AUTISM RELATED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Am J Psychiatry. 2011 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Total Population Sample.
Kim YS, Leventhal BL, Koh YJ, Fombonne E, Laska E, Lim EC, Cheon KA, Kim SJ, Kim YK,
Lee H, Song DH, Grinker RR.
Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; and the Korea Institute for Children's
Social Development and Rudolph Child Research Center, Seoul, South Korea.
Objective: Experts disagree about the causes and significance of the recent increases in the
prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Limited data on population base rates
contribute to this uncertainty. Using a population-based sample, the authors sought to estimate
the prevalence and describe the clinical characteristics of ASDs in school-age children.
Method: The target population was all 7- to 12-year-old children (N=55,266) in a South
Korean community; the study used a high-probability group from special education schools
and a disability registry and a low-probability, general-population sample from regular schools.
To identify cases, the authors used the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire for
systematic, multi-informant screening. Parents of children who screened positive were offered
comprehensive assessments using standardized diagnostic procedures. Results: The
prevalence of ASDs was estimated to be 2.64% (95% CI=1.91-3.37), with 1.89% (95% CI=1.
43-2.36) in the general-population sample and 0.75% (95% CI=0.58-0.93) in the high-
probability group. ASD characteristics differed between the two groups: the male-to-female
ratios were 2.5:1 and 5.1:1 in the general population sample and high-probability group,
respectively, and the ratios of autistic disorders to other ASD subtypes were 1:2.6 and 2.6:1,
respectively; 12% in the general-population sample had superior IQs, compared with 7% in the
high-probability group; and 16% in the general-population sample had intellectual disability,
compared with 59% in the high-probability group. Conclusions: Two-thirds of ASD cases in
the overall sample were in the mainstream school population, undiagnosed and untreated.
These findings suggest that rigorous screening and comprehensive population coverage are
necessary to produce more accurate ASD prevalence estimates and underscore the need for
better detection, assessment, and services.
PMID: 21558103 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
PLoS One. 2011 Apr 29;6(4):e19519.
Increased sensitivity to mirror symmetry in autism.
Perreault A, Gurnsey R, Dawson M, Mottron L, Bertone A.
Perceptual Neuroscience Lab for Autism and Development, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Can autistic people see the forest for the trees? Ongoing uncertainty about the integrity and
role of global processing in autism gives special importance to the question of how autistic
individuals group local stimulus attributes into meaningful spatial patterns. We investigated
visual grouping in autism by measuring sensitivity to mirror symmetry, a highly-salient
perceptual image attribute preceding object recognition. Autistic and non-autistic individuals
were asked to detect mirror symmetry oriented along vertical, oblique, and horizontal axes.
Both groups performed best when the axis was vertical, but across all randomly-presented
axis orientations, autistics were significantly more sensitive to symmetry than non-autistics.
We suggest that under some circumstances, autistic individuals can take advantage of parallel
access to local and global information. In other words, autistics may sometimes see the forest
and the trees, and may therefore extract from noisy environments genuine regularities which
elude non-autistic observers.
PMID: 21559337 [PubMed - in process] Free Article
Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2011 May;39(3):196-200. Epub 2011 May 1.
Asperger Syndrome Can the disorder be diagnosed in the adult age?
Arranz B, Sintes A, Ramírez N, Rueda I, San L.
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu CIBERSAM, Barcelona.
Introduction. Asperger Syndrome (AS) is characterized by a qualitative disorder of social
interaction, a pattern of restrictive, repetitive and stereotyped behavior, interests and activities,
with normal intellectual capacity and normal language skills in the areas of grammar and
vocabulary. Since its inclusion in international taxonomies, there has been much controversy
regarding its nosological validity. Clinical case. A patient with a diagnosis of AS in adulthood is
described. Results from the psychopathological, personality and cognitive functioning
assessment are included. Conclusions. Asperger Syndrome can also be diagnosed in adulthood
and should be suspected whenever retrospective information and clinical assessment point to
this diagnosis. Key words: Asperger, autism, differential diagnosis, comorbidity,
PMID: 21560081 [PubMed - in process]
Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2011 Mar 30;7:97-105.
AUTISM Spectrum Disorders and Suicidality.
Raja M, Azzoni A, Frustaci A.
Scuola di Specializzazione in Psichiatria, Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Via
Prisciano 26, 00136 - Rome, Italy.
