Pubmed du 24/04/20

vendredi 24 avril 2020

1. Adams RE, Taylor JL, Bishop SL. Brief Report : ASD-Related Behavior Problems and Negative Peer Experiences Among Adolescents with ASD in General Education Settings. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

The goal of the current study was to test associations between various ASD-related behavior problems and negative peer experiences in adolescents with ASD. Data were obtained from the Bullying and School Experiences of Children with ASD Survey completed by parents in the Interactive Autism Network (IAN). The current study focused on data from 279 parents of 7th-11th graders with ASD who spent at least half of the school day in a general education setting. Logistic regression analyses found that frequent meltdowns, poor hygiene, rigid rule-keeping, and self-injury were associated with negative peer experiences. Surprisingly, repetitive behaviors and verbal tics were associated with a lower likelihood of experiencing verbal victimization.

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2. Bundgaard-Nielsen C, Knudsen J, Leutscher PDC, Lauritsen MB, Nyegaard M, Hagstrom S, Sorensen S. Gut microbiota profiles of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder : A systematic literature review. Gut microbes. 2020 : 1-16.

Accumulating evidence has implicated an involvement of the gut-brain axis in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however with highly diverse results. This systematic review aims to describe and evaluate studies investigating the gut microbiota composition in individuals with ASD or ADHD and to evaluate if variations in gut microbiota are associated with these disorders.Twenty-four articles were identified in a systematic literature search of PubMed and Embase up to July 22, 2019. They consisted of 20 studies investigating ASD and four studies investigating ADHD. For ASD, several studies agreed on an overall difference in beta-diversity, although no consistent bacterial variation between all studies was reported. For ADHD, the results were more diverse, with no clear differences observed.Several common characteristics in gut microbiota function were identified for ASD compared to controls. In contrast, highly heterogeneous results were reported for ADHD, and thus the association between gut microbiota composition and ADHD remains unclear. For both disorders, methodological differences hampered the comparison of studies.

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3. Chernov AN. [Pathophysiological mechanisms of autism in children]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2020 ; 120(3) : 97-108.

Based on the analysis of literature, the authors describe the neuropathophysiological mechanism of the formation of synapses, synaptic transmission and plasticity, which may underlie the pathogenesis of autism. The results of some studies confirm the involvement of aberrant expression of genes and proteins of synaptic contacts, cell adhesion molecules p120ctn, CNTN5, CNTN6, activation of NMDA glutamate, TrkB, p75 receptors, Ca(2+)-input, BDNF, serotonin and testosterone. This leads to an imbalance in the exciting, inhibitory synaptic transmission and forms of synaptic plasticity, including long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) at the level of individual neurons and their chains due to suppression of GABA synthesis, expression of its ionotropic and metabotropic receptors, G proteins, NGF, TrkA receptors, a reduction in the number of GABAergic neurons, their contacts and disruption of differentiation. The pathology of the nuclei of the thalamus, especially the reticular nucleus (RN), is associated with a disturbance of the expression of the subunits of metabotropic GABAbeta receptors, Ca(2+) channels, GABA excretion and the work of chlorine transmitters. These failures do not ensure the inhibitory effect of OC on the exciting associative and ventral nuclei of the thalamus, nor modify the incoming information to the cerebral cortex (CC) from these thalamus nuclei, the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and the nuclei of the reticular formation. Information propagating into the somatosensory and associative regions of CC is not modified by mirror neurons (MN) when performing arbitrary actions, which prevents the formation of an adequate image in the neural networks of the associative cortex and promotes the development of hyperexcitability, irritability, increased visual and auditory sensitivity, anxiety, and the ability to form a holistic image based on the actions of other people.

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4. Corridore D, Zumbo G, Corvino I, Guaragna M, Bossu M, Polimeni A, Vozza I. Prevalence of oral disease and treatment types proposed to children affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Pediatric Dentistry : a Systematic Review. La Clinica terapeutica. 2020 ; 171(3) : e275-e82.

