Pubmed du 16/04/20

jeudi 16 avril 2020

1. Cuchillo-Ibanez I, Andreo-Lillo P, Pastor-Ferrandiz L, Carratala-Marco F, Saez-Valero J. Elevated Plasma Reelin Levels in Children With Autism. Frontiers in psychiatry. 2020 ; 11 : 242.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders involving age-dependent gene dysregulation. Reelin is a glycoprotein that varies its expression throughout lifetime and controls cortical patterning and synaptogenesis. Brain and plasma reelin levels have been reported to be low in adults with autism ; as well as in children with autism, but only when compared to control adults. Therefore, reelin expression levels in children with autism are unclear. For this reason, we compared plasma reelin levels in children with autism and children without autism (non-ASD) of similar ages to evaluate reelin expression in ASD during childhood. Plasma samples from 19 non-ASD (8.9 +/- 0.8 years) and 40 children with autism (7.5 +/- 0.5 years) were analyzed. We found that 50% of the children with autism displayed similar plasma reelin levels to the non-ASD group. However, the remaining 50% expressed more than 30 times more reelin compared to non-ASD levels. We also show that male children with autism displayed significantly higher reelin levels than females. The clinical presentation of this subgroup could not be distinguished from that of children with autism. Epilepsy or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not associated to reelin levels. We conclude that the high levels of plasma reelin might be an important hallmark in a subset of children with autism, previously unnoticed. As we could not find any correlation between reelin levels and ASD clinical presentations, our results may indicate transient reelin increases in the plasma or the characterization of a group of ASD individuals with a different pathophysiology.

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2. D’Alo GL, De Crescenzo F, Minozzi S, Morgano GP, Mitrova Z, Scattoni ML, Amato L, Davoli M, Schunemann HJ. Equity, acceptability and feasibility of using polyunsaturated fatty acids in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder : a rapid systematic review. Health and quality of life outcomes. 2020 ; 18(1) : 101.

INTRODUCTION : Some recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessed the efficacy and safety of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To optimally inform the Italian guideline for the management of ASD in children and adolescents, we reviewed the impact on equity, acceptability and feasibility for developing a pilot recommendation for PUFAs. METHODS : We performed a rapid systematic review of observational and experimental studies on PUFAs for children and adolescents with ASD, extracting data on resources required, equity, acceptability, and feasibility of PUFAs. We followed the framework provided by the grading of recommendations assessment, development and evaluation (GRADE) methodology, and we assessed risk of bias and methodological quality of included studies. Results were synthesized both narratively and quantitatively to address clinically relevant questions on equity, acceptability, and feasibility. RESULTS : We found 14 papers related to equity. PUFAs did not seem to impact equity importantly. We did not find variation in effectiveness across subgroups and in a base case scenario, the cost of a 12 weeks cycle of therapy with 1.155 g/day of PUFAs was euro65.51 euro. The acceptability of PUFAs was evaluated in 17 studies, 9 of which were RCTs. PUFAs were widely used among children and adolescents with ASD (18 to 51%), and 50% of parents considered nutritional supplementation as useful. Difficulty in swallowing capsules and bad taste were identified as possible causes of poor compliance, but treatment adherence, when measured in included RCTs, was judged to be good to excellent. Discontinuation due to any cause for PUFAs could not differ from placebo (low certainty of evidence). The feasibility of using PUFAs was assessed in 12 studies. PUFAs were probably sustainable, and no particular critical issue emerged from the feasibility assessment. However, the evidence appeared scarce and indirect. CONCLUSIONS : We found the administration of PUFAs in children and adolescents with ASD to be potentially equitable, acceptable and feasible. These results are limited by the limited number and quality of retrieved documents, and need to be viewed in light of efficacy and safety data to formulate clinical recommendations.

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3. Filosi M, Kam-Thong T, Essioux L, Muglia P, Trabetti E, Spooren W, Muller-Myshok B, Domenici E. Transcriptome signatures from discordant sibling pairs reveal changes in peripheral blood immune cell composition in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Translational psychiatry. 2020 ; 10(1) : 106.

