Pubmed du 18/05/20

lundi 18 mai 2020

1. Achermann S, Nyström P, Bölte S, Falck-Ytter T. Motor atypicalities in infancy are associated with general developmental level at 2 years, but not autistic symptoms. Autism. 2020 : 1362361320918745.

Atypicalities in motor functioning are often observed in later born infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. The goal of our study was to investigate motor functioning in infants with and without familial history of autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, we investigated how infants catch a ball that is rolling toward them following a non-straight path, a task that requires both efficient planning and execution. Their performance was measured using detailed three-dimensional motion capture technology. We found that several early motor functioning measures were different in infants with an older autistic sibling compared to controls. However, these early motor measures were not related to autistic symptoms at the age of 2 years. Instead, we found that some of the early motor measures were related to their subsequent non-social, general development. The findings of our study help us understand motor functioning early in life and how motor functioning is related to other aspects of development.

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2. Adamson J, Kinnaird E, Glennon D, Oakley M, Tchanturia K. Carers’ views on autism and eating disorders comorbidity : qualitative study. BJPsych open. 2020 ; 6(3) : e51.

BACKGROUND : Patients with co-occurring anorexia nervosa and autism respond differently to eating disorder treatments. Previous interviews with patients with both conditions and clinicians working in eating disorder services has highlighted service and treatment adaptations might be beneficial and could improve outcomes for these individuals. AIMS : The aim of this study was to explore carers’ experiences of current treatment approaches for people with autism who have anorexia nervosa, and their views on how these can be improved. METHOD : Ten carers of a loved one diagnosed with autism and anorexia nervosa were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and the transcripts were analysed with thematic analysis. RESULTS : Four key themes emerged from the interviews : the role of autism in anorexia nervosa, carers’ problems with clinical services, the impact on carers and suggestions for future improvements. CONCLUSIONS : Carers agreed that autism played a significant role in the development and maintenance of their daughters’ anorexia nervosa. However, this comorbidity does not appear to be appropriately addressed in current treatment provisions. They described several difficulties, including problems getting an autism diagnosis and the perception that eating disorder services did not accept or adapt around the condition. This resulted in feelings of frustration and isolation for families, a scenario exacerbated by a perceived lack of support or specific resources for carers of individuals on the autism spectrum. Clinical recommendations on the basis of the current and previous studies are outlined.

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3. Delafield-Butt JT, Zeedyk MS, Harder S, Vaever MS, Caldwell P. Making Meaning Together : Embodied Narratives in a Case of Severe Autism. Psychopathology. 2020 : 1-14.

Shared understanding is generated between individuals before speech through a language of body movement and non-verbal vocalisation, expression of feeling and interest made in gestures of movement and voice. Human understanding is co-created in these embodied projects, displayed in serially organised expressions with shared timing of reciprocal actions between partners. These develop in narrative events that build over cycles of reciprocal expressive action in a four-part structure shared by all the time-based arts : "introduction," "development," "climax," and "conclusion." Pre-linguistic narrative establishes the foundation of later, linguistic intelligence. Yet, participating in social interactions that give rise to narrative development is a central problem of autism spectrum disorder. In this paper, we examine the rapid growth of narrative meaning-making between a non-verbal young woman with severe autism and her new therapist. Episodes of embodied, shared understanding were enabled through a basic therapeutic mode of reciprocal, creative mirroring of expressive gesture. These developed through reciprocal cycles and as the relationship progressed, complete co-created narratives were formed resulting in shared joy and the mutual interest and trust of companionship. These small, embodied stories enabled moments of co-regulated arousal that the young woman had previous difficulty with. These data provide evidence for an intact capacity for non-verbal narrative meaning-making in autism.

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4. Edgin J, Saletin JM. Sleep, brains, and behavior across ten neurodevelopmental disorders : Introduction to the special issue on sleep in developmental disabilities. Res Dev Disabil. 2020 ; 102 : 103636.

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5. Friedman L, Lorang E, Hilvert E, Sterling A. "Are We Done Yet ?" Question-Asking in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome and Idiopathic Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR. 2020 : 1-13.

