Parents with very young babies are being asked to take part in research which could help in the treatment of autism. Researchers at Durham University hope that understanding how babies’ brains work will lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention.
They need babies from eight to 12 weeks of age to take part in the tests. The babies are not being tested for autism, they are being monitored to give researchers a better understanding of how babies learn.
We are not doing any medical testing in this study but purely looking at babies’ brains from an academic point of view. We don’t yet know enough about how the brains of very young babies develop and how they react to things. More learning about the world takes place during infancy than at any other time in development and understanding how exactly this takes place is critical.
In March the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the newly measured autism prevalences for 8-year-olds in the United States, and headlines roared about a “1 in 88 autism epidemic.” The fear-mongering has led some enterprising folk to latch onto our nation’s growing chemophobia and link the rise in autism to “toxins” or other alleged insults, and some to sell their research, books, and “cures.” On the other hand, some researchers say that what we’re really seeing is likely the upshot of more awareness about autism and ever-shifting diagnostic categories and criteria.
Children whose parents or siblings have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or
bipolar disorder have a higher risk of of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
The results of a study were published online in the Archives of
General Psychiatry, by medical geneticists from North Carolina’s School of
Medicine University who wanted to evaluate to which degree these disorders are
linked in view of the statement “has important implications for clinicians,
researchers and those affected by the disorders.”
The researchers conducted a case-control study with data obtained from
population registers in Sweden and Israel. Patrick F. Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP,
professor in the department of genetics and director of psychiatric genomics at
UNC declared: “The results were very consistent in large samples from several
different countries and lead us to believe that autism and schizophrenia are more similar than we had