PURPOSE : To investigate the prevalence of dental caries and periodontal disease in children with ASD, and to analyse the necessity of treatment and the prevalence of using general anaesthesia in order to perform it. MATERIALS AND METHODS : A search was performed covering the last 10 years utilising the following databases : Pubmed, Scopus, Medline, BASE, Science Citation Index, Science Direct, Web of Science. Four reviewers evaluated each study. Review findings were summarised using the PRISMA Statement for reporting. Thirteen articles were included in this systematic review. RESULTS : When analysing the articles selected, the evidence turned out did not show a common DFMT and dmft for the groups of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder considered. When compared to group of unaffected children, groups of ASD children not always showed a higher prevalence of caries but always higher Periodontal Indexes (PI and GI), resulting in higher prevalence of periodontal disease. Where the treatment was performed and taken into consideration, there was a high incidence of necessity of General Anaesthesia due to the lack of collaboration of the children. CONCLUSION : The high prevalence of treatment under general anaesthesia and the often-reported negative behaviour evidence how there is a lack of protocols specifically designed for these patients, in order to better improve their collaboration and subsequently their oral health and so additional strategies for a preventive care should be applied for these patients.

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5. Fang Z, Barlow J, Zhang C. Parenting Programs That Address Physical Abuse in Childhood for Families of Children With Developmental Disabilities in Mainland China : Systematic Review and Meta-Regression. Trauma, violence & abuse. 2020 : 1524838020915599.

Millions of children in China are diagnosed with developmental disabilities (DD), many of whom are subject to physical abuse. While a significant body of research suggests that parenting interventions can reduce the incidence and risk of such abuse, there is currently limited evidence of their effectiveness for this population or from non-English-speaking countries. This review involved searches in both English and Chinese databases to identify randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies of parenting interventions for families of children with DD in mainland China. Multilevel meta-analyses were undertaken to examine the effectiveness of parenting programs. Subgroup analyses and meta-regression were conducted to investigate heterogeneity and identify potential moderators with a focus on intervention and delivery components. Risk of bias was assessed for each study. Thirty-one studies were included. The results showed that parenting interventions could reduce child emotional and behavioral problems (CEBP) and improve the parent-child relationship, although only one study directly measured the actual incidence of abuse. Programs for autism and epilepsy had stronger treatment effects. Teaching knowledge about CEBP, skills to improve parental mental health, and techniques to cultivate empathy were associated with program success ; however, positive reinforcement was associated with more problems. The results also supported the delivery of programs with longer duration, a combination of group and individual sessions, efforts to build rapport, ongoing communication outside the programs, and delivery in hospitals or service agencies. Further research is needed, however, in addition to improvements in the quality of research and reporting.

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6. Gehricke JG, Chan J, Farmer JG, Fenning RM, Steinberg-Epstein R, Misra M, Parker RA, Neumeyer AM. Physical activity rates in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder compared to the general population. Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2020 ; 70.

Physical activity may improve symptoms and skill deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The objective of this study was to compare the reported frequency of physical activity and covariates in a large sample of children with ASD with children of similar age from the general population. The sample with ASD was derived from the Autism Treatment Network Registry Call Back Assessment (n = 611), and the general population data were derived from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) (n = 71,811). In addition, demographic, child, and family (parent) factors were examined in relation to frequency of recent physical activity in children with ASD. Among males in the 6-11 year-old age group, those with ASD participated in physical activity less often (p <0.001) than those in the NSCH general population. Specifically, 33 % of boys 6-11 years old in the NSCH group vs. only 17 % in the RCBA group 6-11 years old engaged in some physical activity every day, while 4 % of boys in the NSCH group vs. 18 % in the RCBA group engaged in no physical activity whatsoever. A similar effect was seen across other age groups and in females but was not statistically significant. The demographic, child, and family characteristics associated with physical activity in children and adolescents with ASD included ethnicity in females, DSM-IV ASD diagnosis, IQ, and PAM-13 total score in females. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to find suitable physical activity programs for children with ASD. This may be especially important for 6-11 year-old boys with ASD who engage in significantly less physical activity than their peers in the general population.

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7. Girolamo TM, Rice ML, Warren SF. Assessment of Language Abilities in Minority Adolescents and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Extensive Special Education Needs : A Pilot Study. American journal of speech-language pathology. 2020 : 1-15.

