming "very distressed" by people approaching or a new toy. Some children may be under-reactive, not exploring the room with their eyes or not making typical facial expressions when playing.
The researchers also found the children have a tendency to fixate on objects and have trouble with language and communication.
Zwaigenbaum said the ultimate goal of the research is to better understand the early development of autism in children within the general population and to develop interventions to help restrict disability. (Families with an autistic child have a five to 10 per cent higher risk of having another child with the condition, a rate of recurrence about 50 times higher than the general population.)
"Most of what we know about the early signs of autism at this point comes from parents looking back at what their children were like earlier in life or looking at home videotape studies," he said.
"But being able to observe for ourselves . . . allows us to get a better picture of what autism might look like earlier in life. And because siblings are at higher risk, it allows us to have the opportunity to identify some children who have autism, whereas in the general community, one would need to work with thousands of children even to identify a small number."
Autism, an incurable condition believed to be genetic in origin, affects about one in 500 individuals worldwide and is four times more common in boys than girls. Intense behavioural therapy has been found to help improve social and learning abilities, but experts say that for most autistic people, the condition continues to have some impact throughout life.
Dr. Jessica Brian, a psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children and one of the researchers, is working with Toronto-area families in the study, assessing their youngsters for possible signs of autism.
Once specific areas of concern are determined, she and her hospital colleagues work with the child to change behaviour. For instance, if a child is wary of eye contact, they might tempt the child with a favourite toy or a tickle game, then pause to prompt visual communication.
"We would try to solicit eye contact by putting our face close to theirs and making our face animated, and as soon as the baby looks, we continue the game," said Brian, calling the therapy a form of positive reinforcement.
Much is still to be learned about autism. If children are genetically predisposed to the disorder, they're likely born with a different way of perceiving the world and interacting with people, she said.
"So we feel that if we get in sooner and teach them the most typical ways of understanding the world, we can help change the developmental trajectory they're headed on."
Researchers at Dalhousie University's IWK Health Centre in Halifax are also collaborating on the study. Preliminary results dealing with 70 children are published in this month's International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience.