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Asperger syndrome [keywords]
- Magnetic resonance imaging volumetric findings in children with Asperger syndrome, nonverbal learning disability, or healthy controls. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2013 May 14.
Background:The purpose of the present study was to evaluate selected regions of interest in children and adolescents with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD), Asperger syndrome (AS), and age-matched healthy controls using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It was hypothesized that children with AS would show larger volumes of the amygdala and hippocampal regions than the other groups. It was also hypothesized that both clinical groups would show differences in the caudate and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Method: There were a total of 89 children in the final sample (31 controls, 29 NVLD, 29 AS). Each child completed a MRI scan as well as basic cognitive screening measures. High-resolution T1-weighted MR volumetric images were acquired. The volume of gray matter, white matter, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was obtained.
Results:The hypothesis that the AS group would show larger hippocampal and amygdala volumes than the other groups was confirmed. For the AS and NVLD groups, the ACC was found to be significantly smaller than that of the control group.
Conclusions:These results suggest that the ACC and amygdala/hippocampal regions are deficient in children with AS, likely contributing to difficulty with modulating of emotional reactivity.
- What DSM-5 Could Mean to Children With Autism and Their Families. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- JAMA Pediatr 2013 May 3.:1-6.
The American Psychiatric Association will update its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to its fifth edition (DSM-5). With this new edition, the classification and diagnostic criteria for the spectrum of autistic disorders will change and become more specific and potentially more restrictive. Rather than maintaining several subcategories of autism including Asperger syndrome, there will be one new category called autism spectrum disorder. This change may alter which children are diagnosed as having autism as well as modify eligibility for treatment, educational, and other support services. We review the history and rationale for the proposed changes as well as several recent studies that have attempted to gauge the impact of these changes on children and families. We also consider how the proposed changes are likely to create new challenges for parents who are attempting to organize their children's care and for pediatricians who are providing that care and assisting with care coordination.
- Prenatal valproate exposure and risk of autism spectrum disorders and childhood autism. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- JAMA 2013 Apr 24; 309(16):1696-703.
Valproate is used for the treatment of epilepsy and other neuropsychological disorders and may be the only treatment option for women of childbearing potential. However, prenatal exposure to valproate may increase the risk of autism.To determine whether prenatal exposure to valproate is associated with an increased risk of autism in offspring.Population-based study of all children born alive in Denmark from 1996 to 2006. National registers were used to identify children exposed to valproate during pregnancy and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (childhood autism [autistic disorder], Asperger syndrome, atypical autism, and other or unspecified pervasive developmental disorders). We analyzed the risks associated with all autism spectrum disorders as well as childhood autism. Data were analyzed by Cox regression adjusting for potential confounders (maternal age at conception, paternal age at conception, parental psychiatric history, gestational age, birth weight, sex, congenital malformations, and parity). Children were followed up from birth until the day of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, death, emigration, or December 31, 2010, whichever came first. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Absolute risk (cumulative incidence) and the hazard ratio (HR) of autism spectrum disorder and childhood autism in children after exposure to valproate in pregnancy.Of 655,615 children born from 1996 through 2006, 5437 were identified with autism spectrum disorder, including 2067 with childhood autism. The mean age of the children at end of follow-up was 8.84 years (range, 4-14; median, 8.85). The estimated absolute risk after 14 years of follow-up was 1.53% (95% CI, 1.47%-1.58%) for autism spectrum disorder and 0.48% (95% CI, 0.46%-0.51%) for childhood autism. Overall, the 508 children exposed to valproate had an absolute risk of 4.42% (95% CI, 2.59%-7.46%) for autism spectrum disorder (adjusted HR, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.7-4.9]) and an absolute risk of 2.50% (95% CI, 1.30%-4.81%) for childhood autism (adjusted HR, 5.2 [95% CI, 2.7-10.0]). When restricting the cohort to the 6584 children born to women with epilepsy, the absolute risk of autism spectrum disorder among 432 children exposed to valproate was 4.15% (95% CI, 2.20%-7.81%) (adjusted HR, 1.7 [95% CI, 0.9-3.2]), and the absolute risk of childhood autism was 2.95% (95% CI, 1.42%-6.11%) (adjusted HR, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.4-6.0]) vs 2.44% (95% CI, 1.88%-3.16%) for autism spectrum disorder and 1.02% (95% CI, 0.70%-1.49%) for childhood autism among 6152 children not exposed to valproate.Maternal use of valproate during pregnancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of autism spectrum disorder and childhood autism in the offspring, even after adjusting for maternal epilepsy. For women of childbearing potential who use antiepileptic medications, these findings must be balanced against the treatment benefits for women who require valproate for epilepsy control.
- Bridges and Barriers to Successful Transitioning as Perceived by Adolescents and Young Adults With Asperger Syndrome. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Pediatr Nurs 2013 Mar 28.
In this thematic content analysis we examined the expectations, and perceived facilitators of (referred to as bridges) and barriers to transition to community as reported by adolescents and young adults with Asperger syndrome. Participants were adolescents/young adults, ages 18-23years, were from the East Coast of the United States. Seventy percent of adolescents hoped for employment (n=10). Thirty percent desired to find a partner and raise a family. Perceived barriers were: self-assessed behavioral problems, self-assessed associated features, other personal factors, and institutional factors. Bridges to facilitate transition were: accommodations in the community, cognitive abilities, personal qualities/strengths, and mentor's qualities.
- Challenging Stereotypes: Sexual Functioning of Single Adults with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Autism Dev Disord 2013 Mar 24.