Notwithstanding several research efforts in the past years, robust and replicable molecular signatures for autism spectrum disorders from peripheral blood remain elusive. The available literature on blood transcriptome in ASD suggests that through accurate experimental design it is possible to extract important information on the disease pathophysiology at the peripheral level. Here we exploit the availability of a resource for molecular biomarkers in ASD, the Italian Autism Network (ITAN) collection, for the investigation of transcriptomic signatures in ASD based on a discordant sibling pair design. Whole blood samples from 75 discordant sibling pairs selected from the ITAN network where submitted to RNASeq analysis and data analyzed by complementary approaches. Overall, differences in gene expression between affected and unaffected siblings were small. In order to assess the contribution of differences in the relative proportion of blood cells between discordant siblings, we have applied two different cell deconvolution algorithms, showing that the observed molecular signatures mainly reflect changes in peripheral blood immune cell composition, in particular NK cells. The results obtained by the cell deconvolution approach are supported by the analysis performed by WGCNA. Our report describes the largest differential gene expression profiling in peripheral blood of ASD subjects and controls conducted by RNASeq. The observed signatures are consistent with the hypothesis of immune alterations in autism and an increased risk of developing autism in subjects exposed to prenatal infections or stress. Our study also points to a potential role of NMUR1, HMGB3, and PTPRN2 in ASD.

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4. Gao Y, Yu Y, Xiao J, Luo J, Zhang Y, Tian Y, Zhang J, Olsen J, Li J, Liew Z. Association of Grandparental and Parental Age at Childbirth With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children. JAMA network open. 2020 ; 3(4) : e202868.

Importance : Advanced parental age has been associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children. However, little is known about the association between grandparental age at the time of birth of the parent and the risk of ASD in the grandchildren. Objective : To estimate the associations between parental and grandparental age and ASD risk in children. Design, Setting, and Participants : This population-based, multigenerational cohort study used data from Danish national health registries. A parental age cohort was constructed to evaluate the association between parental age and ASD in 1 476 783 singleton children born from 1990 to 2013, and a multigenerational cohort was also constructed including 362 438 fathers and 458 234 mothers born from 1973 to 1990 for whom information on grandparental age was available. Data analyses were conducted from November 1, 2018, through February 7, 2020. Exposures : Parental age at childbirth and grandparental age at the time of the birth of the parent. Main Outcomes and Measures : Diagnoses of ASD in children were obtained from the Danish Psychiatric Central Register (1994-2017). Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the associations between parental or grandparental age and ASD in children. Results : Of the 1 476 783 children born from 1990 to 2013, 758066 (51.3%) were male, and 27 616 (1.9%) had ASD (20 467 [74.1%] were male). Advanced paternal or maternal age over 30 years was monotonically associated with increased ASD risk, with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.56 (95% CI, 1.45-1.68) for maternal age 40 years and older and 1.57 (95% CI, 1.39-1.78) for paternal age 50 years and older, compared with parents aged 25 to 29 years. In the multigenerational cohort, 9364 grandchildren (1.7%) had ASD. This study found U-shaped associations, in that ASD risk was higher among grandchildren of younger (/=40 years) paternal grandmothers (OR, 1.40 ; 95% CI, 1.03-1.90) compared with the grandchildren of grandparents who were aged 25 to 29 years at the time of giving birth to the parents. Conclusions and Relevance : These findings corroborate previous studies suggesting that advanced parental age is independently associated with increased ASD risk in children. This study also found that children with young maternal grandparents and children with young and old paternal grandparents had elevated ASD risk. Possible transmission of ASD risk across generations should be considered in etiological research on ASD.

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5. Gladfelter A, Barron KL. How Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Language Disorder, and Typical Language Learn to Produce Global and Local Semantic Features. Brain Sci. 2020 ; 10(4).

A local processing bias, often considered a cognitive style unique to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), may influence the types of semantic features acquired by children with ASD and could contribute to weaknesses in word learning. Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) also struggle to learn semantic aspects of words, but this cognitive style has not been ascribed to children with DLD. The purpose of this study was to explore whether global-local processing differences influence the type of semantic features children with ASD, DLD, and their neurotypical peers learn to produce when learning new words. Novel word definitions produced by 36 school-aged children (12 with ASD, 12 with DLD, and 12 with typical language) who participated in an extended word-learning paradigm were used to extract newly learned semantic features. These semantic features were then coded for global and local attributes and analyzed to detect whether there were differences between groups. Results indicated that the children with ASD and DLD produced more global, rather than local, semantic features in their definitions than the children with typical language. An over-reliance on global, rather than local, features in children with ASD and DLD may reflect deficits in depth of word knowledge.

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6. Gordon A, Geschwind DH. Human in vitro models for understanding mechanisms of autism spectrum disorder. Mol Autism. 2020 ; 11(1) : 26.