Purpose Little is known about the language abilities of adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) despite the importance of language in their other life outcomes. Even less is known about the language abilities of racial/ethnic minorities with ASD and extensive special education needs. These gaps limit our understanding of adolescents and young adults with ASD. Method A pilot study evaluated the efficacy of individualized age-referenced language assessment for minority adolescents and young adults with ASD in self-contained special education settings. Participants (n = 10) completed the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Third Edition, Test for Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI), Columbia Mental Maturity Scale, and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition Digit Span. Results Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Third Edition scores showed little variation, with most participants showing a floor effect. TEGI, Columbia Mental Maturity Scale, and Digit Span scores showed greater variation. Some participants had ceiling TEGI scores, and some had variable assessment profiles. Conclusion Assessment was sensitive to variability across some measures. The pilot study outcomes support the feasibility and potential informativeness of additional investigation of conventional language assessments and change over time.

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8. Graham SF, Turkoglu O, Yilmaz A, Ustun I, Ugur Z, Bjorndhal T, Han B, Mandal R, Wishart D, Bahado-Singh RO. Targeted metabolomics highlights perturbed metabolism in the brain of autism spectrum disorder sufferers. Metabolomics. 2020 ; 16(5) : 59.

INTRODUCTION : Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by deficiencies in social interactions and communication, combined with restricted and repetitive behavioral issues. OBJECTIVES : As little is known about the etiopathophysiology of ASD and early diagnosis is relatively subjective, we aim to employ a targeted, fully quantitative metabolomics approach to biochemically profile post-mortem human brain with the overall goal of identifying metabolic pathways that may have been perturbed as a result of the disease while uncovering potential central diagnostic biomarkers. METHODS : Using a combination of (1)H NMR and DI/LC-MS/MS we quantitatively profiled the metabolome of the posterolateral cerebellum from post-mortem human brain harvested from people who suffered with ASD (n = 11) and compared them with age-matched controls (n = 10). RESULTS : We accurately identified and quantified 203 metabolites in post-mortem brain extracts and performed a metabolite set enrichment analyses identifying 3 metabolic pathways as significantly perturbed (p < 0.05). These include Pyrimidine, Ubiquinone and Vitamin K metabolism. Further, using a variety of machine-based learning algorithms, we identified a panel of central biomarkers (9-hexadecenoylcarnitine (C16:1) and the phosphatidylcholine PC ae C36:1) capable of discriminating between ASD and controls with an AUC = 0.855 with a sensitivity and specificity equal to 0.80 and 0.818, respectively. CONCLUSION : For the first time, we report the use of a multi-platform metabolomics approach to biochemically profile brain from people with ASD and report several metabolic pathways which are perturbed in the diseased brain of ASD sufferers. Further, we identified a panel of biomarkers capable of distinguishing ASD from control brains. We believe that these central biomarkers may be useful for diagnosing ASD in more accessible biomatrices.

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9. Haglund N, Dahlgren S, Rastam M, Gustafsson P, Kallen K. Improvement of Autism Symptoms After Comprehensive Intensive Early Interventions in Community Settings. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. 2020 : 1078390320915257.

BACKGROUND : Preschool children with autism in southern Sweden participated in a comprehensive Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI) program. AIMS : To evaluate the ongoing NDBI program by comparing the pre- and postintervention outcomes in terms of improved autism symptom severity. METHOD : The improvement of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-R) test results between baseline and evaluation among children participating in the NDBI program (n = 67) was compared with the results among children receiving community treatment as usual (n = 27) using analysis of covariance. RESULTS : The study showed that children in the NDBI group improved their ADOS-R total scores between baseline and evaluation (-0.8 scores per year ; 95% CI [-1.2, -0.4]), whereas no improvement was detected in the comparison group (+0.1 scores per year ; 95% CI [-0.7, +0.9]). The change in the NDBI group versus the change in the comparison group was statistically significant after adjusting for possible confounders as well. Children in the NDBI group also significantly improved their ADOS severity scores, but the scores were not significantly different from those of the comparison group. CONCLUSIONS : The results from the current naturalistic study must be interpreted cautiously, but they do support earlier studies reporting on improvement of autism symptoms after early intensive interventions. Results from observational studies are difficult to interpret, but it is nevertheless of uttermost importance to evaluate costly autism intervention programs. The results do indicate that children with autism benefit from participating in early comprehensive intensive programs.

