IntegraGen launches autism screening test for babies

ntegraGen, Inc., a molecular biomarker company, has launched a gender specific, genetic screening test that looks at 65 genetic markers associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder in children as young a 6 months.

The Cambridge company, which opened its office in 2010 and is the U.S. subsidiary of Evry, France-based IntegraGen SA, announced the launch of ARISk late Wednesday. IntegraGen SA Chairman and CEO Bernard Courtieu said the test will only be available through pediatricians, child neurologists and autism clinicians.

“The CDC’s latest prevalence finding show the rate of ASD is one in 88 children, 40 percent of whom are not diagnosed until the age of 4.5 years,” said Courtieu in a statement. “Our mission is to provide a reliable tool for early assessment of a child’s risk for ASD.”

Source: Mass High Tech Business News

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New Data on Autism Spectrum Disorders

More children than ever before are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Like the many families living with ASDs, CDC considers ASDs an important public health concern. CDC is committed to continuing to provide essential data on ASDs, search for risk factors and causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASDs as early as possible.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Autism not diagnosed as early in minority children


Early diagnosis is considered key for autism, but minority children tend to be diagnosed later than white children. Some new work is beginning to try to uncover why — and to raise awareness of the warning signs so more parents know they can seek help even for a toddler.

“The biggest thing I want parents to know is we can do something about it to help your child,” says Dr. Rebecca Landa, autism director at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, who is exploring the barriers that different populations face in getting that help.

Her preliminary research suggests even when diagnosed in toddlerhood, minority youngsters have more severe developmental delays than their white counterparts. She says cultural differences in how parents view developmental milestones, and how they interact with doctors, may play a role.

Source: CBS News

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Autism Speaks Invites Research Grant Applications

Today, Autism Speaks is launching its 2012 requests for grant applications in the areas of Treatment and Basic & Clinical research.

In the treatment research category, we invite both full- and pilot-level grant applications to conduct innovative studies of promising new interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout the lifespan. Research applications exploring medical approaches may include complementary and alternative forms of health care and pharmacological treatments, as well as behavioral and/or psychosocial interventions. We also welcome studies evaluating the effectiveness, safety or therapeutic benefits of interventions. In addition, we will consider animal model studies that test the effects of novel compounds with potential to reduce autism symptoms. Access the treatment request for applications (RFA) here.

In the basic and clinical research category, Autism Speaks invites both full- and pilot-level grant applications to conduct innovative biomedical and behavioral research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and dissemination of evidence-based practices for ASD. In keeping with Autism Speaks’ mission – to improve the future for all those who struggle with autism – we seek to provide funding along the entire research continuum – from discovery to development to translation and dissemination – for innovative projects that promise to deliver real life benefits across the lifespan.  Access the RFA for basic and clinical research grants here.

Source: Autism Speaks

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As Specialists Debate Autism, Some Parents Watch Closely


A debate among medical professionals over how to define autism has spilled over into the public domain, stirring anger and fear among many parents and advocates of those with the neurological disorder, even as some argue that the diagnosis has been too loosely applied.

Source: New York Times

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Autism Spectrum Disorders Part II: Understanding and Comparing Research-Based Practices | CEC

The second webinar in the series will provide practitioners who work with students with autism spectrum disorders at all age levels with in-depth, practical, descriptive, and comparative information on several of the most popular research-based interventions and approaches, including Applied Behavior Analysis, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS); Social Stories; and Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-Related Handicapped Children (TEACCH). The research base and demonstrated efficacy area of each approach will be discussed. The information presented will enable teachers, administrators, and parents to differentiate between effective interventions and those without an evidence base.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the research-based practices available for teaching students with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Differentiate the areas of improvement that each practice can yield.
  • Select the practices suitable for particular students or groups of students.
  • Find sources of more detailed information and training in each of the practices discussed.

Source: Council for Exceptional Children

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Having one autistic child increases next child’s risk, study finds –


If parents have a child with some form of autism, there is a 19% chance that their next child will have autism too, according to a new report.

Experts said the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, is the most comprehensive of its kind and should be used to counsel families.

“Parents are concerned — could this happen again?” said study leader Sally Ozonoff, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute in Sacramento.

Source: LA Times

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Autism Fact Sheets

Translation into Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese of the “CDC: Learn the Signs. Act Early”, an Autism fact sheet (Copies available at: or 1.800.CDC.INFO). To download the Autism Fact Sheet, please click on the links to the right.

Source: USC University Center for Excellent in Developmental Disabilities

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Risk factors for autism remain elusive: study | Reuters

Studies have hinted at various factors around the time of birth that may raise a child’s risk of autism — but there is still too little evidence to point to specific culprits, a new research review concludes.
Looking at 40 previous studies, researchers found that a range factors around the time of birth have been linked to the risk of autism later in life.
Those include low birth weight, certain delivery complications like problems with the umbilical cord, fetal distress during labor and signs of “poor condition” in the newborn — such as problems with breathing or heart rate.

Source: Reuters

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Use of SSRI Antidepressants During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Autism


Children whose mothers use antidepressants during pregnancy may be more likely to develop autism than kids whose mothers do not, say researchers in California.

In a study involving data on more than 1,800 children — fewer than 300 of whom had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — and their mothers, the scientists found that women who were prescribed drugs to treat depression in the year before giving birth were twice as likely to have children with an ASD, compared with women who did not take antidepressants. The risk was even greater for women who were prescribed the drugs in the first trimester: their children were nearly four times more likely to develop autism or a related disorder.

Source: CEC SmartBrief/Time Healthland

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