Purpose Question-asking serves as a tool to learn new information and is important in both academic and social settings. Boys with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and boys with fragile X syndrome and comorbid ASD (FXS + ASD) have similar social communication deficits, which may have downstream effects on their question-asking ability. This study examined question-asking in school-age boys with idiopathic ASD and FXS + ASD, including the role of ASD severity, expressive grammatical complexity (measured by mean length of utterance [MLU]), and IQ. Method Twenty-five boys with FXS + ASD and 21 boys with idiopathic ASD (ages 9-16 years) were included in this study. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule assessments were transcribed and coded for the frequency, function, and appropriateness of spontaneous questions asked. We examined group differences in these aspects of question-asking and relationships between question-asking and ASD severity, MLU, and IQ within each group. Results Boys with FXS + ASD asked more questions than boys with idiopathic ASD, although boys with idiopathic ASD asked a higher proportion of appropriate questions. Boys with idiopathic ASD also asked the examiner more personal questions than the boys with FXS + ASD. ASD severity and MLU were related to the proportion of clarification questions in FXS + ASD, and ASD severity was also related to the proportion of personal questions in this group. For the boys with idiopathic ASD, ASD severity was related to the total number of questions asked. Conclusions Our findings highlight similarities and differences between boys with FXS + ASD and idiopathic ASD in their spontaneous question production and indicate that ASD severity and grammatical language are differentially important for question-asking. This study has implications for targeted treatment in question-asking skills for boys with FXS + ASD and ASD.

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6. Gabis LV, Shefer S, Portnoy S. Variability of Coordination in Typically Developing Children Versus Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with and without Rhythmic Signal. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland). 2020 ; 20(10).

Motor coordination deficit is a cardinal feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Theevaluation of coordination of children with ASD is either lengthy, subjective (via observationalanalysis), or requires cumbersome post analysis. We therefore aimed to use tri-axial accelerometersto compare inter-limb coordination measures between typically developed (TD) children and childrenASD, while jumping with and without a rhythmic signal. Children aged 5-6 years were recruited tothe ASD group (n = 9) and the TD group (n = 19). Four sensors were strapped to their ankles and wristand they performed at least eight consecutive jumping jacks twice : at a self-selected rhythm and witha metronome. The primary outcome measures were the timing lag (TL), the timing difference of themaximal acceleration of the left and right limbs, and the lag variability (LV), the variation of TL acrossthe 5 jumps. The LV of the legs of children with ASD was higher compared to the LV of the legs of TDchildren during self-selected rhythm jumping (p < 0.01). Additionally, the LV of the arms of childrenwith ASD, jumping with the rhythmic signal, was higher compared to that of the TD children (p <0.05). There were no between-group differences in the TL parameter. Our preliminary findingssuggest that the simple protocol presented in this study might allow an objective and accuratequantification of the intra-subject variability of children with ASD via actigraphy.

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7. Gąssowska-Dobrowolska M, Cieślik M, Czapski GA, Jęśko H, Frontczak-Baniewicz M, Gewartowska M, Dominiak A, Polowy R, Filipkowski RK, Babiec L, Adamczyk A. Prenatal Exposure to Valproic Acid Affects Microglia and Synaptic Ultrastructure in a Brain-Region-Specific Manner in Young-Adult Male Rats : Relevance to Autism Spectrum Disorders. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 ; 21(10).

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental conditions categorized as synaptopathies. Environmental risk factors contribute to ASD aetiology. In particular, prenatal exposure to the anti-epileptic drug valproic acid (VPA) may increase the risk of autism. In the present study, we investigated the effect of prenatal exposure to VPA on the synaptic morphology and expression of key synaptic proteins in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of young-adult male offspring. To characterize the VPA-induced autism model, behavioural outcomes, microglia-related neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress were analysed. Our data showed that prenatal exposure to VPA impaired communication in neonatal rats, reduced their exploratory activity, and led to anxiety-like and repetitive behaviours in the young-adult animals. VPA-induced pathological alterations in the ultrastructures of synapses accompanied by deregulation of key pre- and postsynaptic structural and functional proteins. Moreover, VPA exposure altered the redox status and expression of proinflammatory genes in a brain region-specific manner. The disruption of synaptic structure and plasticity may be the primary insult responsible for autism-related behaviour in the offspring. The vulnerability of specific synaptic proteins to the epigenetic effects of VPA may highlight the potential mechanisms by which prenatal VPA exposure generates behavioural changes.

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8. Gudbrandsen M, Mann C, Bletsch A, Daly E, Murphy CM, Stoencheva V, Blackmore CE, Rogdaki M, Kushan L, Bearden CE, Murphy DGM, Craig MC, Ecker C. Patterns of Cortical Folding Associated with Autistic Symptoms in Carriers and Noncarriers of the 22q11.2 Microdeletion. Cereb Cortex. 2020.

22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a genetic condition accompanied by a range of psychiatric manifestations, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It remains unknown, however, whether these symptoms are mediated by the same or distinct neural mechanisms as in idiopathic ASD. Here, we examined differences in lGI associated with ASD in 50 individuals with 22q11.2DS (n = 25 with ASD, n = 25 without ASD) and 81 individuals without 22q11.2DS (n = 40 with ASD, n = 41 typically developing controls). We initially utilized a factorial design to identify the set of brain regions where lGI is associated with the main effect of 22q11.2DS, ASD, and with the 22q11.2DS-by-ASD interaction term. Subsequently, we employed canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to compare the multivariate association between variability in lGI and the complex clinical phenotype of ASD between 22q11.2DS carriers and noncarriers. Across approaches, we established that even though there is a high degree of clinical similarity across groups, the associated patterns of lGI significantly differed between carriers and noncarriers of the 22q11.2 microdeletion. Our results suggest that ASD symptomatology recruits different neuroanatomical underpinnings across disorders and that 22q11.2DS individuals with ASD represent a neuroanatomically distinct subgroup that differs from 22q11.2DS individuals without ASD and from individuals with idiopathic ASD.

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9. Gulisano M, Barone R, Alaimo S, Ferro A, Pulvirenti A, Cirnigliaro L, Di Silvestre S, Martellino S, Maugeri N, Milana MC, Scerbo M, Rizzo R. Disentangling Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviors and Social Impairments in Children and Adolescents with Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Brain Sci. 2020 ; 10(5).

Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are two neurodevelopmental disorders with male predominance, frequently comorbid, that share clinical and behavioral features. The incidence of ASD in patients affected by GTS was reported to be between 2.9% and 22.8%. We hypothesized that higher ASD rates among children affected by GTS previously reported may be due to difficulty in discriminating GTS sub-phenotypes from ASD, and the higher scores in the restrictive and repetitive behaviors in particular may represent at least a "false comorbidity". We studied a large population of 720 children and adolescents affected by GTS (n = 400) and ASD (n = 320), recruited from a single center. Patients were all assessed with The Yale Global Tic Severity Rating Scale (YGTSS), The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R), The Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS), and The Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale for autism spectrum disorder (CY-BOCS ASD). Our results showed statistically significant differences in ADOS scores for social aspects between GTS with comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) sub-phenotypes and ASD. No differences were present when we compared GTS with comorbid ASD sub-phenotype to ASD, while repetitive and restrictive behavior scores in ASD did not present statistical differences in the comparison with GTS and comorbid OCD and ASD sub-phenotypes. We also showed that CY-BOCS ASD could be a useful instrument to correctly identify OCD from ASD symptoms.

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10. Gumusoglu SB, Hing BWQ, Chilukuri ASS, Dewitt JJ, Scroggins SM, Stevens HE. Correction : Chronic maternal interleukin-17 and autism-related cortical gene expression, neurobiology, and behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

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11. Hallett V, Mueller J, Breese L, Hollett M, Beresford B, Irvine A, Pickles A, Slonims V, Scott S, Charman T, Simonoff E. Introducing ’Predictive Parenting’ : A Feasibility Study of a New Group Parenting Intervention Targeting Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Parent-mediated interventions can reduce behavioral and emotional problems in children with ASD. This report discusses the development of the first group parent intervention targeting behaviors and anxiety in children with ASD, across the spectrum of cognitive and language ability. ’Predictive Parenting’ was developed from the clinical observation (and emerging evidence base) that children with ASD struggle with ’prediction’ and anticipating change. It integrates well-established parenting strategies within an ASD-specific framework. The concept was co-created with patient and public involvement panels of parents and adults with ASD. A feasibility study found the programme is acceptable and accessible. Qualitative feedback from participants was largely positive, and critiques were used to inform a larger, pilot randomized controlled trial of the intervention.

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12. Hoogman M, van Rooij D, Klein M, Boedhoe P, Ilioska I, Li T, Patel Y, Postema MC, Zhang-James Y, Anagnostou E, Arango C, Auzias G, Banaschewski T, Bau CHD, Behrmann M, Bellgrove MA, Brandeis D, Brem S, Busatto GF, Calderoni S, Calvo R, Castellanos FX, Coghill D, Conzelmann A, Daly E, Deruelle C, Dinstein I, Durston S, Ecker C, Ehrlich S, Epstein JN, Fair DA, Fitzgerald J, Freitag CM, Frodl T, Gallagher L, Grevet EH, Haavik J, Hoekstra PJ, Janssen J, Karkashadze G, King JA, Konrad K, Kuntsi J, Lazaro L, Lerch JP, Lesch KP, Louza MR, Luna B, Mattos P, McGrath J, Muratori F, Murphy C, Nigg JT, Oberwelland-Weiss E, O’Gorman Tuura RL, O’Hearn K, Oosterlaan J, Parellada M, Pauli P, Plessen KJ, Ramos-Quiroga JA, Reif A, Reneman L, Retico A, Rosa PGP, Rubia K, Shaw P, Silk TJ, Tamm L, Vilarroya O, Walitza S, Jahanshad N, Faraone SV, Francks C, van den Heuvel OA, Paus T, Thompson PM, Buitelaar JK, Franke B. Consortium neuroscience of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder : The ENIGMA adventure. Hum Brain Mapp. 2020.

Neuroimaging has been extensively used to study brain structure and function in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decades. Two of the main shortcomings of the neuroimaging literature of these disorders are the small sample sizes employed and the heterogeneity of methods used. In 2013 and 2014, the ENIGMA-ADHD and ENIGMA-ASD working groups were respectively, founded with a common goal to address these limitations. Here, we provide a narrative review of the thus far completed and still ongoing projects of these working groups. Due to an implicitly hierarchical psychiatric diagnostic classification system, the fields of ADHD and ASD have developed largely in isolation, despite the considerable overlap in the occurrence of the disorders. The collaboration between the ENIGMA-ADHD and -ASD working groups seeks to bring the neuroimaging efforts of the two disorders closer together. The outcomes of case-control studies of subcortical and cortical structures showed that subcortical volumes are similarly affected in ASD and ADHD, albeit with small effect sizes. Cortical analyses identified unique differences in each disorder, but also considerable overlap between the two, specifically in cortical thickness. Ongoing work is examining alternative research questions, such as brain laterality, prediction of case-control status, and anatomical heterogeneity. In brief, great strides have been made toward fulfilling the aims of the ENIGMA collaborations, while new ideas and follow-up analyses continue that include more imaging modalities (diffusion MRI and resting-state functional MRI), collaborations with other large databases, and samples with dual diagnoses.

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13. Ishola IO, Balogun AO, Adeyemi OO. Novel potential of metformin on valproic acid-induced autism spectrum disorder in rats : involvement of antioxidant defense system. Fundamental & clinical pharmacology. 2020.

Prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA) has been shown to increase the risk of autism in children. This study examined the effect of metformin on VPA-induced autism spectrum disorders in rats. Pregnant albino rats administered VPA (500 mg/kg, i.p.) or normal saline (10 ml/kg, i.p. ; vehicle-control) on gestational day 12.5. The pups were given metformin (5, 50 or 500 mg/kg, p.o.) or vehicle (10 ml/kg, p.o.) daily from postnatal day (PND) 21 to 50. Social behaviour, spatial learning/ reference memory, repetitive behaviour and anxiety were assessed using the three-chamber social assay, Morris water maze (MWM), Y-maze and elevated plus maze tests (EPM), respectively. PND 51, the animals were euthanized and brains removed for biochemical assay. In-utero VPA exposure caused significant reduction in sociability index, social novelty preference index in three chambered apparatus and spatial learning and reference memory deficits in the MWM task as well as increase in repetitive/anxiety-like behaviour in Y-maze and EPM tests, respectively, which were ameliorated by post-treatment with metformin in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, prenatal VPA increased malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitrite levels as well as deficits in antioxidant enzymes activities in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) which were attenuated by metformin administration. Similarly, VPA-induced increase in acetylcholinesterase activity in the hippocampus and PFC were attenuated by post-natal treatment with metformin. Findings from this study showed that postnatal administration of metformin prevented valproic acid-induced autistic-like behaviour. Hence, metformin could be a potential adjunct in the management of autism spectrum disorders.

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14. Kondo HM, Lin IF. Excitation-inhibition balance and auditory multistable perception are correlated with autistic traits and schizotypy in a non-clinical population. Sci Rep. 2020 ; 10(1) : 8171.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder and individuals with schizophrenia have impaired social and communication skills. They also have altered auditory perception. This study investigated autistic traits and schizotypy in a non-clinical population as well as the excitation-inhibition (EI) balance in different brain regions and their auditory multistable perception. Thirty-four healthy participants were assessed by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). The EI balance was evaluated by measuring the resting-state concentrations of glutamate-glutamine (Glx) and ϒ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in vivo by using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. To observe the correlation between their traits and perception, we conducted an auditory streaming task and a verbal transformation task, in which participants reported spontaneous perceptual switching while listening to a sound sequence. Their AQ and SPQ scores were positively correlated with the Glx/GABA ratio in the auditory cortex but not in the frontal areas. These scores were negatively correlated with the number of perceptual switches in the verbal transformation task but not in the auditory streaming task. Our results suggest that the EI balance in the auditory cortex and the perceptual formation of speech are involved in autistic traits and schizotypy.

