Pubmed du 02/07/19

mardi 2 juillet 2019

1. Bohadana G, Morrissey S, Paynter J. Self-compassion : A Novel Predictor of Stress and Quality of Life in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

The double ABCX model of adaptation has been used to predict parental outcomes in parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with predictors including child characteristics, pile up of demands, external resources, coping, parental perceptions, and internal resources. This study investigated whether self-compassion is a unique predictor of parental outcomes of stress and quality of life. One hundred and thirty-nine parents (120 mothers, 19 fathers) completed an online questionnaire investigating known predictors and self-compassion. It was found that higher scores on the positive dimension of self-compassion were associated with better quality of life, and higher scores on the negative dimension of self-compassion were associated with greater stress. This research has implications for developing self-compassion interventions for parents.

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2. Booth AJ, Rodgers JD, Volker MA, Lopata C, Thomeer ML. Psychometric Characteristics of the DANVA-2 in High-Functioning Children with ASD. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

This study examined psychometric characteristics of the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy-Second Edition (DANVA-2) in 121 children, ages 6 to 13 years, with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD). Internal consistency for adult and child faces subtests were .70 and .75, respectively. Immediate test-retest reliability in the total sample (N = 121) ranged from .78 to .84. Reliability for two subsamples for 5- (n = 21) and 12-week (n = 21) intervals ranged from .75 to .90 and from .43 to .68, respectively. DANVA-2 scores strongly converged with two measures of emotion recognition but were unrelated to parent ratings of social functioning and ASD symptoms. Significant correlations (small to medium) were found between DANVA-2 scores and child age, IQ, and language ability.

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3. Brayette M, Saliba E, Malvy J, Blanc R, Ponson L, Tripi G, Roux S, Bonnet-Brilhault F. Incomplete Gestation has an Impact on Cognitive Abilities in Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

Extreme prematurity is known as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the association between prematurity and ASD, for children born moderately and late preterm (MLPT) and those born early term (ET), is less established. This retrospective study aimed to characterize the phenotypic characteristics (i.e. behavioral profile and cognitive abilities) of 254 children with ASD, between 3 and 15 years of age, born MLPT (19 children), ET (60 children) and full term (175 children). MLPT and ET births do not modify ASD symptomatology, but modify cognitive development. The results highlight that incomplete gestation, i.e., MLPT or ET, has a negative impact on both verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities, in children with neurodevelopmental vulnerability.

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4. Bruno JL, Hosseini SH, Lightbody AA, Manchanda MK, Reiss AL. Brain circuitry, behavior, and cognition : A randomized placebo-controlled trial of donepezil in fragile X syndrome. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 2019 : 269881119858304.

BACKGROUND : Fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause for intellectual disability, is associated with alterations in cholinergic among other neurotransmitter systems. This study investigated the effects of donepezil hydrochloride, a cholinesterase inhibitor that has potential to correct aberrant cholinergic signaling. METHOD : Forty-two individuals with fragile X syndrome (mean age=19.61 years) were randomized to receive 2.5-10.0 mg of donepezil (n=20, seven females) or placebo (n=22, eight females) per day. One individual in the active group withdrew at week 7. Outcomes included the contingency naming test, the aberrant behavior checklist, and behavior and brain activation patterns during a functional magnetic resonance imaging gaze discrimination task. RESULTS : There were no significant differences between active and placebo groups on cognitive (contingency naming task) or behavioral (total score or subscales of the aberrant behavior checklist) outcomes. At baseline, the active and placebo groups did not differ in functional magnetic resonance imaging activation patterns during the gaze task. After 12 weeks of treatment the active group displayed reduced activation in response to the averted vs direct gaze contrast, relative to the placebo group, in the left superior frontal gyrus. CONCLUSIONS : Reduced functional brain activation for the active group may represent less arousal in response to direct eye gaze, relative to the placebo group. Change in functional magnetic resonance imaging activation patterns may serve as a more sensitive metric and predictor of response to treatment when compared to cognitive and behavioral assessments. Our results suggest that donepezil may have an impact on brain functioning, but longer term follow-up and concomitant behavioral intervention may be required to demonstrate improvement in cognition and behavior.

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5. Camodeca A. Theory of Mind Performance in Broad Autism Phenotype Groups : Between-Group Differences and Predictor Variables. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

Investigated between-group differences in cognitive/affective theory of mind (ToM) and predictors of cognitive ToM both within broad autism phenotype/non (BAP/Non-BAP) groups as well as across the sample. The BAP group (n = 45) performed worse than the Non-BAP group (n = 102) on the unexpected outcomes test (UOT), but groups were similar regarding reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET). Stepwise regression indicated RMET best predicted UOT for the BAP group ; block design best predicted UOT in the Non-BAP group. BAP traits did not mediate the relation of RMET to UOT performance. While RMET and UOT appear similarly related in BAP/Non-BAP samples, use of emotion recognition abilities in a cognitive ToM task may reflect over-reliance on this skill in the BAP.

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6. Chien YL, Hsieh MH, Gau SS. P50-N100-P200 sensory gating deficits in adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 : 109683.

Sensory symptoms are common in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Altered sensory gating may cause sensory overload. However, whether ASD individuals have P50 gating deficits is controversial in childhood and lacks evidence in adulthood. Beyond P50, fewer studies have examined N100 or P200, although N100 is considered to be more reliable than P50. Also, the clinical correlates of these parameters are mostly unknown. This study aimed to investigate P50, N100, and P200 sensory gating in adolescents and young adults with ASD and examine their clinical correlates. In a sample of 34 ASD participants (mean age 20.6+/-4.1, female 5.9%) and 34 sex- and age-matched typically-developing controls (TDC, mean age 20.4+/-3.1), we investigated P50, N100, and P200 sensory gating by a paired-click paradigm, which generated the data of S1 amplitude after the first click and S2 amplitude after the second click. We found that compared to TDC, ASD participants had significant N100 suppression deficits reflected by a larger N100S2 amplitude, smaller N100 ratio of S2 over S1, and the difference between the two amplitudes. N100S2 amplitude was significantly associated with sensory sensitivity independent of the diagnosis. Although there was no group difference in P50 suppression, S1 amplitude was negatively associated with social deficits in ASD. P200 gating parameters were correlated with attention switching difficulty. Our findings suggest N100 gating deficits in adolescents and young adults with ASD. The relationships between P50 S1 and social deficits and between N100S2 and sensory sensitivity warrant further investigation.

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7. Cohen JL, Klyce W, Kudchadkar SR, Kotian RN, Sponseller PD. Respiratory Complications After Posterior Spinal Fusion for Neuromuscular Scoliosis : Children With Rett Syndrome at Greater Risk Than Those With Cerebral Palsy. Spine. 2019.

MINI : We investigated immediate postoperative outcomes of children with Rett syndrome versus cerebral palsy after undergoing posterior spinal fusion. Children with Rett syndrome had more respiratory failure, more need for positive pressure ventilation, and longer intensive care unit stays, despite better preoperative motor function and shorter surgeries. STUDY DESIGN : Retrospective cohort. OBJECTIVE : To determine how respiratory failure rates and duration of intensive care unit (ICU) stay after posterior spinal fusion (PSF) for neuromuscular scoliosis compare between children with Rett syndrome (RS) versus cerebral palsy (CP). SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA : Rett syndrome and CP are associated with high incidence of neuromuscular scoliosis and respiratory dysfunction. METHODS : We included 21 patients with RS (mean age, 13 +/- 3.1 yrs) and 124 with CP (mean age, 14 +/- 3.2 yrs) who underwent PSF by one surgeon from 2004 to 2017. Preoperative motor function was assessed using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). Primary outcomes were respiratory failure and duration of ICU stay. Secondary outcomes were pneumonia and prolonged use of positive pressure ventilation (PPV). Using multivariate regression, we identified associations of age, intraoperative vital signs, duration of hospital stay, number of vertebral levels fused, anesthesia and surgery durations, and estimated blood loss with longer ICU stay and respiratory failure. RESULTS : A greater proportion of CP patients (96%) than RS patients (66%) were in GMFCS IV or V (P < 0.01). Respiratory failure was more common in RS patients (43% vs. 19% ; P = 0.02), as was PPV (67% vs. 31% ; P < 0.01). RS patients had shorter median durations of anesthesia and surgery (P < 0.01). RS patients had a longer median (interquartile range) ICU stay (4 days [1-5] vs. 2 days [2-19] ; P = 0.01). Incidence of pneumonia did not differ between groups (P = 0.69). Only RS diagnosis (P = 0.02) and prolonged PPV (P < 0.01) were associated with longer ICU stay. CONCLUSION : Despite better preoperative motor function and shorter anesthesia and surgery durations, patients with RS experienced more respiratory failure, prolonged PPV use, and longer ICU stays after PSF than did children with CP. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE : 4.