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10. Lewis CR, Taguinod F, Jepsen WM, Cohen J, Agrawal K, Huentelman MJ, Smith CJ, Ringenbach SDR, Braden BB. Telomere Length and Autism Spectrum Disorder Within the Family : Relationships With Cognition and Sensory Symptoms. Autism Res. 2020.

Telomeres are repetitive noncoding deoxynucleotide sequences that cap chromosomes to protect DNA. Telomere length (TL) is affected by both genetic and environmental factors, and shortening of telomeres is associated with multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, early life stress, and age-related cognitive dysfunction. Two previous studies associated shorter TL with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We aimed to replicate this finding, describe TL in unaffected siblings, and explore novel relationships with symptoms and cognitive function in families with ASD. Participants were 212 male children and adolescents ages 1-17 years (86 with ASD, 57 unaffected siblings, and 69 typically developing [TD]) and 64 parents. TL was measured from blood leukocytes with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and results are expressed by relative ratios with a single copy gene. We replicated that children and adolescents with ASD have shorter TL, compared to TD, and show that unaffected siblings have TL in between those of TD and ASD. We present novel associations between TL and sensory symptoms in ASD. Finally, we demonstrate cognitive functions, but not autistic traits, are related to TL in parents of children with ASD. Cognitive function and TL were not related in children and adolescents. As the third replication, our results elicit confidence in the finding that ASD is associated with shorter TL. Our novel sensory investigation suggests that shortened TL may be a biological mechanism of sensory symptoms in ASD. Furthermore, results highlight the need to better understand relationships between cognition, aging, and TL in families with ASD. Autism Res 2020. (c) 2020 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY : Telomeres cap chromosomes to protect DNA. They progressively shorten as people age and are related to health outcomes. We replicated previous findings that children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shorter telomeres, compared to typically developing (TD), and show that unaffected siblings have telomere length (TL) in between those of TD and ASD. We find shortened TL is related to more severe sensory symptoms. This may mean families with ASD, especially those with elevated sensory symptoms, are at risk for worse age-related health outcomes.

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11. Lodder A, Papadopoulos C, Randhawa G. SOLACE : A Psychosocial Stigma Protection Intervention to Improve the Mental Health of Parents of Autistic Children-A Feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

This study presents findings from a feasibility trial, testing an 8-week psychosocial stigma protection intervention (SOLACE) designed to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children. Seventeen parents were stratified then randomly assigned to either SOLACE (n = 9) or control group (n = 8). Retention and adherence rates were excellent with minimal missing data suggesting SOLACE had good acceptability and feasibility. Quantitative analysis revealed that mental health scores had significantly improved for those who took part in SOLACE compared to no significant changes for control group participants. In addition, changes in secondary outcome measures (e.g. stigma, self-esteem and self-compassion) were in favour of SOLACE. Focus group interviews revealed that SOLACE was acceptable to parents. Results suggest that a full randomised controlled trial is warranted.

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12. London MD, Mackenzie L, Lovarini M, Dickson C, Alvarez-Campos A. Animal Assisted Therapy for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder : Parent perspectives. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is an intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study explores parent perspectives of the impact of five AAT sessions involving trained dogs with their children with ASD. A phenomenological qualitative approach was used to explore first-hand perspectives of parents. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Seventeen parents reported that the presence of the dogs facilitated their children’s engagement, enjoyment, and motivation. Parents also reported that this contributed to gains in the child’s communication with others and the dog (n = 11, 64.7%), behavioral regulation (n = 12, 70.6%), and community participation (n = 14, 82.3%). These findings indicate that parents supported the use of AAT and that dogs facilitated therapeutic gains.

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13. Nie PY, Ji LL, Fu CH, Peng JB, Wang ZY, Tong L. miR-132 Regulates PTSD-like Behaviors in Rats Following Single-Prolonged Stress Through Fragile X-Related Protein 1. Cellular and molecular neurobiology. 2020.