Early brain development is a critical epoch for the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In vivo animal models have, until recently, been the principal tool used to study early brain development and the changes occurring in neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. In vitro models of brain development represent a significant advance in the field. Here, we review the main methods available to study human brain development in vitro and the applications of these models for studying ASD and other psychiatric disorders. We discuss the main findings from stem cell models to date focusing on cell cycle and proliferation, cell death, cell differentiation and maturation, and neuronal signaling and synaptic stimuli. To be able to generalize the results from these studies, we propose a framework of experimental design and power considerations for using in vitro models to study ASD. These include both technical issues such as reproducibility and power analysis and conceptual issues such as the brain region and cell types being modeled.

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7. Ishtiaq N, Mumtaz N, Saqulain G. Stress and coping strategies for parenting children with hearing impairment and autism. Pak J Med Sci. 2020 ; 36(3) : 538-43.

Objectives : To determine the level of stress experienced and coping strategies used by parents of hearing impaired and autistic children. Methods : Using non-probability convenience sampling this cross sectional study recruited n =200 parents of hearing impaired (HI) and 100 parents of autistic children, of either gender, aged 20 to 60 years. Samples were recruited from Special Education Institutes of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, over a period of six months, from October 2018 to March 2019 and conducted at Isra Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, Islamabad. Basic demographical sheet, Parental Stress Scale and Coping Strategies Inventory were used for data collection. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS 21. Results : In parents of hearing impaired the mean parental stress score was 47.44+/-12.85 and commonest coping strategy was problem focused engagement (26.03) followed by problem focused dis-engagement (24.25). In the autistic group the mean parental stress score was 48.92+11.22 with problem focused engagement being the most frequently used strategy (27.4) followed by emotion focused strategy. Conclusion : Different level of stress experienced by parents of autistic and hearing impaired children which is statistically significant and they employed different coping strategies.

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8. Kirby AV, Diener ML, Adkins DE, Wright C. Transition preparation activities among families of youth on the autism spectrum : Preliminary study using repeated assessments across a school year. PLoS One. 2020 ; 15(4) : e0231551.

Much is still unknown about the transition to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including what preparation activities best support positive adult outcomes. Parents play a crucial role in the transition planning and preparation process, yet the existing literature lacks detailed information about parent perceptions about transition preparation activities. To examine family transition preparation activities, we conducted a ten-month study of the transition preparation process of 15 families of youth with ASD across an academic year. Youth were ages 14-17 and 93% male. We collected data on transition preparation activity time spent and parent satisfaction over twenty data collection points. We used multi-level modeling to determine longitudinal trajectories of parent-reported preparation for the transition to adulthood based on endorsed transition preparation activities. Findings from this preliminary study revealed that discussions about the future were the most commonly endorsed activities, while social activities were most associated with increased parental perception of transition preparation over time. This study expands understanding of various transition preparation activities engaged in by families of youth with ASD during high school, though research with a larger and more diverse sample is needed to extend findings.

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9. Kolodny T, Schallmo MP, Gerdts J, Edden RAE, Bernier RA, Murray SO. Concentrations of Cortical GABA and Glutamate in Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Res. 2020.

The balance of excitation and inhibition in neural circuits is hypothesized to be increased in autism spectrum disorder, possibly mediated by altered signaling of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), yet empirical evidence in humans is inconsistent. We used edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to quantify signals associated with both GABA and the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate in multiple regions of the sensory and sensorimotor cortex, including primary visual, auditory, and motor areas in adult individuals with autism and in neurotypical controls. Despite the strong a priori hypothesis of reduced GABA in autism spectrum disorder, we found no group differences in neurometabolite concentrations in any of the examined regions and no correlations of MRS measure with psychophysical visual sensitivity or autism symptomatology. We demonstrate high data quality that is comparable across groups, with a relatively large sample of well-characterized participants, and use Bayesian statistics to corroborate the lack of any group differences. We conclude that levels of GABA and Glx (glutamate, glutamine, and glutathione) in the sensory and sensorimotor cortex, as measured with MRS at 3T, are comparable in adults with autism and neurotypical individuals. LAY SUMMARY : gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate are the main inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters in the human brain, respectively, and their balanced interaction is necessary for neural function. Previous research suggests that the GABA and glutamate systems might be altered in autism. In this study, we used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure concentrations of these neurotransmitters in the sensory areas in the brains of young adults with autism. In contradiction to the common hypothesis of reduced GABA in autism, we demonstrate that concentrations of both GABA and glutamate, in all the brain regions examined, are comparable in individuals with autism and in neurotypical adults. (c) 2020 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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10. Lindgren S, Wacker D, Schieltz K, Suess A, Pelzel K, Kopelman T, Lee J, Romani P, O’Brien M. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Functional Communication Training via Telehealth for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have problem behaviors that interfere with learning and social interaction. This randomized controlled trial compared treatment with functional communication training (FCT) to "treatment as usual" for young children with ASD (n = 38, ages 21-84 months). FCT was conducted by parents with training and real-time coaching provided by behavioral consultants using telehealth. FCT treatment via telehealth achieved a mean reduction in problem behavior of 98% compared to limited behavioral improvement in children receiving "treatment as usual" during a 12-week period. Social communication and task completion also improved. For children with ASD and moderate to severe behavior problems, parent-implemented FCT using telehealth significantly reduced problem behavior while ongoing interventions typically did not.

