Pubmed du 06/12/19

vendredi 6 décembre 2019

1. Bravo-Benitez J, Perez-Marfil MN, Roman-Alegre B, Cruz-Quintana F. Grief Experiences in Family Caregivers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Int J Environ Res Public Health ;2019 (Nov 30) ;16(23)

The main objective of this study was to analyse the experience of grief and feelings of loss in family caregivers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as the perceived overload from taking on the primary caregiver role. Twenty family caregivers of children with ASD participated. The family members were assessed using an ad-hoc semi-structured interview that addressed the families’ reactions to the diagnosis, implications for daily functioning, and concerns for the immediate and long-term future of their relatives with ASD. The results indicate that family caregivers of children with ASD endure intense and continuous sorrow and grief due to the impact that having and caring for a child with these characteristics has on all aspects of their lives. These data highlight the importance of creating support and intervention programmes and services focused on the feelings and manifestations of ambiguous grief that occur in these family members, in order to improve their well-being and quality of life and reduce caregiver role overload.

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2. Buddell T, Friedman V, Drozd CJ, Quinn CC. An autism-causing calcium channel variant functions with selective autophagy to alter axon targeting and behavior. PLoS Genet ;2019 (Dec) ;15(12):e1008488.

Common and rare variants of the CACNA1C voltage-gated calcium channel gene have been associated with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ADHD. However, little is known about how CACNA1C variants affect cellular processes to alter neurodevelopment. The Timothy syndrome mutation is a rare de novo gain-of-function variant in CACNA1C that causes autism with high penetrance, providing a powerful avenue into investigating the role of CACNA1C variants in neurodevelopmental disorders. Here, we use egl-19, the C. elegans homolog of CACNA1C, to investigate the role of voltage-gated calcium channels in autism. We show that an egl-19(gof) mutation that is equivalent to the Timothy syndrome mutation can alter axon targeting and affect behavior in C. elegans. We find that wildtype egl-19 negatively regulates axon termination. The egl-19(gof) mutation represses axon termination to cause axon targeting defects that lead to the misplacement of electrical synapses and alterations in habituation to light touch. Moreover, genetic interactions indicate that the egl-19(gof) mutation functions with genes that promote selective autophagy to cause defects in axon termination and behavior. These results reveal a novel genetic mechanism whereby a de novo mutation in CACNA1C can drive alterations in circuit formation and behavior.

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3. Cardon GJ. Neural Correlates of Sensory Abnormalities Across Developmental Disabilities. Int Rev Res Dev Disabil ;2018 ;55:83-143.

Abnormalities in sensory processing are a common feature of many developmental disabilities (DDs). Sensory dysfunction can contribute to deficits in brain maturation, as well as many vital functions. Unfortunately, while some patients with DD benefit from the currently available treatments for sensory dysfunction, many do not. Deficiencies in clinical practice surrounding sensory dysfunction may be related to lack of understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie sensory abnormalities. Evidence of overlap in sensory symptoms between diagnoses suggests that there may be common neural mechanisms that mediate many aspects of sensory dysfunction. Thus, the current manuscript aims to review the extant literature regarding the neural correlates of sensory dysfunction across DD in order to identify patterns of abnormality that span diagnostic categories. Such anomalies in brain structure, function, and connectivity may eventually serve as targets for treatment.

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4. Cook IA, Wilson AC, Peters JM, Goyal MN, Bebin EM, Northrup H, Krueger D, Leuchter AF, Sahin M. EEG Spectral Features in Sleep of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. J Autism Dev Disord ;2019 (Dec 6)

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a multisystem disorder with increased prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This project aimed to characterize the autism phenotype of TSC and identify biomarkers of risk for ASD. Because abnormalities of EEG during sleep are tied to neurodevelopment in children, we compared electroencephalographic (EEG) measures during Stage II sleep in TSC children who either did (ASD+) or did not (ASD-) exhibit symptoms of ASD over 36-month follow up. Relative alpha band power was significantly elevated in the ASD+ group at 24 months of age with smaller differences at younger ages, suggesting this may arise from differences in brain development. These findings suggest that EEG features could enhance the detection of risk for ASD.

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5. D’Abate L, Walker S, Yuen RKC, Tammimies K, Buchanan JA, Davies RW, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Wei J, Brian J, Bryson SE, Dobkins K, Howe J, Landa R, Leef J, Messinger D, Ozonoff S, Smith IM, Stone WL, Warren ZE, Young G, Zwaigenbaum L, Scherer SW. Predictive impact of rare genomic copy number variations in siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Nat Commun ;2019 (Dec 5) ;10(1):5519.