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15. Lake JK, Tablon Modica P, Chan V, Weiss JA. Considering efficacy and effectiveness trials of cognitive behavioral therapy among youth with autism : A systematic review. Autism. 2020 : 1362361320918754.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for emotional problems in people with autism. Most studies of cognitive behavioral therapy and autism have focused on efficacy, meaning whether a treatment produces results under "ideal" conditions, like a lab or research setting. Effectiveness trials, by contrast, investigate whether a treatment produces results under "real-world" conditions, like a community setting (e.g. hospital, community mental health center, school). There can be challenges in bringing a cognitive behavioral therapy treatment out of a lab or research setting into the community, and the field of implementation science uses frameworks to help guide researchers in this process. In this study, we reviewed efficacy and effectiveness studies of cognitive behavioral therapy treatments for emotional problems (e.g. anxiety, depression) in children and youth with autism. Our search found 2959 articles, with 33 studies meeting our criteria. In total, 13 studies were labelled as effectiveness and 20 as efficacy. We discuss how the effectiveness studies used characteristics of an implementation science framework, such as studying how individuals learn about the treatment, accept or reject it, how it is used in the community over time, and any changes that happened to the individual or the organization (e.g. hospital, school, community mental health center) because of it. Results help us better understand the use of cognitive behavioral therapy in the community, including how a framework can be used to improve effectiveness studies.

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16. Li PY, Fu NN, Li QY, Wang GF, Gao L, Zhang X. The Griffiths Development Scales-Chinese (GDS-C) : A reliable and valid neurodevelopmental assessment tool in children with ASD aged 3-8 years old in Tianjin, China. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020 ; 52 : 102144.

BACKGROUND : The reliability and validity of the Griffiths Development Scales-Chinese (GDS-C) for autistic children in China are unknown. Thus, it is urgent to verify the instrument’s reliability and validity in this population. The aim of the study was to explore whether the GDS-C is reliable and valid for assessing neurodevelopment in autistic children. METHOD : This study included 296 autistic children and 141 typically developing children from 3 to 8 years of age in China. The reliability of the scale was estimated based on its internal consistency, test-retest reliability and interrater reliability. The validity of the scale was calculated based on the construct validity, discriminate validity and criterion validity. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to calculate the general quotients (GQs) corresponding to the diagnostic classification within the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) scores. RESULTS : This study shows sufficient reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.957 ; test-retest reliability = 0.945 for the whole scale and 0.830-0.919 for the subscales ; interrater reliability = 0.925 for the whole scale and 0.796-0.919 for the subscales). The results also provide good support for the validity of the GDS-C. In the discriminant analysis, 85.5% of the children in the autistic sample were correctly classified. The cutoff value for distinguishing autistic children from normal children within the CARS scale corresponds to a GQ of 84.83, and that for distinguishing severely autistic children from mild or moderately autistic children corresponds to a GQ of 66.60. CONCLUSION : Our findings suggest that the GDS-C may be a valid and reliable tool for assessing the neurodevelopment of autistic children.

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17. Naoko D, Takashi A, Tomoko O. Development and Preliminary Validation of the Couples’ Stigma Scale to Assess Self-Stigma among the Partners of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Japan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 ; 17(10).

Spouses of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may struggle with self-stigma and may require attention and care ; however, no scale exists to measure the stigma of spouses of persons with ASD. This study created and investigated the construct validity of the Couples Stigma Scale. This scale consists of 14 items and it was designed based on prior literature, interviews, and the self-stigma theory to assess the self-stigma experienced by spouses of people with ASD. A survey was conducted with spouses of persons with ASD who participated in a self-help group. Responses were obtained from 259 people, of which 253 women were included in the analysis. Exploratory factor analysis was performed separately with two independent groups, indicating a four-factor structure, to determine structural validity. The factor loadings of the items constituting the four factors were 0.39 or greater. Regarding external validity, the correlation coefficient between the Couples Stigma Scale and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) score was -0.341 (p < 0.001), and the domain correlation coefficient was significant for all relevant WHOQOL domains. Our results suggest that the Japanese version of the Couples Stigma Scale is a valid instrument for assessing self-stigma in the spouses of persons with ASD.