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11. Nehme R, Barrett LE. Using human pluripotent stem cell models to study autism in the era of big data. Mol Autism. 2020 ; 11(1) : 21.

Advances in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) biology coupled with protocols to generate diverse brain cell types in vitro have provided neuroscientists with opportunities to dissect basic and disease mechanisms in increasingly relevant cellular substrates. At the same time, large data collections and analyses have facilitated unprecedented insights into autism genetics, normal human genetic variation, and the molecular landscape of the developing human brain. While such insights have enabled the investigation of key mechanistic questions in autism, they also highlight important limitations associated with the use of existing hPSC models. In this review, we discuss four such issues which influence the efficacy of hPSC models for studying autism, including (i) sources of variance, (ii) scale and format of study design, (iii) divergence from the human brain in vivo, and (iv) regulatory policies and compliance governing the use of hPSCs. Moreover, we advocate for a set of immediate and long-term priorities to address these issues and to accelerate the generation and reproducibility of data in order to facilitate future fundamental as well as therapeutic discoveries.

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12. Nottingham CL, Vladescu JC, DeBar RM, Deshais M, DeQuinzio J. The influence of instructive feedback presentation schedule : A replication with children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of applied behavior analysis. 2020.

Instructive feedback (IF) is a modification to discrete trial instruction that may increase instructional efficiency for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Several variations of IF have recently been evaluated in the literature ; however, few studies have assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of presenting secondary targets on continuous versus intermittent presentation schedules. The current study evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of various presentation schedules of secondary targets during discrete trial instruction. Specifically, we replicated and extended Griffen et al. (1998) by comparing a condition in which secondary targets were presented during each trial of a session, a condition in which secondary targets were presented every other trial, and a condition in which secondary targets were presented about every 4 trials. Within-subject replications were included for both participants. One of the intermittent presentation schedules was associated with the most optimal outcomes in all 4 comparisons.

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13. Siracusano M, Riccioni A, Abate R, Benvenuto A, Curatolo P, Mazzone L. Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Current pharmaceutical design. 2020.

Vitamin D is a neurosteroid hormone crucially involved in neurodevelopment. Neural cell proliferation, neurotransmission, oxydative stress and immune function, represent the main mechanisms mediated by vitamin D in the Central Nervous System. Therefore, its deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood may significantly impact on a developing brain, leading to possible adverse neuropsychological outcomes including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Significant vitamin D deficiency is described within children affected by ASD and in pregnant mothers whose offspring will later develop ASD, suggesting a possible role of the hormone as a contributing risk factor in the etiopathogenesis of ASD. We reviewed the actual literature on the potential contributing role of prenatal and early postnatal vitamin D deficiency in ASD etiopathogenesis, at both genetic and environmental level, and the possible effect of vitamin D supplementation in autistic children. Conflicting but promising results emerged on the topic. Further Randomized Controlled Trials studies carried out during pregnancy and early infancy are necessary for better understanding the possible contribution of vitamin D deficiency in the etiopathogenesis of autism and the potential efficacy of the hormone supplementation on the improvement of ASD core symptoms.

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14. Sivamaruthi BS, Suganthy N, Kesika P, Chaiyasut C. The Role of Microbiome, Dietary Supplements, and Probiotics in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 ; 17(8).