Identification of genetic biomarkers associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) could improve recurrence prediction for families with a child with ASD. Here, we describe clinical microarray findings for 253 longitudinally phenotyped ASD families from the Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC), encompassing 288 infant siblings. By age 3, 103 siblings (35.8%) were diagnosed with ASD and 54 (18.8%) were developing atypically. Thirteen siblings have copy number variants (CNVs) involving ASD-relevant genes : 6 with ASD, 5 atypically developing, and 2 typically developing. Within these families, an ASD-related CNV in a sibling has a positive predictive value (PPV) for ASD or atypical development of 0.83 ; the Simons Simplex Collection of ASD families shows similar PPVs. Polygenic risk analyses suggest that common genetic variants may also contribute to ASD. CNV findings would have been pre-symptomatically predictive of ASD or atypical development in 11 (7%) of the 157 BSRC siblings who were eventually diagnosed clinically.

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6. Dekker LP, Visser K, van der Vegt EJM, Maras A, van der Ende J, Tick NT, Verhulst FC, Greaves-Lord K. Insight into Informant Discrepancies Regarding Psychosexual Functioning of Adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Res Adolesc ;2019 (Dec 4)

The private nature of psychosexual functioning leads adolescents and their parents to have different perspectives, which highlights studying parent-child informant discrepancies in this domain. We investigated informant discrepancy in psychosexual functioning, using the self-report and parent report versions of the Teen Transition Inventory (TTI), of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD ; 136 parent-child dyads) compared to adolescents from the general population (GP ; 70 parent-child dyads). Significantly larger informant discrepancies exist in ASD dyads than GP dyads in most domains of psychosexual functioning, except for Body image, Sexual behavior, and Confidence in the future. It is important to use and pay attention to both informants, as discrepancies are relevant for both research and clinical practice regarding psychosexual functioning.

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7. Du RY, Yiu CKY, King NM. Health- and oral health-related quality of life among preschool children with autism spectrum disorders. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent ;2019 (Dec 4)

PURPOSE : To assess the health-related quality of life (HrQoL) and oral health-related quality of life (OHrQoL) of preschool children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to determine the associated factors. METHODS : A case-control study of preschool children with and without ASD was undertaken. H&OHrQoL were assessed employing Pediatric Quality-of-Life Inventory Version 4.0 (PedsQL 4.0) and Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS). Differences in PedsQL and ECOHIS scores were determined between groups and correlation between PedsQL and ECOHIS was explored. Regression analyses were conducted to determine key factors associated with H&OHrQoL. RESULTS : Parents of 510 children (253 cases and 257 controls) completed the H&OHrQoL questionnaire assessments. Significant difference in PedsQL (p < 0.001) and ECOHIS (p < 0.001) scores was apparent between children with and without ASD. There was a positive and weak correlation between PedsQL and ECOHIS scores (r = - 0.45, p < 0.01). In regression analyses, the presence of ASD was associated with an increased likelihood of having lower PedsQL (OR 0.10, 95% CI 0.06-0.15, p < 0.001) and higher ECOHIS scores (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.60-3.42, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS : Differences in H&OHrQoL exist among preschool children with and without ASD. There was a significant but weak correlation between children’s H&OHrQoL. Both H&OHrQoL were associated with autism spectrum disorders.

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8. Durkin MS, Wolfe BL. Trends in Autism Prevalence in the U.S. : A Lagging Economic Indicator ?. J Autism Dev Disord ;2019 (Dec 4)

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9. English MCW, Maybery MT, Visser TAW. Autistic-traits, not anxiety, modulate implicit emotional guidance of attention in neurotypical adults. Sci Rep ;2019 (Dec 5) ;9(1):18376.

Although autistic and anxious traits are positively correlated, high levels of autistic traits are associated with poorer emotional guidance of attention (EGA) whilst high levels of anxious traits are associated with greater EGA. In order to better understand how these two trait dimensions influence EGA, we simultaneously examined the effects of anxiety and autistic traits in neurotypical adults on target identification in an attentional blink task. Analyses indicated that implicit EGA is attenuated in individuals with higher levels of autistic traits, but largely unaffected by variation in anxious traits. Our results suggest that anxiety plays a comparatively limited role in modulating implicit EGA and reinforces the importance of disentangling correlated individual differences when exploring the effects of personality, including emotional predisposition, on attention.