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18. Obeid R, Bisson JB, Cosenza A, Harrison AJ, James F, Saade S, Gillespie-Lynch K. Do Implicit and Explicit Racial Biases Influence Autism Identification and Stigma ? An Implicit Association Test Study. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Are implicit and explicit biases related to ASD identification and/or stigma ? College students (N = 493) completed two IATs assessing implicit stigma and racial biases. They evaluated vignettes depicting a child with ASD or conduct disorder (CD) paired with a photo of a Black or White child. CD was more implicitly and explicitly stigmatized than ASD. Accurately identifying ASD was associated with reduced explicit stigma ; identifying CD led to more stigma. Participants who identified as White implicitly associated the White child with ASD and the Black child with CD. A trend in the reverse direction was observed among Black participants. Implicit and explicit biases were unrelated. Findings highlight a need for trainings to ameliorate biases favoring one’s in-group.

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19. Richards J, Milne R. Appropriate adults : Their experiences and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Res Dev Disabil. 2020 ; 103 : 103675.

An appropriate adult (AA) is required by law, to support juveniles and vulnerable adults during custody procedures. This paper explored the opinions and knowledge of AAs and how the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could disadvantage an individual within a police interview. A questionnaire was administered to AAs who had received training to carry out their duties (N = 55). AAs were asked a number of questions concerning suspects with ASD. Overall, the questionnaire found that AAs had some awareness of the key features of ASD. However, AAs were less aware of the possible impact these characteristics could have upon the interview process. Nevertheless, when asked about actual practice, fifteen incidents were reported where it was deemed that the characteristics of ASD disrupted interview procedures. For example, it was reported that suspects with ASD displayed repetitive and rigid behaviour patterns that interfered with the flow of the interview. Encouragingly, the self-reported data suggested that AAs were able to respond effectively to these actual incidents. That withstanding it is suggested that AA training should include information about how those with ASD might be at a disadvantage within the forensic interview environment and outline strategies that AAs could use to help a person with ASD fully engage within the criminal justice process.

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20. Simmons DH, Titley HK, Hansel C, Mason P. Behavioral Tests for Mouse Models of Autism : An Argument for the Inclusion of Cerebellum-controlled Motor Behaviors. Neuroscience. 2020.

Mouse models of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been interrogated using a variety of behavioral tests in order to understand the symptoms of ASD. However, the hallmark behaviors that are classically affected in ASD - deficits in social interaction and communication as well as the occurrence of repetitive behaviors - do not have direct murine equivalents. Thus, it is critical to identify the caveats that come with modeling a human disorder in mice. The most commonly used behavioral tests represent complex cognitive processes based on largely unknown brain circuitry. Motor impairments provide an alternative, scientifically rigorous approach to understanding ASD symptoms. Difficulties with motor coordination and learning - seen in both patients and mice - point to an involvement of the cerebellum in ASD pathology. This brain area supports types of motor learning that are conserved throughout vertebrate evolution, allowing for direct comparisons of functional abnormalities between humans with autism and ASD mouse models. Studying simple motor behaviors provides researchers with clearly interpretable results. We describe and evaluate methods used on mouse behavioral assays designed to test for social, communicative, perseverative, anxious, nociceptive, and motor learning abnormalities. We comment on the effectiveness and validity of each test based on how much information its results give, as well as its relevance to ASD, and will argue for an inclusion of cerebellum-supported motor behaviors in the phenotypic description of ASD mouse models. LAY SUMMARY : Mouse models of Autism Spectrum Disorder help us gain insight about ASD symptoms in human patients. However, there are many differences between mice and humans, which makes interpreting their behaviors challenging. Here, we discuss a battery of behavioral tests for specific mouse behaviors to explore whether each test does indeed evaluate the intended measure, and whether these tests are useful in learning about ASD.

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21. Solomon C. Autism and Employment : Implications for Employers and Adults with ASD. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

A small but growing body of research has been conducted on vocational outcomes for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ; however, limited resources have been directed towards understanding outcomes for competitive employers. While ASD does present with a range of social communication and adaptive behavior deficits, adults on the spectrum may be extremely efficient, trustworthy, reliable, and cost-effective employees. Nevertheless, fewer than half of young adults with ASD maintain a job. Many businesses are unwilling to hire these capable candidates, concerned among other things about an increase in supervision costs and a decrease in productivity. This is a bias based on misperceptions ; the financial and social benefits of hiring adults with ASD, for businesses and the individual, often outweigh the costs.

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22. Steinman G. COVID-19 and autism. Med Hypotheses. 2020 ; 142 : 109797.

The current pandemic of Covid-19 has created a paradigm for possibly gaining greater insight in two conditions:Studies since the beginning of this century have supported the view that IGF-1 deficiency in the neonate defines the basis of autism. As a result, it appears that interleukin-6 in corona virus-based infections causes reduced defenses because of suppressed IGF-1, especially in older patients. This may also portend an increase of autism in the offspring of gravidas currently affected severely by Covid-19.