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8. Craig F, De Giacomo A, Savino R, Ruggiero M, Russo L, Fanizza I, Margari L, Trabacca A. The Empathizing-Systemizing Theory and ’Extreme Male Brain’ (EMB) Theory in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) : An Explorative, Cross-Sectional Study. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether empathizing and systemizing are part of the parental broad autism phenotype (BAP). Parents (N = 76) of preschool children with a diagnosis of ASD and parents (N = 48) of typically developing (TD) children completed the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) questionnaires. The E-S discrepancy (D score) was used to test for sex differences in five "brain types". Our results suggest that the E-S theory do not seem to be part of the BAP. However, a stronger drive to systemize than empathize (Type S brain) could be a highly inheritable cognitive endophenotype of mothers of children with ASD. This study should be repeated with a larger sample size.

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9. Gulle ZN, Karayagmurlu A, Coskun M. Raynaud’s Phenomenon Related with Atomoxetine Treatment in a Child with Autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2019.

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10. Herscu P, Handen BL, Arnold LE, Snape MF, Bregman JD, Ginsberg L, Hendren R, Kolevzon A, Melmed R, Mintz M, Minshew N, Sikich L, Attalla A, King B, Owley T, Childress A, Chugani H, Frazier J, Cartwright C, Murphy T. The SOFIA Study : Negative Multi-center Study of Low Dose Fluoxetine on Repetitive Behaviors in Children and Adolescents with Autistic Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that reduces obsessive-compulsive symptoms. There is limited evidence supporting its efficacy for repetitive behaviors (RRBs) in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). We conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of fluoxetine in 158 individuals with ASD (5-17 years). Following 14 treatment weeks (mean dose 11.8 mg/day), no significant differences were noted on the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale ; the proportion of responders was similar (fluoxetine : 36% ; placebo : 41%). There were similar rates of AEs (e.g., insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting) ; high rates of activation were reported in both groups (fluoxetine : 42% ; placebo : 45%). Overly cautious dosing/duration may have prevented attainment of a therapeutic level. Results are consistent with other SSRI RCTs treating RRBs in ASD.Trial Registration : Identifier : NCT00515320.

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11. Hu HF, Liu TL, Hsiao RC, Ni HC, Liang SH, Lin CF, Chan HL, Hsieh YH, Wang LJ, Lee MJ, Chou WJ, Yen CF. Cyberbullying Victimization and Perpetration in Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder : Correlations with Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

The present study examined the associations between cyberbullying involvement and sociodemographic characteristics, autistic social impairment and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms in 219 adolescents with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Moreover, the associations between cyberbullying involvement and depression, anxiety, and suicidality were also examined. Adolescents self-reported higher rates of being a victim or perpetrator of cyberbullying than were reported by their parents. Increased age and had more severe ODD symptoms were significantly associated with being victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying. Being a victim but not a perpetrator of cyberbullying was significantly associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Cyberbullying victimization and perpetration should be routinely surveyed in adolescents with high-functioning ASD.

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12. Kogan MD, Vladutiu CJ, Perrin JM. Caution About Displaying State-Level Differences in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA Pediatr. 2019.

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13. Lee GT, Xu S, Guo S, Gilic L, Pu Y, Xu J. Teaching "Imaginary Objects" Symbolic Play to Young Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

Symbolic play skills are important in language acquisition and child development. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulties demonstrating such play behaviors. Imaginary objects symbolic play refers to play behavior in which children perform play actions without actual objects. Three boys with ASD (3-7 years) participated in this study. A multiple-probe across three participants and two settings design was employed to evaluate the effects of intraverbal training on the acquisition and generalization of imaginary objects symbolic play. Results indicated that all children acquired and maintained target imaginary objects play activities. Generalization to untaught activities occurred in one child. All three children’ symbolic play emerged or increased in free play after the instruction.

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14. Linares-Orama N, Miranda K, Romero A. Identifying Robust Autism Indicators for Latino Children. Puerto Rico health sciences journal. 2019 ; 38(2) : 71-4.