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10. Gregory A, Hastings RP, Kovshoff H. Academic self-concept and sense of school belonging of adolescent siblings of autistic children. Res Dev Disabil ;2019 (Dec 2) ;96:103519.

BACKGROUND : Whilst there is a growing body of research on the psychological outcomes for siblings of autistic children (autism siblings), few studies have considered the school context. AIMS : To explore group differences on two school-related self-reported outcomes for autism siblings and siblings of non-autistic children : sense of school belonging, and academic self-concept. Data on self- and parent/carer-reported behavioural and emotional problems were also collected. METHODS AND PROCEDURES : 65 autism siblings and a comparison group of 57 siblings of non-autistic children aged 11-16 years completed questionnaires measuring sense of school belonging, academic self concept, and behaviour problems. 73 parents in the autism sibling and 67 parents in the comparison sibling group completed the behaviour problems measure. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS : Autism siblings reported significantly lower school belonging and academic self-concept, and had significantly poorer self- and parent- reported behaviour problems. When controlling for demographic variables and internalising and externalizing behaviour, robust sibling group differences on academic variables remained. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS : Autism siblings reported poorer school-related outcomes and increased behavioural difficulties relative to siblings of non-autistic children. There was wide variation in autism siblings’ outcomes, highlighting the importance of taking an individualised and contextualised approach to understanding the varying needs of autism siblings.

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11. Griffioen RE, van der Steen S, Verheggen T, Enders-Slegers MJ, Cox R. Changes in behavioural synchrony during dog-assisted therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder and children with Down syndrome. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil ;2019 (Dec 6)

BACKGROUND : Dog-assisted therapy (DAT) is hypothesized to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Down syndrome (DS). METHODS : The present authors compared synchronous movement patterns of these children (n = 10) and their therapy dogs during the first and last session of a DAT programme, and their post-therapy changes in emotional and behavioural problems. RESULTS : The present authors found a significant increase in synchrony between child and therapy dog over time. Exploratory analyses suggest more synchrony between children with ASD and their therapy dogs, compared to the children with DS. CONCLUSIONS : This study is the first to test the synchrony hypothesis, shedding light upon a mechanism that may underlie the effect of DAT and how this may be different for children with ASD and DS.

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12. Harrison AJ, Slane MM. Examining How Types of Object Distractors Distinctly Compete for Facial Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Eye Tracking. J Autism Dev Disord ;2019 (Dec 6)

Social motivation theory states that individuals with ASD find social stimuli less rewarding (Chevallier et al. in Trends Cognit Sci 16(4):231-239, 2012). An alternative theory suggests that competition from circumscribed interests (CIs) may better account for diminished social attention (Sasson et al. in Autism Res 1(1):31-42, 2008). This study evaluated both theories in children diagnosed with ASD (n = 16) and a group of TD children (n = 20) using eye tracking and demonstrated that distractor type only impacted the proportion of dwell time on faces in the TD group, but not the ASD group. These results provide support for the social motivation theory because gaze duration for faces among children with ASD was diminished regardless of whether the non-social stimuli presented was a CI or control object.

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13. Kim H, Song DH. Comparison of the K-WISC-IV profiles of boys with autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Res Dev Disabil ;2019 (Dec 2) ;97:103539.

AIMS : This study aimed to compare the intelligence profiles of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using the Korean Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (K-WISC-IV) scores to differentiate between their cognitive characteristics. METHODS : Subjects were boys with ASD (n = 49) and ADHD (n = 44). The index and subtest scores of the ASD and ADHD groups were compared using MANOVA. Repeated-measures ANOVA was performed to investigate the cognitive strengths and weaknesses within the ASD and ADHD groups. RESULTS : Verbal comprehension was significantly lower in the ASD group compared to the ADHD group. The ASD group also scored lower than the ADHD group on Vocabulary, Comprehension, Picture Concepts, Picture Completion, and Symbol Search. The ADHD group scored lower than the ASD group on Digit Span. The ASD group displayed slower processing speed and social judgment, while the ADHD group exhibited poor working memory and graphomotor processing. CONCLUSION : The WISC-IV profiles might help distinguishing between the cognitive characteristics of ASD and ADHD boys.

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14. Li HH, Feng JY, Wang B, Zhang Y, Wang CX, Jia FY. Comparison Of The Children Neuropsychological And Behavior Scale And The Griffiths Mental Development Scales When Assessing The Development Of Children With Autism. Psychol Res Behav Manag ;2019 ;12:973-981.