This study examined the sexual functioning of single adults (61 men, 68 women) with high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome living in the community with and without prior relationship experience. Participants completed an on-line questionnaire assessing autism symptoms, psychological functioning, and various aspects of sexual functioning. In general participants reported positive sexual functioning. Participants without prior relationship experience were significantly younger and more likely to be male and identify as heterosexual. They reported significantly higher sexual anxiety, lower sexual arousability, lower dyadic desire, and fewer positive sexual cognitions. The men reported better sexual function than did the women in a number of areas. These results counter negative societal perceptions about the sexuality of high functioning individuals on the autism spectrum.
- Morphology in autism spectrum disorders: local processing bias and language. [Journal Article]
- Cogn Neuropsychol 2012; 29(7-8):584-600.
We conducted a detailed study of a case of linguistic talent in the context of autism spectrum disorder, specifically Asperger syndrome. I.A. displays language strengths at the level of morphology and syntax. Yet, despite this grammar advantage, processing of figurative language and inferencing based on context presents a problem for him. The morphology advantage for I.A. is consistent with the weak central coherence (WCC) account of autism. From this account, the presence of a local processing bias is evident in the ways in which autistic individuals solve common problems, such as assessing similarities between objects and finding common patterns, and may therefore provide an advantage in some cognitive tasks compared to typical individuals. We extend the WCC account to language and provide evidence for a connection between the local processing bias and the acquisition of morphology and grammar.
- Effects of Intranasal Oxytocin on the Neural Basis of Face Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Biol Psychiatry 2013 Mar 16.
BACKGROUND:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with altered face processing and decreased activity in brain regions involved in face processing. The neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to promote face processing and modulate brain activity in healthy adults. The present study examined the effects of oxytocin on the neural basis of face processing in adults with Asperger syndrome (AS).
METHODS:A group of 14 individuals with AS and a group of 14 neurotypical control participants performed a face-matching and a house-matching task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. The effects of a single dose of 24 IU intranasally administered oxytocin were tested in a randomized, placebo-controlled, within-subject, cross-over design.
RESULTS:Under placebo, the AS group showed decreased activity in the right amygdala, fusiform gyrus, and inferior occipital gyrus compared with the control group during face processing. After oxytocin treatment, right amygdala activity to facial stimuli increased in the AS group.
CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that oxytocin increases the saliency of social stimuli and in ASD and suggest that oxytocin might promote face processing and eye contact in individuals with ASD as prerequisites for neurotypical social interaction.
- Comparison of ICD-10R, DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 in an Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Clinic. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Autism Dev Disord 2013 Mar 16.
An Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis is often used to access services. We investigated whether ASD diagnostic outcome varied when DSM-5 was used compared to ICD-10R and DSM-IV-TR in a clinical sample of 150 intellectually able adults. Of those diagnosed with an ASD using ICD-10R, 56 % met DSM-5 ASD criteria. A further 19 % met DSM-5 (draft) criteria for Social Communication Disorder. Of those diagnosed with Autistic Disorder/Asperger Syndrome on DSM-IV-TR, 78 % met DSM-5 ASD criteria. Sensitivity of DSM-5 was significantly increased by reducing the number of criteria required for a DSM-5 diagnosis, or by rating 'uncertain' criteria as 'present', without sacrificing specificity. Reduced rates of ASD diagnosis may mean some ASD individuals will be unable to access clinical services.
- MEG premotor abnormalities in children with Asperger's syndrome: Determinants of social behavior? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2013 Feb 18.:95-105.
Children with Asperger's syndrome show deficits in social functioning while their intellectual and language development is intact suggesting a specific dysfunction in mechanisms mediating social cognition. An action observation/execution matching system might be one such mechanism. Recent studies indeed showed that electrophysiological modulation of the "Mu-rhythm" in the 10-12Hz range is weaker when individuals with Asperger's syndrome observe actions performed by others compared to controls. However, electrophysiological studies typically fall short in revealing the neural generators of this activity. To fill this gap we assessed magnetoencephalographic Mu-modulations in Asperger's and typically developed children, while observing grasping movements. Mu-power increased at frontal and central sensors during movement observation. This modulation was stronger in typical than in Asperger children. Source localization revealed stronger sources in premotor cortex, the intraparietal lobule (IPL) and the mid-occipito-temporal gyrus (MOTG) and weaker sources in prefrontal cortex in typical participants compared to Asperger. Activity in premotor regions, IPL and MOTG correlated positively with social competence, whereas prefrontal Mu-sources correlated negatively with social competence. No correlation with intellectual ability was found at any of these sites. These findings localize abnormal Mu-activity in the brain of Asperger children providing evidence which associates motor-system abnormalities with social-function deficits.
- Autism in the faroe islands: diagnostic stability from childhood to early adult life. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- ScientificWorldJournal 2013.:592371.
Childhood autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been regarded as one of the most stable diagnostic categories applied to young children with psychiatric/developmental disorders. The stability over time of a diagnosis of ASD is theoretically interesting and important for various diagnostic and clinical reasons. We studied the diagnostic stability of ASD from childhood to early adulthood in the Faroe Islands: a total school age population sample (8-17-year-olds) was screened and diagnostically assessed for AD in 2002 and 2009. This paper compares both independent clinical diagnosis and Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO) algorithm diagnosis at two time points, separated by seven years. The stability of clinical ASD diagnosis was perfect for AD, good for "atypical autism"/PDD-NOS, and less than perfect for Asperger syndrome (AS). Stability of the DISCO algorithm subcategory diagnoses was more variable but still good for AD. Both systems showed excellent stability over the seven-year period for "any ASD" diagnosis, although a number of clear cases had been missed at the original screening in 2002. The findings support the notion that subcategories of ASD should be collapsed into one overarching diagnostic entity with subgrouping achieved on other "non-autism" variables, such as IQ and language levels and overall adaptive functioning.