The paper describes the suicidal ideation and behavior in a series of 26 adult psychiatric
patients affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), the clinical features and the
psychiatric comorbidity of patients presenting suicidal behavior, and the history of suicide or
suicide attempt in their relatives. Two (7,7%) patients committed suicide. One (3.8%) patient
attempted suicide twice, and one (3.8%) patient self-harmed by cutting his face and one finger
of his hand with a razor. Eight (30.8%) patients presented suicidal ideation. Two (7.7%)
patients had one relative who had attempted suicide, and two (7.7%) patients had one or more
relatives who had committed suicide. Most patients with suicidal behavior or ideation
presented psychotic symptoms. Although it is not clear whether the high suicidal risk is related
with ASDs per se or with psychotic symptoms, a high index of suspicion is warranted in
evaluating suicidal risk in patients affected by ASDs, whatever is their age, psychiatric
comorbidity, and setting of visit.
PMID: 21566670 [PubMed - in process]
J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 May 13. [Epub ahead of print]
Early-Emerging Social Adaptive Skills in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Item
Ventola P, Saulnier CA, Steinberg E, Chawarska K, Klin A.
Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, 230 South Frontage Road, PO
Box 207900, New Haven, CT, 06520-7900, USA, email@example.com.
Individuals with ASD have significant impairments in adaptive skills, particularly adaptive
socialization skills. The present study examined the extent to which 20 items from the
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Socialization Domain differentiated between ASD and
developmentally delayed (DD) groups. Participants included 108 toddlers with ASD or DD
under the age of 3 years. Nine of the 20 items significantly distinguished the groups. The ASD
group demonstrated significantly weaker socialization skills, including deficits in basic social
behaviors. The results support the notion that (a) socialization deficits in ASD impact
foundational social skills typically emerging in the first year of life, (b) examination of specific
social adaptive behaviors contribute to differential diagnosis, and (c) foundational social
behaviors should be targeted for intervention.
PMID: 21567256 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 May 13. [Epub ahead of print]
Time Trends in Reported Autism Spectrum Disorders in Israel, 1986-2005.
Gal G, Abiri L, Reichenberg A, Gabis L, Gross R.
Mental Health Epidemiology and Psychosocial Aspects of Illness, Sheba Medical Center,
52621, Tel Hashomer, Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reports indicate sharp increase in prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We aimed
to assess the time trend in prevalence of ASD in Israel and describe demographic
characteristics of the registered cases. We reviewed the autism registry of the Israeli Ministry
of Social Affairs which includes 4,709 cases and identified 4,138 cases born between the
years 1986 and 2005. Registered cases were mainly males (84.4%) and Jewish (96.6%).
Prevalence data indicated an increase from 1.2 per 1,000 in those born in 1986 to 3.6 per
1,000 in 2003. Greater increase was seen in males, reaching a peak of 5.7 per 1,000,
compared to 1.2 per 1,000 in females. Increased ASD prevalence was observed among Israeli
children born in 1986-2005.
PMID: 21567257 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Stability of autistic traits in the general population: further evidence for a continuum of
J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;50(4):376-84
Authors: Robinson EB, Munir K, Munafò MR, Hughes M, McCormick MC, Koenen KC
This study investigated the developmental course of autistic traits in a nationally representative
sample of subjects 7 to 13 years of age.
PMID: 21421177 [PubMed - in process]
Social communication deficits in the general population: how far out does the autism spectrum
J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;50(4):326-8
Authors: Veenstra-Vanderweele J, Warren Z
PMID: 21421172 [PubMed - in process]
No association between early gastrointestinal problems and autistic-like traits in the general
Dev Med Child Neurol. 2011 Mar 21;
Authors: Whitehouse AJ, Maybery M, Wray JA, Hickey M
Aim The aim of this study was to determine whether gastrointestinal problems in early
childhood relate to autistic-like traits in a general population sample. Method The parents of
804 children (442 females; 362 males) reported at 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-year follow-ups whether
their child had been taken to a hospital, general practitioner, or health clinic for any of five
gastrointestinal symptoms: (1) constipation; (2) diarrhoea; (3) abdominal bloating, discomfort,
or irritability; (4) gastro-oesophageal reflux or vomiting; and (5) feeding issues or food
selectivity. Parents also reported whether their child had received the measles, mumps, and
rubella vaccination. Autistic-like traits were measured when the children had reached early
adulthood (mean age 19y 7mo; SD 0.63y) using a self-report questionnaire, the Autism
Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Results There was no statistically significant difference in AQ
scores between those who had (n=133) and those who had not (n=671) experienced early
gastrointestinal symptoms. χ(2) analyses revealed that the children with early gastrointestinal
problems were no more likely to be represented in the upper quintile of scores on any of the
AQ scales. The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination was unrelated to gastrointestinal
symptoms or AQ scores. Interpretation Parent-reported gastrointestinal problems in early
childhood are unrelated to self-reported autistic-like traits in the general population.
PMID: 21418197 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]