OBJECTIVE : This study was aimed at identifying those items in the "Childhood Autism Rating Scale" (CARS) that are more robust indicators of the probable existence of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Latino children. METHODS : CARS data from 53 randomly selected children, who were evaluated at the FILIUS Institute in San Juan, Puerto Rico, were analyzed. Individual scores of CARS items were compared against the final diagnosis for the presence or absence of an ASD in these children to determine the items with the highest positive correlation with the diagnosis. RESULTS : This analysis yielded 4 CARS items with the highest positive correlations (listed in descending order from a highest to the lowest correlation) : Item 2- Imitation ; Item 1- Relating to People ; Item 5- Object Use ; and Item 4- Body Use. CONCLUSION : These data are used to recommend a simplified Latino ASD screening procedure that can be managed by pediatricians and other primary care givers (with a limited time and skills to screen children from Latino families) during routine care visits ; this will assist them in making referrals for an ASD diagnostic evaluation, based on this screening.

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15. Martinez K, Martinez-Garcia M, Marcos-Vidal L, Janssen J, Castellanos FX, Pretus C, Villarroya O, Pina-Camacho L, Diaz-Caneja CM, Parellada M, Arango C, Desco M, Sepulcre J, Carmona S. Sensory-to-Cognitive Systems Integration Is Associated With Clinical Severity in Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019.

OBJECTIVE : Impaired multisensory integration in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may arise from functional dysconnectivity among brain systems. Our study examines the functional connectivity integration between primary modal sensory regions and heteromodal processing cortex in ASD, and whether abnormalities in network integration relate to clinical severity. METHOD : We studied a sample of 55 high-functioning ASD and 64 healthy controls (HC) male children and adolescents (total n = 119, age range 7-18). Stepwise functional connectivity analysis (SFC) was applied to resting state functional magnetic resonance images (rsfMRI) to characterize the connectivity paths that link primary sensory cortices to higher-order brain cognitive functional circuits and relate alterations in functional connectivity integration with three clinical scales : Social Communication Questionnaire, Social Responsiveness Scale, and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. RESULTS : HC displayed typical functional connectivity transitions from primary sensory systems to association areas, but the ASD group showed altered patterns of multimodal sensory integration to heteromodal systems. Specifically, compared to the HC group, the ASD group showed (1) hyper-connectivity in visual cortex at initial link step distances ; (2) hyper-connectivity between sensory unimodal regions and regions of the default mode network ; and (3) hypo-connectivity between sensory unimodal regions and areas of the fronto-parietal and attentional networks. These patterns of hyper- and hypo-connectivity were associated with increased clinical severity in ASD. CONCLUSION : Network-wise reorganization in high-functioning ASD individuals affects strategic regions of unimodal-to-heteromodal cortical integration predicting clinical severity. Additionally, SFC analysis appears to be a promising approach for studying the neural pathophysiology of multisensory integration deficits in ASD.

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16. Orru S, Papoulidis I, Siomou E, Papadimitriou DT, Sotiriou S, Nikolaidis P, Eleftheriades M, Papanikolaou E, Thomaidis L, Manolakos E. Autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and severe depression in a male patient with deletion and duplication in the 21q22.3 region : A case report. Biomedical reports. 2019 ; 1(1) : 1-5.

In this report, a patient carrying a 650 kb deletion and a 759 kb duplication of chromosomal 21q22.3 region was described. Facial dysmorphic features, hypotonia, short stature, learning impairment, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and depression were observed clinical characteristics. Mentioned copy number variants were the shortest in length reported so far. The current study hypothesized that the presence of a susceptibility locus for autism spectrum disorder associated with depression and anxiety may be located in a 200 kb region between the PCNT and PRMT2 genes. The current study aimed to provide insight into the human genome morbidity map of chromosome 21.

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17. Payne KL, Russell A, Mills R, Maras K, Rai D, Brosnan M. Is There a Relationship Between Cyber-Dependent Crime, Autistic-Like Traits and Autism ?. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

International law enforcement agencies have reported an apparent preponderance of autistic individuals amongst perpetrators of cyber-dependent crimes, such as hacking or spreading malware (Ledingham and Mills in Adv Autism 1:1-10, 2015). However, no empirical evidence exists to support such a relationship. This is the first study to empirically explore potential relationships between cyber-dependent crime and autism, autistic-like traits, explicit social cognition and perceived interpersonal support. Participants were 290 internet users, 23 of whom self-reported being autistic, who completed an anonymous online survey. Increased risk of committing cyber-dependent crime was associated with higher autistic-like traits. A diagnosis of autism was associated with a decreased risk of committing cyber-dependent crime. Around 40% of the association between autistic-like traits and cyber-dependent crime was mediated by advanced digital skills.