Fragile X-related protein 1 (FXR1) is a member of the fragile X family of RNA-binding proteins, which regulates a number of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as fragile X syndrome, and is expected as a novel therapeutic target for some psychiatric diseases. However, it is unknown how FXR1 changes and functions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a common mental disorder related to trauma and stressor. In this study, we characterized the expression pattern of FXR1 in the pathophysiological process of PTSD and further investigated the possible mechanism underlying these changes by finding an upstream regulator, namely miRNA-132 (miR-132). Furthermore, we verified whether miR-132 silence had an effect on the PTSD-like behaviors of single prolonged stress (SPS) rats through open field test, forced swimming test, and water maze test. At last, we examined the expression levels of PSD95 and synapsin I in the hippocampus, which was one of the key brain regions associated with PTSD. We showed that the levels of FXR1 and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), an autosomal homolog of FXR1, were decreased in the hippocampus of PTSD rats, but the levels of PSD95 and synapsin I were increased, which could be reversed by downregulation of miR-132. The results revealed that miR-132 could modulate PTSD-like behaviors in rats following SPS through regulating FXR1 and FMRP.

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14. Posar A, Visconti P, Blunda V, Pizza F, Plazzi G. Autism Spectrum Disorder and Narcolepsy : A Possible Connection That Deserves to Be Investigated. Frontiers in psychiatry. 2020 ; 11 : 265.

Narcolepsy in childhood-adolescence is characterized by a high occurrence of psychiatric comorbidities. The most frequent psychiatric disorders reported in these patients are attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia. However, narcolepsy can be associated also with introversion, sorrowfulness, feelings of inferiority, impaired affectivity modulation, emotional lability, irritability, aggressiveness, and poor attention, that have been pooled by some authors under a definition of "narcoleptic personality." Some aspects of this "narcoleptic personality," and in particular introversion, impaired affectivity modulation, irritability, and poor attention, partially overlap with the clinical features of the individuals with autism spectrum disorder, considering also those that are not regarded as core autism symptoms. Till now, in literature the number of cases affected by both narcolepsy and autism spectrum disorder (seven patients) has been clearly too small to demonstrate the presence of a pathogenetic link between these two conditions, but this possible connection has not yet been adequately investigated, despite the presence of several points in common. The finding of a connection between narcolepsy and autism spectrum disorder could boost the study of possible etiopathogenetic mechanisms shared between these two apparently so distant disorders. Basing on the literature data summarized in this paper, in the diagnostic work-up of a child with narcolepsy it is essential to evaluate also the social-communicative behavior using standardized tools in order to detect the real recurrence of clinical features suggesting an autism spectrum disorder. At the same time, it appears necessary to screen in the individuals with autism spectrum disorder for the possible presence of evoking symptoms of narcolepsy.

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15. Ramachandran R. A qualitative study on perspective of parents of children with autism on the nature of parent-professional relationship in Kerala, India. Autism. 2020 : 1362361320912156.

LAY ABSTRACT : This study explored the nature of relationship between parents of children with autism and professionals who provide therapy-based services for autism in Kerala, India. Given the shortage of professionally qualified therapists and educators (particularly in the case of autism) in low- and medium-income countries, parent-mediated interventions where professionals and parents work as partners are recommended as an effective means to meet the demand. However, for parent-mediated interventions to be effective, we first need to understand the customary nature of parent-professional relationship and develop the intervention accordingly. It is within this context that parents of 21 children with autism whose age ranged between 5.8 and 17.3 years were interviewed in order to understand the customary nature of parent-professional relationship. There was a dearth of scheduled, in-depth, and personalized one-on-one interaction between the parent and the professional. Though parents were involved hands on in their child’s training under professional direction, they remained mere information providers in decision making. The parent-professional relationship did not nurture parent’s self efficacy. This led to parents feeling inadequate to provide for their child’s developmental needs and being apprehensive about adulthood. The customary nature of parent-professional relationship observed may be a reflection of the collectivist culture in India. The findings suggest that parent-mediated interventions will need to focus on enabling parents to break cultural barriers that might be holding them back from partnering with professionals as equals.

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16. Shen Y, Li Y, Shi L, Liu M, Wu R, Xia K, Zhang F, Ou J, Zhao J. Autism spectrum disorder and severe social impairment associated with elevated plasma interleukin-8. Pediatr Res. 2020.