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the impairment of the cognitive function of a child. Studies suggested that the intestinal microbiota has a critical role in the function and regulation of the central nervous system, neuroimmune system and neuroendocrine system. Any adverse changes in the gut-brain axis may cause serious disease. Food preferences and dietary patterns are considered as key in influencing the factors of ASD development. Several recent reviews narrated the importance of dietary composition on controlling or reducing the ASD symptoms. It has been known that the consumption of probiotics confers several health benefits by positive amendment of gut microbiota. The influence of probiotic intervention in children with ASD has also been reported and it has been considered as an alternative and complementary therapeutic supplement for ASD. The present manuscript discusses the role of microbiota and diet in the development of ASD. It also summarizes the recent updates on the influence of dietary supplements and the beneficial effect of probiotics on ASD symptoms. An in-depth literature survey suggested that the maternal diet and lifestyle are greatly associated with the development of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Mounting evidences have confirmed the alteration in the gut microbial composition in children suffering from ASD. However, the unique profile of microbiome has not yet been fully characterized due to the heterogeneity of patients. The supplementation of probiotics amended the symptoms associated with ASD but the results are inconclusive. The current study recommends further detailed research considering the role of microbiome, diet and probiotics in the development and control of ASD.

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15. Srinivasan S, Bhat A. Differences in caregiver behaviors of infants at-risk for autism and typically developing infants from 9 to 15 months of age. Infant Behav Dev. 2020 ; 59 : 101445.

During an object sharing paradigm, we compared infant-caregiver interactions between two groups : i) infants at high-risk (HR) for being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ii) low-risk (LR) infants, observed at 9, 12, and 15 months of age. 16 HR infants (14 infants with an older sibling diagnosed with ASD and 2 preterm infants that received a diagnosis of ASD at 2 years) and 16 LR infants (typically developing infants without older siblings diagnosed with ASD) were included in the study. At each visit, infants played with objects in the presence of their caregivers as crawlers or walkers. Previously, we found that HR infants are less likely to share their object play with caregivers at walker ages. The present study found that caregivers of HR infants used greater directive bids including being more proximal to infants and using greater verbal and non-verbal bids to sustain their infant’s attention and to ensure their compliance during the task compared to caregivers of LR infants. Our study emphasizes the bidirectional and dynamic nature of infant-caregiver interactions. Our findings have implications for caregiver training programs that teach parents appropriate strategies to promote early social communication skills in at-risk infants.

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16. Strydom A, Bosco A, Vickerstaff V, Hunter R, Hassiotis A. Clinical and cost effectiveness of staff training in the delivery of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) for adults with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and challenging behaviour - randomised trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2020 ; 20(1) : 161.

BACKGROUND : Although Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a widely used intervention for ameliorating challenging behaviour (CB), evidence for its use in adults with intellectual disability (ID) and comorbid autism (ASD) is lacking. We report a planned subsidiary analysis of adults with both ASD and ID who participated in a randomised trial of PBS delivered by health professionals. METHODS : The study was a multicentre, cluster randomised trial conducted in 23 community ID services in England, participants were randomly allocated to either the delivery of PBS (n = 11 clusters) or to treatment as usual (TAU ; n = 12). One-hundred and thirteen participants (46% of all participants in the trial) had a diagnosis of ID, autism spectrum disorder and CB (ASD+) ; (47 allocated to the intervention arm, and 66 to the control). CB (primary outcome) was measured with the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist total score (ABC-CT). Secondary outcomes included mental health status, psychotropic medication use, health and social care costs and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) over 12 months. RESULTS : There were no statistically significant differences in ABC-CT between ASD+ groups randomised to the two arms over 12 months (adjusted mean difference = - 2.10, 95% CI : - 11.3 7.13, p = 0.655) or other measures. The mean incremental cost of the intervention per participant was pound628 (95% CI - pound1004 to pound2013). There was a difference of 0.039 (95% CI - 0.028 to 0.103) for QALYs and a cost per QALY gained of pound16,080. CONCLUSIONS : Results suggest lack of clinical effectiveness for PBS delivered by specialist ID clinical teams. Further evidence is needed from larger trials, and development of improved interventions. TRIAL REGISTRATION : ClinicalTrials.gov : NCT01680276.

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17. Todd T, Miodrag N, Colgate Bougher S, Zambom AZ. A Peer Mentored Physical Activity Intervention : An Emerging Practice for Autistic College Students. Autism in adulthood : challenges and management. 2019 ; 1(3) : 232-7.