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23. Stenberg N, Schjølberg S, Shic F, Volkmar F, Øyen AS, Bresnahan M, Svendsen BK, von Tetzchner S, Thronæs NT, Macari S, Cicchetti DV, Chawarska K, Suren P, Øien RA. Functional Outcomes of Children Identified Early in the Developmental Period as at Risk for ASD Utilizing the The Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is regarded as crucial for swift access to early intervention and, subsequently, better outcomes later in life. However, current instruments miss large proportions of children who later go on to be diagnosed with ASD, raising a question of what these instruments measure. The present study utilized data from the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort Study and the Autism Birth Cohort study to explore the subsequent developmental and diagnostic characteristics of children raising developmental concern on the six-critical discriminative item criterion of the M-CHAT (DFA6) at 18 months of age (N = 834). The DFA6 identified 28.8% of children diagnosed with ASD (N = 163), but 4.4% with language disorder (N = 188) and 81.3% with intellectual disability (N = 32) without ASD. Scoring in the « at-risk » range was associated with lower IQ, impaired functional language, and greater severity of autism symptoms whether children had ASD or not.

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24. Thompson A, Shahidiani A, Fritz A, O’Muircheartaigh J, Walker L, D’Almeida V, Murphy C, Daly E, Murphy D, Williams S, Deoni S, Ecker C. Age-related differences in white matter diffusion measures in autism spectrum condition. Mol Autism. 2020 ; 11(1) : 36.

BACKGROUND : Autism spectrum condition (ASC) is accompanied by developmental differences in brain anatomy and connectivity. White matter differences in ASC have been widely studied with diffusion imaging but results are heterogeneous and vary across the age range of study participants and varying methodological approaches. To characterize the neurodevelopmental trajectory of white matter maturation, it is necessary to examine a broad age range of individuals on the autism spectrum and typically developing controls, and investigate age × group interactions. METHODS : Here, we employed a spatially unbiased tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) approach to examine age-related differences in white matter connectivity in a sample of 41 individuals with ASC, and 41 matched controls between 7-17 years of age. RESULTS : We found significant age-related differences between the ASC and control group in widespread brain regions. This included age-related differences in the uncinate fasciculus, corticospinal tract, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, superior longitudinal fasciculus and forceps major. Measures of fractional anisotropy (FA) were significantly positively associated with age in both groups. However, this relationship was significantly stronger in the ASC group relative to controls. Measures of radial diffusivity (RD) were significantly negatively associated with age in both groups, but this relationship was significantly stronger in the ASC group relative to controls. LIMITATIONS : The generalisability of our findings is limited by the restriction of the sample to right-handed males with an IQ > 70. Furthermore, a longitudinal design would be required to fully investigate maturational processes across this age group. CONCLUSIONS : Taken together, our findings suggest that autistic males have an altered trajectory of white matter maturation relative to controls. Future longitudinal analyses are required to further characterize the extent and time course of these differences.

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25. Totsika V, Hastings RP, Dutton Y, Worsley A, Melvin G, Gray K, Tonge B, Heyne D. Types and correlates of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders. Autism. 2020 : 1362361320916967.

Our study aimed to describe school non-attendance in students with autism. We conducted an online survey. Parents of 486 students (mean age : 11 years) indicated which days their child had missed school (over a period of 1 month). If the child had missed a day, the parent was asked to select a reason from a list of 15 possible reasons (this is a measure of types of school non-attendance called SNACK (School Non-Attendance ChecKlist ; Heyne et al., 2019)). On average, students missed 5 days of school of a possible 23 days. Missing over 10% of school is known as persistent absence, and in our study, 43% of students experienced persistent absence. Older students, who attended mainstream schools, who did not live in a two-parent household and whose caregiver was unemployed were more likely to miss school. Looking at the reasons for absence, school refusal was the most frequent reason, accounting for 43% of absences. Nine percent of absence was due to school exclusion. Nine percent of absence was due to school withdrawal. Truancy was almost non-existent. A final reason describes non-problematic absence that is mostly due to medical appointments and illness. This type of absence accounted for 32% of absences in our study, and it was more likely in student with intellectual disability. School refusal was more likely among older students. School exclusion was more likely among students from single-parent, unemployed and well-educated households. Findings from this study help us to understand better the difficulties students with autism experience attending school.