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18. Rotharmel M, Moulier V, Vasse M, Isaac C, Faerber M, Bendib B, Mirea-Grivel I, Opolczynski G, Rosier A, Guillin O. A Prospective Open-Label Pilot Study of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in High-Functioning Autistic Patients with a Dysexecutive Syndrome. Neuropsychobiology. 2019 : 1-11.

BACKGROUND : Executive functions (EF) are often impaired in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Such dysfunctions are associated with anxiety, depression, and a lack of autonomy. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to enhance EF in healthy adults and clinical populations and to improve working memory - a component of the EF - in adults with high-functioning ASD (HF-ASD). We hypothesized that tDCS could improve the EF of HF-ASD patients. Such enhancement could improve their adaptive behaviors. METHOD : Eight patients with HF-ASD received 10 consecutive cathodal tDCS sessions (2 mA) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (F3) for 15 min each in an open trial. EF (with the Stroop test, Trail Making Test [TMT] A and B, Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting Test [mWCST], and Verbal Fluency Test) and behavioral dysexecutive syndrome (with the Behavioral Dysexecutive Syndrome Inventory and the Repetitive and Restricted Behaviour scale) were assessed before and 10 days after treatment. RESULTS : This study showed significant improvement in initiation (TMT-A time : p = 0.018) and cognitive flexibility (TMT-B time : p = 0.009 ; letter Verbal Fluency Test : p = 0.017 ; mWCST total errors : p = 0.028) after tDCS. Regarding behavior, the hypoactivity of the patients improved, as well as their repetitive and restrictive behaviors. In addition, this noninvasive neurostimulation technique was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS : Flexibility and initiation are the most impaired EF in autism. These are promising results which justify a randomized and placebo-controlled study in a wider population. If these results were confirmed by a randomized controlled trial, tDCS could be an easy and well-tolerated adjunctive treatment aiming to improve the quality of life and the autonomy of ASD patients.

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19. S JB, P B. Spectral Analysis of Codons in the DNA Sequence of Fragile X Syndrome. J Med Syst. 2019 ; 43(8) : 261.

There are frequent studies undergoing related to the Fragile X syndrome caused due to the triplet CGG replicates on the X chromosome of Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. Mutations of this chromosome can lead to Fragile X syndrome, rational disability, and other cognitive discrepancies. A novel approach based on Rajan Transform is proposed to analyze the spectral density of codons. The traditional transform like Fourier transform provides imaginary values whereas the Rajan Transform exhibits only the real values. The mutations there in the DNA are successfully distinguished by using the Rajan Transform which is suitable tool for the spectral analysis of DNA sequences. The utilization of the Rajan Transform urges larger profits in terms of minimal false alarm rate and thereby leading to an increase in the accuracy of the spectral analysis.

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20. Saniee S, Pouretemad HR, Zardkhaneh SA. Developing set-shifting improvement tasks (SSIT) for children with high-functioning autism. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2019.

BACKGROUND : Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience set-shifting deficit as a part of executive function, which can lead to cognitive and behavioural flexibility deficits and/or restricted behaviours. Despite the increasing body of research on this cognitive deficit, set-shifting training has not been exclusively studied in ASD. AIMS : In this study, a training condition [set-shifting improvement tasks (SSIT)] was developed to improve set-shifting ability ; afterwards, the possible effects of these tasks were investigated. METHODS AND PROCEDURES : With the aim of improving set-shifting ability in children with autism, a training program (SSIT), involving a computer game (Tatka, a puzzle game produced by our research team) with some home-based tasks (for generalisation purposes), was developed. Then, in a quasi-experimental design, the effects of SSIT tasks were studied on children (n = 13, 5-7 years old) with high-functioning autism. Outcome measures (pre-training, post-training and a 6-week follow-up) were assessed using Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Bender-Gestalt Test and Behavioural Flexibility Rating Scale. RESULTS AND OUTCOMES : A significant change was observed in both cognitive (Bender Gestalt, eta p 2 = 0.84 ; WCST ; = p 2 0.87 ) and behavioural flexibilities ( eta p 2 = 0.79 ) and also in repetitive behaviours ( eta p 2 = 0.45 ). Furthermore, the result remained stable to some extent for about 1 month after the training condition. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS : Developing the SSIT is just an initial step in the major target of creating cognitive rehabilitation tools to be used by clinicians and parents for children diagnosed with ASD and should be understood as a supplement, rather than an alternative, to the main treatments such as applied behaviour analysis. Future research with larger samples are needed to confirm whether this intervention is effective for children with ASD.