Many autistic individuals are less fit and have more health problems than their nonautistic peers. These findings suggest a need to develop effective physical activity interventions. Motor skill deficits, lack of motivation, and limited opportunities for physical activity may restrict exercise participation. Peer mentors can help autistic college students increase their physical activity level and fitness. We developed a 10-week peer mentored physical activity program that affords autistic college students the opportunity to act in a self-determined manner in which students are encouraged to engage in preferred activities and self-directed instruction (autonomy), gain skills through access to expert instruction (competence), and engage socially with peers (relatedness). The ability to act with self-determination may increase students’ motivation to participate in physical activity. From our pilot study, we learned that autistic college students could improve their cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, and upper body muscular endurance as a result of participating in Into Fitness Together. We also learned of three shared themes : students felt that they gained motor competence, improved their health, and felt a sense of belonging. The autistic students spent time with both autistic and nonautistic peers, which fostered this belongingness. Access to movement experts and peer mentors in an individualized program that affords choice in physical activity is a step in the right direction to eliminate the health disparities of autistic young adults. Lay Summary : Why was this program developed ?We developed a physical activity program because we saw the need for autistic individuals to benefit from regular physical activity. Motor skill challenges may keep autistic adults from engaging in regular physical activity and from reaping the benefits of improved fitness. Since participating in regular physical activity is important for the health of all individuals, it is important to design programs that address barriers so all people can benefit.What new program was developed ?We developed a 10-week physical activity program called Into Fitness Together (IFiT) for autistic college students. The program is unique because it is individualized, tailored to autistic adults, fun, and has a built-in one-to-one peer support system.What did the researchers do ?We wanted to learn whether the program had the potential to increase health-related fitness and how autistic college students experienced IFiT. Sixteen autistic college students participated in IFiT. They were paired one-on-one with another college student (known as a peer mentor) who was an expert in exercise science. The pairs worked out together 2.5 hours a week for 10 consecutive weeks. We examined change in participants’ fitness levels at the start and end of IFiT. We also interviewed the autistic peers to understand their IFiT experience.What was the result of participating in the program ?With regular participation in physical activity, the autistic peers improved their cardiorespiratory fitness levels, muscular endurance, and flexibility by the end of IFiT. There were three main themes that emerged from the interviews. At the end of the program, participants reported (1) greater competence in motor skills and a greater understanding of exercise, (2) improved overall health, and (3) a sense of belonging. Participants said they learned new ways to exercise, how to exercise correctly, and stated that they felt healthy and fit. They also expressed a sense of belonging. Participants stated that they valued their time with their peer mentor not only because the peer mentor shared their expertise in physical activity and exercise, but also because the peers talked about school, hobbies, and life in general. Having ongoing opportunities for regular social interaction was a positive experience for IFiT participants.What are the next steps for program development ?This emerging practice article describes a small pilot study performed at one university, thus results cannot be generalized. Also, we did not have data from a comparison group of autistic students who did not participate in the program. Future studies should use a control and comparison group and gather data at multiple institutions.How will these findings help autistic adults now or in the future ?There is limited information on interventions focused on physical activity for autistic college students ; therefore, our work provides insight into a promising program. Regular physical activity can lead to positive health outcomes, skill acquisation, and participating in IFiT can potentially set the stage for lifelong physical activity.