BACKGROUND : Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an unclear etiology and pathophysiology. Previous studies have indicated that the dysregulation of cytokines may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD and that the levels of cytokines may serve as potential biomarkers of this disorder. METHODS : The current study employed a family triad-based case-control design to study the levels of plasma cytokines in families with ASD (n = 45 triads) and controls (n = 38 triads) with a Human Cytokine Twenty-Five-Plex Kit. The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) was used to measure social impairment of ASD children. RESULTS : After controlling for the levels of parental cytokines, we identified that interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha), interleukin-7 (IL-7), IL-8, IFN-gamma-inducible protein-10, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1beta were associated with ASD, and IL-8 was the only cytokine also associated with the levels of both parental cytokines in the offspring-parents regression analysis and three subdomains of SRS (social awareness, cognition, and motivations) in the children with ASD. The receiver operating characteristic curve showed that the log-transformed IL-8 level discriminated children with autism from controls with an area under the curve of 0.858 (95% confidence interval : 0.777-0.939). CONCLUSIONS : Our study suggests that IL-8 is a potential biomarker for ASD and may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD. IMPACT : The study suggests that IL-8 is a promising biomarker for ASD and may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.Only a very few studies have reported the parental cytokine levels. The significant strength of this article is that we applied the family triad-based approach to explore cytokine levels in families with autism and controls.There are no objective biomarkers, making the accurate diagnosis, prognostic prediction and effective treatment difficult, and our study provides promising results.

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17. Sumiya M, Okamoto Y, Koike T, Tanigawa T, Okazawa H, Kosaka H, Sadato N. Attenuated activation of the anterior rostral medial prefrontal cortex on self-relevant social reward processing in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Neuroimage Clin. 2020 ; 26 : 102249.

The social motivation hypothesis posits that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) find social stimuli less rewarding and are therefore less motivated towards social interaction than people with neuro-typical development (TD). However, the less rewarding social stimuli characteristics during social interaction for people with ASD are largely unknown. The contingent positive responsiveness of others relevant to self-action motivates the early development of social interaction, thus representing a social reward. As individuals with ASD often exhibit atypical responses to self-relevant stimuli in their early life, we hypothesized that the self-relevant responses of others are less rewarding for individuals with ASD. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using a social contingency task. During the task, the participants attempted to make the audience laugh by telling funny jokes and thus activating the anterior rostral medial prefrontal cortex (arMPFC) of TD individuals (Sumiya et al., 2017). We explicitly predicted that the atypical activation of the arMPFC is related to the reduced reward value of self-relevant responses to others in individuals with ASD. Thirty-one adults with ASD and 24 age- and intelligence quotient-matched TD adults participated in the study. Participants with ASD reported significantly lower pleasure after the audience’s responses to their own actions than those in the TD group. Correspondingly, the self-related activation of the arMPFC, defined by the results of our previous study, was attenuated in the ASD group compared to the TD group. The present findings indicate that weak self-relevant outcome processing mediated by the arMPFC of individuals with ASD dampens the rewarding nature of social interaction.

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18. Turnbull A, Garfinkel SN, Ho NSP, Critchley HD, Bernhardt BC, Jefferies E, Smallwood J. Word up - Experiential and neurocognitive evidence for associations between autistic symptomology and a preference for thinking in the form of words. Cortex. 2020 ; 128 : 88-106.

Autism symptomology has a profound impact on cognitive and affective functioning, yet we know relatively little about how it shapes patterns of ongoing thought. In an exploratory study in a large population of neurotypical individuals, we used experience sampling to characterise the relationship between ongoing cognition and self-reported autistic traits. We found that with increasing autistic symptom score, cognition was characterised by thinking more in words than images. Analysis of structural neuroimaging data found that autistic traits linked to social interaction were associated with greater cortical thickness in a region of lingual gyrus (LG) within the occipital cortex. Analysis of resting state functional neuroimaging data found autistic traits were associated with stronger connectivity between the LG and a region of motor cortex. Importantly, the strength of connectivity between the LG and motor cortex moderated the link between autistic symptoms and thinking in words : individuals showing higher connectivity showed a stronger association between autistic traits and thinking in words. Together we provide behavioural and neural evidence linking autistic traits to the tendency to think in words which may be rooted in underlying cortical organisation. These observations lay the groundwork for research into the form and content of self-generated thoughts in individuals with the established diagnosis of autism.