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21. Song Y, Epalle TM, Lu H. Characterizing and Predicting Autism Spectrum Disorder by Performing Resting-State Functional Network Community Pattern Analysis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2019 ; 13 : 203.

Growing evidence indicates that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neuropsychological disconnection syndrome that can be analyzed using various complex network metrics used as pathology biomarkers. Recently, community detection and analysis rooted in the complex network and graph theories have been introduced to investigate the changes in resting-state functional network community structure under neurological pathologies. However, the potential of hidden patterns in the modular organization of networks derived from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to predict brain pathology has never been investigated. In this study, we present a novel analysis technique to identify alterations in community patterns in functional networks under ASD. In addition, we design machine learning classifiers to predict the clinical class of patients with ASD and controls by using only community pattern quality metrics as features. Analyses conducted on six publicly available datasets from 235 subjects, including patients with ASD and age-matched controls revealed that the modular structure is significantly disturbed in patients with ASD. Machine learning algorithms showed that the predictive power of our five metrics is relatively high ( 85.16% peak accuracy for in-site data and 75.00% peak accuracy for multisite data). These results lend further credence to the dysconnectivity theory of this pathology.

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22. Stagg SD, Vincent J. Autistic traits in individuals self-defining as transgender or nonbinary. European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists. 2019 ; 61 : 17-22.

BACKGROUND : Autism spectrum traits are increasingly being reported in individuals who identify as transgender, and the presence of such traits have implications for clinical support. To-date little is known about autism traits in individuals who identify as nonbinary. AIMS : To empirically contribute to current research by examining autistic traits in a self-identifying transgender and nonbinary gender group. METHOD : One hundred and seventy-seven participants responded to a survey consisting of the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), the Empathy Quotient (EQ), the Systematising Quotient (SQ) and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task (RME). Comparisons were made between cisgender, transgender and nonbinary groups. RESULTS : Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or meeting the AQ cut-off score for ASD were over-represented in both the transgender and nonbinary groups. The key variables differentiating the transgender and nonbinary groups from the cisgender group were systematising and empathy. Levels of autistic traits and cases of ASD were higher in individuals assigned female at birth than those assigned male at birth. CONCLUSIONS : A proportion of individuals seeking help and advice about gender identity will also present autistic traits and in some cases undiagnosed autism. Lower levels of empathy, diminished theory of mind ability and literalness may impede the delivery of effective support. Clinicians treating transgender and nonbinary individuals, should also consider whether clients, especially those assigned female at birth, have an undiagnosed ASD.

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23. van Laarhoven T, Stekelenburg JJ, Vroomen J. Increased sub-clinical levels of autistic traits are associated with reduced multisensory integration of audiovisual speech. Sci Rep. 2019 ; 9(1) : 9535.

Recent studies suggest that sub-clinical levels of autistic symptoms may be related to reduced processing of artificial audiovisual stimuli. It is unclear whether these findings extent to more natural stimuli such as audiovisual speech. The current study examined the relationship between autistic traits measured by the Autism spectrum Quotient and audiovisual speech processing in a large non-clinical population using a battery of experimental tasks assessing audiovisual perceptual binding, visual enhancement of speech embedded in noise and audiovisual temporal processing. Several associations were found between autistic traits and audiovisual speech processing. Increased autistic-like imagination was related to reduced perceptual binding measured by the McGurk illusion. Increased overall autistic symptomatology was associated with reduced visual enhancement of speech intelligibility in noise. Participants reporting increased levels of rigid and restricted behaviour were more likely to bind audiovisual speech stimuli over longer temporal intervals, while an increased tendency to focus on local aspects of sensory inputs was related to a more narrow temporal binding window. These findings demonstrate that increased levels of autistic traits may be related to alterations in audiovisual speech processing, and are consistent with the notion of a spectrum of autistic traits that extends to the general population.

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24. Verma AK, Khan E, Mishra SK, Jain N, Kumar A. Piperine Modulates Protein Mediated Toxicity in Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome through Interacting Expanded CGG Repeat (r(CGG)(exp)) RNA. ACS chemical neuroscience. 2019.