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18. Wang Y, Li N, Yang JJ, Zhao DM, Chen B, Zhang GQ, Chen S, Cao RF, Yu H, Zhao CY, Zhao L, Ge YS, Liu Y, Zhang LH, Hu W, Zhang L, Gai ZT. Probiotics and fructo-oligosaccharide intervention modulate the microbiota-gut brain axis to improve autism spectrum reducing also the hyper-serotonergic state and the dopamine metabolism disorder. Pharmacological research. 2020 : 104784.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is increasing, but its etiology remains elusive and hence an effective treatment is not available. Previous research conducted on animal models suggests that microbiota-gut-brain axis may contribute to ASD pathology and hence more human research is needed. This study was divided into two stages, at the discovery stage, we compared the difference in gut microbiota profiles (using 16S rRNA sequencing), fecal SCFAs (using GC-MS) and plasma neurotransmitters (using UHPLC-MS/MS) of 26 children with ASD and 24 normal children. All 26 children with ASD participated in the intervention stage, and we measured the gut microbiota profiles, SCFAs and neurotransmitters before and after probiotics + FOS (n = 16) or placebo supplementation (n = 10). We found that gut microbiota was in a state of dysbiosis and significantly lower levels of Bifidobacteriales and Bifidobacterium longum were found at the discovery stage in children with ASD. An increase in beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacteriales and B. longum) and suppression of suspected pathogenic bacteria (Clostridium) emerged after probiotics + FOS intervention, with significant reduction in the severity of autism and gastrointestinal symptoms. Compared to children in the control group, significantly lower levels of acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid were found, and a hyperserotonergic state (increased serotonin) and dopamine metabolism disorder (decreased homovanillic acid) were observed in children with ASD. Interestingly, the above SCFAs in children with autism significantly elevated after probiotics + FOS intervention and approached that in the control group. In addition, our data demonstrated that decreased serotonin and increased homovanillic acid emerged after probiotics + FOS intervention. However, the above-mentioned changes did not appear in the placebo group for ASD children. Probiotics + FOS intervention can modulate gut microbiota, SCFAs and serotonin in association with improved ASD symptoms, including a hyper-serotonergic state and dopamine metabolism disorder.

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19. West KL, Roemer EJ, Northrup JB, Iverson JM. Profiles of Early Actions and Gestures in Infants With an Older Sibling With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR. 2020 : 1-17.

Purpose Infants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) produce fewer play actions and gestures than neurotypical infants (e.g., Mastrogiuseppe et al., 2015 ; Veness et al., 2012 ; Zwaigenbaum et al., 2005). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether different "types" of actions and gestures are more or less likely to develop atypically in ASD. Method We examined eight types of actions and gestures longitudinally from ages 8 to 14 months in 80 infants with a heightened risk for developing ASD by virtue of having an affected older sibling (high risk [HR] ; e.g., Ozonoff et al., 2011) and 25 infants with no such familial risk (low risk). Data were collected using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (Fenson et al., 1994, 1993). Results HR infants later diagnosed with ASD showed less growth across nearly all types of actions and gestures compared to the low-risk comparison group. Importantly, these HR infants who were later diagnosed with ASD also exhibited reduced growth in frequent deictic gestures and in actions that involve object manipulation relative to HR infants with non-ASD language delay. Conclusions During infancy, it is challenging for clinicians to distinguish ASD from other early communicative delays (e.g., Camarata, 2014). Our results indicate that deictic gestures, as well as actions and gestures involving object manipulation, may be useful targets of surveillance strategies for HR infants and could support early detection efforts for ASD.

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20. Xie R, Sun X, Yang L, Guo Y. Characteristic Executive Dysfunction for High-Functioning Autism Sustained to Adulthood. Autism Res. 2020.

The comprehensiveness and severity of executive dysfunction in high-functioning autism (HFA) spectrum disorder have not reached a unified conclusion especially in patients in adulthood. Clarifying this issue is critical for guiding clinical diagnosis and targeted intervention. The primary objective of the present meta-analysis was to study the characteristics of executive function (EF) in adults with HFA compared to typically developing (TD) adults, by taking five key components into consideration, including inhibition, working memory, flexibility, planning, and fluency. The PubMed and Embase databases were searched to identify peer-reviewed studies that compared EF in adults with and without HFA from 1980 to November 2018. Hedges’ g effect sizes were computed to measure the primary outcome. Moderators like age, sex, and diagnostic tools were controlled using meta-regressions. Forty-two studies satisfying the selection criteria were included, which resulted in a large sample size of 2419 participants. A moderate overall effect size for reduced EF across domains was found in adults with HFA, compared with TD (g = 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.47-0.66). Subsequently, a broad executive dysfunction was found in adults with HFA in this study (flexibility [g = 0.69], planning [g = 0.64], inhibition [g = 0.61], working memory [g = 0.48], fluency [g = 0.42]), with the predominated impairment on flexibility and planning. Taken together, these results provide evidence for the executive dysfunction hypothesis and may assist in the clinical diagnosis and targeted intervention, suggesting the necessity of sustained intervention on EF for individuals with HFA from childhood to adulthood. LAY SUMMARY : The meta-analysis explored the characteristics of EF in adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) comparing to typically developing controls. Moderate effect sizes for reduced EF across domains were found in adults with HFA, with the flexibility and planning being the most predominately impaired. A comprehensive measurement of EF in adults with HFA has important clinical implications for the diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and a fundamental understanding for developmental trajectory of these patients.

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