Background : The newly revised Children Neuropsychological and Behavior Scale (CNBS-R2016) is a diagnostic assessment tool widely used in China to assess the developmental level of children aged 0 to 6 years. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the effectiveness of developmental assessment in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the CNBS-R2016 was consistent with that of the Griffiths Mental Development Scales for China (GDS-C). Methods : In total, 139 children with ASD were recruited in this study. The Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) were used to measure ASD severity. All subjects were evaluated with both the CNBS-R2016 and GDS-C. To determine the consistency between the CNBS-R2016 and GDS-C, Pearson correlation coefficients and Bland-Altman plots were computed. The GDS-C was used as a reference assessment, and the performance of the CNBS-R2016 was analyzed with receiver operating curves. Results : No significant difference was found between the proportions of developmental delays detected by the CNBS-R2016 subscales and the corresponding GDS-C subscales. The CNBS-R2016 Communication Warning Behavior subscale quotients and the total ABC and CARS scores were significantly and positively correlated. The general and subscale quotients of the CNBS-R2016 and the corresponding quotient of the GDS-C were also significantly and positively correlated. The area under all the curves of the CNBS-R2016 was above 0.8 according to the results of the GDS-C (general or subscale quotient <70 indicates a developmental delay), and Bland-Altman plots showed no systemic bias between the two scales. Conclusion : The CNBS-R2016 and GDS-C tests showed good consistency in the developmental assessment of children with ASD. In addition, the CNBS-R2016 allows the simultaneous assessment of autism symptoms and the developmental level. Therefore, the CNBS-R2016 is worthy of clinical application in children aged 0-6 years.

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15. Liu D, Cao H, Kural KC, Fang Q, Zhang F. Integrative Analysis of shared Genetic Pathogenesis by Autism Spectrum Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Biosci Rep ;2019 (Dec 6)

Many common pathological features have been observed for both autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, no systematic analysis of the common gene markers associated with both ASD and OCD has been conducted so far. Here, two batches of large-scale literature-based disease-gene relation data (updated in 2017 and 2019, respectively) and gene expression data were integrated to study the possible association between OCD and ASD at the genetic level. Genes linked to OCD and ASD present significant overlap (p-value<2.64e-39). A genetic network of over 20 genes was constructed, through which OCD and ASD may exert influence on each other. The 2017-based analysis suggested six potential common risk genes for OCD and ASD (CDH2, ADCY8, APOE, TSPO, TOR1A, and OLIG2), and the 2019-based study identified two more genes (DISP1 and SETD1A). Notably, the gene APOE identified by the 2017-based analysis has been implicated to have an association with ASD in a recent study (2018) with DNA methylation analysis. Our results support the possible complex genetic associations between OCD and ASD. Genes linked to one disease is worthy of further investigation as potential risk factors for the other.

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16. Ochi K, Ono N, Owada K, Kojima M, Kuroda M, Sagayama S, Yamasue H. Quantification of speech and synchrony in the conversation of adults with autism spectrum disorder. PLoS One ;2019 ;14(12):e0225377.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social reciprocity and communication together with restricted interest and stereotyped behaviors. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is considered a ’gold standard’ instrument for diagnosis of ASD and mainly depends on subjective assessments made by trained clinicians. To develop a quantitative and objective surrogate marker for ASD symptoms, we investigated speech features including F0, speech rate, speaking time, and turn-taking gaps, extracted from footage recorded during a semi-structured socially interactive situation from ADOS. We calculated not only the statistic values in a whole session of the ADOS activity but also conducted a block analysis, computing the statistical values of the prosodic features in each 8s sliding window. The block analysis identified whether participants changed volume or pitch according to the flow of the conversation. We also measured the synchrony between the participant and the ADOS administrator. Participants with high-functioning ASD showed significantly longer turn-taking gaps and a greater proportion of pause time, less variability and less synchronous changes in blockwise mean of intensity compared with those with typical development (TD) (p<0.05 corrected). In addition, the ASD group had significantly wider distribution than the TD group in the within-participant variability of blockwise mean of log F0 (p<0.05 corrected). The clinical diagnosis could be discriminated using the speech features with 89% accuracy. The features of turn-taking and pausing were significantly correlated with deficits of ASD in reciprocity (p<0.05 corrected). Additionally, regression analysis provided 1.35 of mean absolute error in the prediction of deficits in reciprocity, to which the synchrony of intensity especially contributed. The findings suggest that considering variance of speech features, interaction and synchrony with conversation partner are critical to characterize atypical features in the conversation of people with ASD.