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19. Udhnani MD, Kenworthy L, Wallace GL, Yerys BE. Brief Report : Performance-Based Executive Functioning Abilities are Associated with Caregiver Report of Adaptive Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Executive functioning is thought to contribute to adaptive behavior skills development in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, supporting data are largely based on caregiver reports of executive functioning. The current study evaluated whether performance-based measures of executive functioning (working memory and inhibition) explained unique variance in parent-reported adaptive functioning among youth with ASD without an intellectual disability. Both spatial and verbal working memory were associated with adaptive functioning, particularly communication and daily living skills. Our findings demonstrate a robust relationship between working memory and adaptive functioning that translates across different measurement modalities. This preliminary study highlights that targeting executive functioning may be a critical component of an adaptive function training program.

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20. Xiong GJ, Cheng XT, Sun T, Xie Y, Huang N, Li S, Lin MY, Sheng ZH. Defects in syntabulin-mediated synaptic cargo transport associate with autism-like synaptic dysfunction and social behavioral traits. Mol Psychiatry. 2020.

The formation and maintenance of synapses require long-distance delivery of newly synthesized synaptic proteins from the soma to distal synapses, raising the fundamental question of whether impaired transport is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. We previously revealed that syntabulin acts as a motor adapter linking kinesin-1 motor and presynaptic cargos. Here, we report that defects in syntabulin-mediated transport and thus reduced formation and maturation of synapses are one of core synaptic mechanisms underlying autism-like synaptic dysfunction and social behavioral abnormalities. Syntabulin expression in the mouse brain peaks during the first 2 weeks of postnatal development and progressively declines during brain maturation. Neurons from conditional syntabulin(-/-) mice (stb cKO) display impaired transport of presynaptic cargos, reduced synapse density and active zones, and altered synaptic transmission and long-term plasticity. Intriguingly, stb cKO mice exhibit core autism-like traits, including defective social recognition and communication, increased stereotypic behavior, and impaired spatial learning and memory. These phenotypes establish a new mechanistic link between reduced transport of synaptic cargos and impaired maintenance of synaptic transmission and plasticity, contributing to autism-associated behavioral abnormalities. This notion is further confirmed by the human missense variant STB-R178Q, which is found in an autism patient and loses its adapter capacity for binding kinesin-1 motors. Expressing STB-R178Q fails to rescue reduced synapse formation and impaired synaptic transmission and plasticity in stb cKO neurons. Altogether, our study suggests that defects in syntabulin-mediated transport mechanisms underlie the synaptic dysfunction and behavioral abnormalities that bear similarities to autism.

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21. Yasumatsu K, Nagao JI, Arita-Morioka KI, Narita Y, Tasaki S, Toyoda K, Ito S, Kido H, Tanaka Y. Bacterial-induced maternal interleukin-17A pathway promotes autistic-like behaviors in mouse offspring. Experimental animals. 2020 ; 69(2) : 250-60.

Maternal immune activation (MIA) by an infection is considered to be an important environmental factor of fetal brain development. Recent animal model on MIA induced by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid, a mimic of viral infection, demonstrates that maternal IL-17A signaling is required for the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-like behaviors of offspring. However, there is little information on bacterial infection. In this study, we aim to elucidate the influence of MIA induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to mimic a bacterial infection on fetal brain development. We demonstrated that LPS-induced MIA promoted ASD-like behaviors in mouse offspring. We further found that LPS exposure induced acute phase immune response : elevation of serum IL-17A levels in MIA mothers, upregulation of Il17a mRNA expression and increase of IL-17A-producing gammadelta T cells in the uterus, and upregulation of Il17ra mRNA expression in the fetal brain. Blocking of IL-17A in LPS-induced MIA ameliorated ASD-like behaviors in offspring. Our data suggest that bacterial-induced maternal IL-17A pathway promotes ASD-like behaviors in offspring.