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26. van den Berk-Smeekens I, van Dongen-Boomsma M, De Korte MWP, Den Boer JC, Oosterling IJ, Peters-Scheffer NC, Buitelaar JK, Barakova EI, Lourens T, Staal WG, Glennon JC. Adherence and acceptability of a robot-assisted Pivotal Response Treatment protocol for children with autism spectrum disorder. Sci Rep. 2020 ; 10(1) : 8110.

The aim of this study is to present a robot-assisted therapy protocol for children with ASD based on the current state-of-the-art in both ASD intervention research and robotics research, and critically evaluate its adherence and acceptability based on child as well as parent ratings. The robot-assisted therapy was designed based on motivational components of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), a highly promising and feasible intervention focused at training "pivotal" (key) areas such as motivation for social interaction and self-initiations, with the goal of establishing collateral gains in untargeted areas of functioning and development, affected by autism spectrum disorders. Overall, children (3-8 y) could adhere to the robot-assisted therapy protocol (Mean percentage of treatment adherence 85.5%), showed positive affect ratings after therapy sessions (positive in 86.6% of sessions) and high robot likability scores (high in 79.4% of sessions). Positive likability ratings were mainly given by school-aged children (H(1) = 7.91, p = .005) and related to the movements, speech and game scenarios of the robot. Parent ratings on the added value of the robot were mainly positive (Mean of 84.8 on 0-100 scale), while lower parent ratings were related to inflexibility of robot behaviour.

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27. Vyshedskiy A, Radi K, DuBois MC, Mugford E, Maslova V, Braverman J, Piryatinsky I. Novel linguistic evaluation of prefrontal synthesis (LEPS) test measures prefrontal synthesis acquisition in neurotypical children and predicts high-functioning versus low-functioning class assignment in individuals with autism. Appl Neuropsychol Child. 2020 : 1-16.

In order to grasp the difference between "the cat on the mat" and "the mat on the cat," understanding the words and the grammar is not enough. Rather it is essential to visualize the cat and the mat together to appreciate their relations. This type of imagination, which involves juxtaposition of mental objects is conducted by the prefrontal cortex and is therefore called Prefrontal Synthesis (PFS). PFS acquisition has a strong experience-dependent critical period putting children with language delay in danger of never acquiring PFS and, consequently, not mastering complex language comprehension. In typical children, the timeline of PFS acquisition correlates with vocabulary expansion. Conversely, atypically developing children may learn many words but never acquire PFS. In these individuals, intelligence tests based on vocabulary assessment may miss the profound deficit in PFS. Accordingly, we developed a test specific for PFS - Linguistic Evaluation of Prefrontal Synthesis or LEPS - and administered it to 50 neurotypical children, age 4.1 ± 1.3 years and to 23 individuals with impairments, age 16.4 ± 3.0 years. All neurotypical children older than 4 years received the LEPS score 7/10 or greater indicating good PFS ability. Among individuals with impairments only 39% received the LEPS score 7/10 or greater. LEPS was 90% correct in predicting high-functioning vs. low-functioning class assignment in individuals with impairments.

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28. Wright B, Spikins P, Pearson H. Should Autism Spectrum Conditions Be Characterised in a More Positive Way in Our Modern World ?. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania). 2020 ; 56(5).

In a special issue that focuses on complex presentations related to Autism, we ask the question in this editorial whether an Autism Spectrum Condition without complexity is a disorder, or whether it represents human diversity ? Much research into Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) over the years has focused on comparisons between neuro-typical people and people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. These comparisons have tended to draw attention to ’deficits’ in cognitive abilities and descriptions of behaviours that are characterised as unwanted. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the classification systems from the World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association. Public opinion about ASC may be influenced by presentations in the media of those with ASC who also have intellectual disability. Given that diagnostic systems are intended to help us better understand conditions in order to seek improved outcomes, we propose a more constructive approach to descriptions that uses more positive language, and balances descriptions of deficits with research finding of strengths and differences. We propose that this will be more helpful to individuals on the Autism Spectrum, both in terms of individual self-view, but also in terms of how society views Autism Spectrum Conditions more positively. Commentary has also been made on guidance that has been adjusted for people with ASC in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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29. Yokoi T, Enomoto Y, Naruto T, Kurosawa K, Higurashi N. Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome with a novel DNMT3A mutation presented severe intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. Human genome variation. 2020 ; 7 : 15.

Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome is a congenital anomaly syndrome that manifests with overgrowth, macrocephaly, and characteristic facial features. This autosomal dominant disease is caused by a germline mutation in DNMT3A. Some patients with this syndrome develop mild to severe intellectual disability, which is sometimes accompanied by autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disorders. We report a Japanese patient with severe intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder with a de novo mutation in the active domain of DNMT3A.

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