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17. Pacheva I, Ivanov I. Targeted biomedical treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Curr Pharm Des ;2019 (Dec 4)

BACKGROUND : A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represents presentations with impairment in communication and behaviour that vary considerably in their clinical manifestations, and etiology as well as in their likely pathophysiology. A growing body of data indicates that deleterious effect of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, immune dysregulation and neuroinflammation, as well as their interconnections are important aspects of the pathophysiology of ASD. Glutathione deficiency decreases the mitochondrial protection against oxidants and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha ; immune dysregulation and inflammation inhibit mitochondrial function through TNF-alpha ; autoantibodies against the folate receptors underpin cerebral folate deficiency, resulting in disturbed methylation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Such pathophysiological processes can arise environmental and epigenetic factors as well as their combined interactions, such as environmental toxicant exposures in individuals with (epi)genetically impaired detoxification. The emerging evidence on biochemical alterations in ASD is forming the basis for treatments aimed to target its biological underpinnings, which is of some importance, given the uncertain and slow effects of the various educational interventions most commonly used. METHODS : Literature-based review of the biomedical treatment options for ASD that are derived from established pathophysiological processes. RESULTS : Most proposed biomedical treatments show significant clinical utility only in ASD subgroups, with specified pre-treatment biomarkers that are ameliorated by the specified treatment. For example, folinic acid supplementation has positive effects in ASD patients with identified folate receptor autoantibodies, whilst the clinical utility of methylcobalamine is apparent in ASD patients with impaired methylation capacity. Mitochondrial modulating cofactors should be considered when mitochondrial dysfunction is evident, although further research is required to identify the most appropriate single or combined treatment. Multivitamins/multiminerals formulas, as well as biotin seem appropriate following the identification of metabolic abnormalities, with doses tapered to individual requirements. A promising area, requiring further investigations, is the utilization of antipurinergic therapies, such as low dose suramin. CONCLUSION : The assessment and identification of relevant physiological alterations and targeted intervention is more likely to produce positive treatment outcomes. As such, current evidence indicates the utility of an approach based on personalized and evidence-based medicine, rather than treatment targeted to all that may not always be beneficial (primum non nocere).

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18. Pan PY, Tammimies K, Bolte S. The Association Between Somatic Health, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Autistic Traits. Behav Genet ;2019 (Dec 6)

This study used a twin cohort to investigate the association of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autistic traits with somatic health. A total of 344 twins (172 pairs ; mean age 15.56 +/- 5.62 years) enriched for ASD and other neurodevelopmental conditions were examined. Medical history and current physical problems were collected with a validated questionnaire to determine twin’s somatic health. The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2) was used to measure the participant’s severity of autistic traits. Identified somatic health issues with significant within-twin pair differences were tested in relation to both ASD diagnosis and autistic traits in a co-twin control model. Twins with ASD exhibited more neurological and immunological health problems compared to those without ASD (p = 0.005 and p = 0.004, respectively). The intra-pair differences of neurological conditions and SRS-2 score were significantly correlated in monozygotic twins differing for autism traits (r = 0.40, p = 0.001), while the correlation was not found for immunological problems. In addition, a conditional model for analysis of within-twin pair effects revealed an association between neurological problems and clinical ASD diagnosis (Odds ratio per neurological problem 3.15, p = 0.02), as well as autistic traits (beta = 10.44, p = 0.006), after adjusting for possible effects of co-existing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and general intellectual abilities. Our findings suggest that neurological problems are associated with autism, and that non-shared environmental factors contribute to the overlap for both clinical ASD and autistic traits. Further population-based twin studies are warranted to validate our results and examine in detailed the shared genetic and environmental contributions of neurological problems and ASD.

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19. Royston R, Oliver C, Howlin P, Dosse A, Armitage P, Moss J, Waite J. The Profiles and Correlates of Psychopathology in Adolescents and Adults with Williams, Fragile X and Prader-Willi Syndromes. J Autism Dev Disord ;2019 (Dec 4)

Psychopathology is prevalent in Williams (WS), fragile X (FXS) and Prader-Willi (PWS) syndromes. However, little is known about the potential correlates of psychopathology in these groups. A questionnaire study was completed by 111 caregivers of individuals with WS (n = 35) ; FXS (n = 50) and PWS (n = 26). Mean age was 26 years (range 12-57 years) ; 74 (67%) were male. Multiple regression analyses indicated that higher rates of health problems and sensory impairments predicted higher psychopathology in WS (p < .0001). In PWS, poorer adaptive ability predicted higher overall psychiatric disturbance (p = .001), generalised anxiety (p = .006) and hyperactivity (p = .003). There were no significant predictors in FXS. This study highlights dissociations in the potential risk markers of psychopathology between genetic syndromes. Implications for intervention are discussed.