An expansion of CGG tandem repeats in the 5’ untranslated region (5’-UTR) of fragile X mental retardation 1 ( FMR1) gene causes fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). The transcripts of these expanded repeats r(CGG)(exp) either form RNA foci or undergo the repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation that produces toxic homopolymeric proteins in neuronal cells. The discovery of small molecule modulators that possess a strong binding affinity and high selectivity to these toxic expanded repeats RNA could be a promising therapeutic approach to cure the expanded repeat-associated neurological diseases. Therefore, here we sought to test the therapeutic potential of a natural alkaloid, piperine, by assessing its ability to bind and neutralize the toxicity of r(CGG)(exp) RNA motif. To accomplish this first, we have determined the affinity of piperine to r(CGG)(exp) RNA using fluorescence-based binding assay and isothermal titration calorimetry assay. These assays showed that piperine forms a thermodynamically favorable interaction with r(CGG)(exp) RNA with high selectivity to the G-rich RNA motif. Interaction of piperine with r(CGG)(exp) motif was further validated using several biophysical techniques such as CD, CD melting, NMR spectroscopy, and gel retardation assay. Moreover, piperine was also found to be effective for improving the r(CGG)(exp) associated splicing defects and RAN translation in a FXTAS cell model system. Our results effectively provided the evidence that piperine strongly interacts with r(CGG)(exp) RNA and could be used as a suitable candidate for therapeutic development against FXTAS.

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25. Wang GF, Li WL, Han Y, Gao L, Dai W, Su YY, Zhang X. Sensory Processing Problems and Comorbidities in Chinese Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

Little is known about the relationship between sensory processing problems and sleep disturbances, emotional and behavioral problems and mealtime behavioral problems in Chinese children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This study examined those relationships in Chinese preschool children with ASD using a case-control design. Atypical sensory processing was associated with increased risks of sleep disturbances, emotional and behavioral problems, and abnormal mealtime behaviors in the children with ASD, whereas sensory processing problems were significantly correlated with abnormal mealtime behaviors only in the typically developing children. Based on our findings, clinicians must collect information about sensory problems when a child with ASD experiences sleep disturbances and emotional and behavioral problems or presents abnormal mealtime behaviors.

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26. Xu G, Strathearn L, Bao W. Caution About Displaying State-Level Differences in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder-Reply. JAMA Pediatr. 2019.

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27. Yoshikawa Y, Kumazaki H, Matsumoto Y, Miyao M, Kikuchi M, Ishiguro H. Relaxing Gaze Aversion of Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Consecutive Conversations With Human and Android Robot-A Preliminary Study. Frontiers in psychiatry. 2019 ; 10 : 370.

Establishing a treatment method for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) not only to increase their frequency or duration of eye contact but also to maintain it after ceasing the intervention, and furthermore generalize it across communication partners, is a formidable challenge. Android robots, which are a type of humanoid robot with appearances quite similar to that of humans, are expected to adapt to the role of training partners of face-to-face communication for individuals with ASD and to create easier experiences transferrable to humans. To evaluate this possibility, four male adolescents with ASD and six without ASD were asked to participate a pilot experiment in which there were consecutive sessions of semistructured conversation where they alternately faced either a human female or a female-type android robot interlocutor five times in total. Although it is limited by the small sample size, the preliminary results of analysis of their fixation pattern during the conversations indicated positive signs ; the subjects tended to look more at the face of the android robot than that of the human interlocutor regardless of whether they had ASD. However, the individuals with ASD looked more at the area around the eyes of the android robot than at the human, and also looked less at that of the human than the individuals without ASD did. An increasing tendency of looking at the area around the human eyes, which could be a positive sign of the transferability of the experiences with an android robot to a human interlocutor, was only weakly observed as the sessions progressed.

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28. Zanobini M, Solari S. Effectiveness of the Program "Acqua Mediatrice di Comunicazione" (Water as a Mediator of Communication) on Social Skills, Autistic Behaviors and Aquatic Skills in ASD Children. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019.

The study aims to analyze the effectiveness of a swimming program on interpersonal skills, autistic mannerisms, and aquatic abilities in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Research on aquatic therapy showed improvements in motor skills, whereas there is little evidence of effectiveness of this approach on social impairments of ASD. Participants included 25 children, 13 in the experimental group and 12 in the control group, matched for gender, age and autism score. The results showed an advantage in the relational skills for the experimental group at the post-test. The tendency to ameliorate other symptomatology, e.g., autonomy and negative behaviors, persisted at follow-up. Likewise, positive changes in aquatic skills were maintained 6 months after the end of the program.

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