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22. Yaxu Y, Ren Z, Ward J, Jiang Q. Atypical Brain Structures as a Function of Gray Matter Volume (GMV) and Gray Matter Density (GMD) in Young Adults Relating to Autism Spectrum Traits. Front Psychol. 2020 ; 11 : 523.

Individuals with autistic traits are those who present in the normal population with characteristics of social, communication, personality, and cognitive impairments but do not meet the clinical threshold for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Most studies have focused on the abnormalities in ASD patients rather than on individuals with autistic traits. In this study, we focused on the behaviors of a large sample (N = 401) of Chinese individuals with different levels of autistic traits, measured using the Autism Spectrum Quotient, and applied voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to determine their association to differences in brain structure. The results mainly showed that the correlation between gray matter volume (GMV) and gray matter density of the brain and the Autism Spectrum Quotient was significant in these regions : the right middle frontal gyrus, which are involved in social processing and social reasoning ; the left parahippocampal gyrus, which is involved in socioemotional behaviors and unconscious relational memory encoding ; and the right superior parietal lobule, which are involved in cognitive control and the ability to show attention to detail. These findings reveal that people with autistic traits in the normal population have atypical development in GMV and gray matter density, which may affect their social functioning and communication ability.

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23. Zaenglein A, Martin A, Carlson L, Williams KE. Pellagra secondary to selective eating in a child with autism. Pediatric dermatology. 2020.

Once a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, health care providers rarely see primary pellagra in developed countries where fortification of foods with niacin is commonplace and niacin-rich foods are generally widely available. We report a ten-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder who presented with photosensitive dermatitis which resolved after vitamin supplementation and dietary changes. In this child, the pellagra developed as the result of a long-term pattern of selective eating. Restricted diets, even to the point of nutrient deficiencies, are well-documented among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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24. Zagrabska-Swiatkowska P, Mulhern T, Ming S, Stewart I, McElwee J. Training class inclusion responding in individuals with autism : Further investigation. Journal of applied behavior analysis. 2020.

Class inclusion (CI) requires responding to an item simultaneously as a member of both a class and a more inclusive class that contains that class. This study extends previous research by Ming et al. (2018) who trained CI responding in typically developing children and individuals with autism using a Relational Frame Theory (RFT) approach according to which CI involves responding in accordance with relations of containment and comparison. In Ming et al., participants experienced multiple exemplar training in which class containment relations were represented by placing pictures (of subclasses of animals) within nested transparent boxes. In the current study, 3 adult males with autism and moderate learning disability were not able to learn CI responding using contingent feedback alone. However, an intervention involving nonarbitrary guidance facilitated the repertoire. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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25. Zaidman-Zait A, Mirenda P, Szatmari P, Duku E, Smith IM, Zwaigenbaum L, Vaillancourt T, Kerns C, Volden J, Waddell C, Bennett T, Georgiades S, Ungar WJ, Elsabbagh M. Profiles and Predictors of Academic and Social School Functioning among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2020 : 1-13.

Objective : The purpose of the study was to identify profiles and predictors of academic and social functioning in a sample of school-age children with autism spectrum disorder.Method : The study included 178 children (88% boys, 75% Caucasian, ages 10-11) who completed a standardized measure of academic skills and whose teachers completed a related measure. Measures of both academic and social performance were used to construct profiles of school functioning. Measures of language, nonverbal IQ, autism symptom severity, behavior difficulties, and early social-communication skills between ages 3 and 4 were used to examine predictors of profile membership. Latent Profile Analysis was used to identify and describe profiles of children’s academic and social school functioning. Profile membership was then regressed on each of the predictors using a series of multinomial logistic regression models. Finally, a multivariate model that included all significant predictors was built to examine the best fitting constellation of profile predictors.Results : Four profiles - reflecting variation in academic achievement, school engagement, socialization skills, pragmatic language use, and social relationships - captured the diverse school functioning outcomes of the sample. Profile membership was predicted by variation in imitation, responding to joint attention, language ability, nonverbal IQ and behavior difficulties between ages 3 and 4 years. However, in a multivariate model, only language and behavior difficulties emerged as significant predictors.Conclusions : A person-centered approach to targeted early intervention that reduces behavior difficulties and enhances social-communication and language abilities may prove especially important for the promotion of later academic and social functioning at school.

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