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20. Ruggieri V, Gomez JLC, Martinez MM, Arberas C. Aging and Autism : Understanding, Intervention, and Proposals to Improve Quality of Life. Curr Pharm Des ;2019 (Dec 4)

BACKGROUND : The population of persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing and is currently estimated to be 1 in 58 births. The increased prevalence of ASD together with the lack of knowledge on the processes of aging in this population, the support needed in this stage of life, and the associated risk factors, have led to an urgent need for further research. METHODS : This study provides a review of the literature on social- and health-related conditions that may appear when persons with ASD grow old. RESULTS : In addition to the autism-related conditions, different neurological, genetic, and environmental factors may be involved in the process of aging. In this complex setting, this study provides proposals that may guide the development of support services that may improve quality of life for aging people with ASD. CONCLUSION : Aging in ASD is emerging as a growing problem, which requires immediate planning and targetted treatment development.

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21. Tan DW, Maybery MT, Ewing L, Tay JX, Eastwood PR, Whitehouse AJO. Sex-specific variation in facial masculinity/femininity associated with autistic traits in the general population. Br J Psychol ;2019 (Dec 5)

Reports linking prenatal testosterone exposure to autistic traits and to a masculinized face structure have motivated research investigating whether autism is associated with facial masculinization. This association has been reported with greater consistency for females than for males, in studies comparing groups with high and low levels of autistic traits. In the present study, we conducted two experiments to examine facial masculinity/femininity in 151 neurotypical adults selected for either low, mid-range, or high levels of autistic traits. In the first experiment, their three-dimensional facial photographs were subjectively rated by 41 raters for masculinity/femininity and were objectively analysed. In the second experiment, we generated 6-face composite images, which were rated by another 36 raters. Across both experiments, findings were consistent for ratings of photographs and composite images. For females, a linear relationship was observed where femininity ratings decreased as a function of higher levels of autistic traits. For males, we found a U-shaped function where males with mid-range levels of traits were rated lowest on masculinity. Objective facial analyses revealed that higher levels of autistic traits were associated with less feminine facial structures in females and less masculine structures in males. These results suggest sex-specific relationships between autistic traits and facial masculinity/femininity.

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22. Zhou HY, Shi LJ, Yang HX, Cheung EFC, Chan RCK. Audiovisual temporal integration and rapid temporal recalibration in adolescents and adults : Age-related changes and its correlation with autistic traits. Autism Res ;2019 (Dec 6)

Temporal structure is a key factor in determining the relatedness of multisensory stimuli. Stimuli that are close in time are more likely to be integrated into a unified perceptual representation. To investigate the age-related developmental differences in audiovisual temporal integration and rapid temporal recalibration, we administered simultaneity judgment (SJ) tasks to a group of adolescents (11-14 years) and young adults (18-28 years). No age-related changes were found in the width of the temporal binding window within which participants are highly likely to combine multisensory stimuli. The main distinction between adolescents and adults was audiovisual temporal recalibration. Although participants of both age groups could rapidly recalibrate based on the previous trial for speech stimuli (i.e., syllable utterances), only adults but not adolescents showed short-term recalibration for simple and non-speech stimuli. In both adolescents and adults, no significant correlation was found between audiovisual temporal integration ability and autistic or schizotypal traits. These findings provide new information on the developmental trajectory of basic multisensory function and may have implications for neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism) with altered audiovisual temporal integration. Autism Res 2019. (c) 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY : Utilizing temporal cues to integrate and separate audiovisual information is a fundamental ability underlying higher order social communicative functions. This study examines the developmental changes of the ability to detect audiovisual asynchrony and rapidly adjust sensory decisions based on previous sensory input. In healthy adolescents and young adults, the correlation between autistic traits and audiovisual integration ability failed to reach a significant level. Therefore, more research is needed to examine whether impairment in basic sensory functions is correlated with broader autism phenotype in nonclinical populations. These results may help us understand altered multisensory integration in people with autism.

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