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Video Game Improves Balance in Youth With Autism

Playing a video game that rewards participants for holding various "ninja" poses could help children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) improve their balance, according to a recent study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The research is in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (full access paywall)

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Folic Acid May Mitigate Autism Risk From Pesticides

Researchers at UC Davis and other institutions have shown that mothers who take recommended amounts of folic acid around conception might reduce their children’s pesticide-related autism risk.

The research is in Environmental Health Perspectives. (full open access)

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Autism Severity Detected With Brain Activity Test

UCLA researchers have discovered that children with autism have a tell-tale difference on brain tests compared with other children. Specifically, the researchers found that the lower a child's peak alpha frequency -- a number reflecting the frequency of certain brain waves -- the lower their non-verbal IQ was. This is the first study to highlight peak alpha frequency as a promising biomarker to not only differentiate children with autism from typically developing children, but also to detect the variability in cognitive function among children with autism.

The research is in European Journal of Neuroscience. (full access paywall)

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Eye Test Could Help Diagnose Autism

"These findings build upon a growing field of research that show that eye movement could serve as a window into a part of the brain that plays a role in a number of neurological and development disorders, such as Autism," said John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester Medical Center Del Monte Neuroscience Institute and co-author of the study.

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Autistic Females Show Greater Difficulty With Day to Day Tasks Than Males With ASD

Largest study to date of executive function in females with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) reveals unique challenges in diagnosis and intervention.

The research is in Autism Research. (full access paywall)

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Possible Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Measuring a set of proteins in the blood may enable earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study from the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The research is in _Scientific Reports _. (full open access)

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Serotonin Improves Sociability in Autism: Mouse Study

Scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Japan have linked early serotonin deficiency to several symptoms that occur in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The research is in Science Advances. (full open access)

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Speech and Language Deficits in Children with Autism May Not Cause Tantrums

Speech or language impairments may not be the cause of more frequent tantrums in children with autism, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The findings could help parents of children with autism seek out the best treatment for behavior problems.

The research is in Journal of Development and Physical Disabilities. (full access research)

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For Kids With Autism, Imitation Counts for More Than the Highest Form of Flattery

Nearly 30 percent of children with autism will not have learned to flexibly speak by the end of elementary school. For researchers looking for ways to help, learning when to intervene in the children’s speech development is paramount. New research from The University of Texas at Austin points to children with autism’s imitation behavior as the most important predictor of a key stage in their development toward flexible speech, which gives researchers more clarity about the timing of intervention.

The research is in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (full access paywall)

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Area of the Brain Affected by Autism Detected

Brain researchers at ETH Zurich and other universities have shown for the first time that a region of the brain associated with empathy only activates very weakly in autistic people. This knowledge could help to develop new therapies for those affected by autism.

The research is in Brain. (full open access)
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