Some advances seem to be being made in the sphere of Autism it seems.
I can't say I agree with all the points of both articles, but they make for interesting reading.

Autism is a far more savage expression of Asperger's Syndrome, which is often associated with high intelligence, males, and Northern European extraction. I have a few pet theories of my own revolving around Neanderthal admixture, but shan't insist upon it for the moment.
Gene 'increases risk of autism'

About one in 1,000 people have autism
Scientists say they have identified a gene which may increase the risk of developing autism.
The gene is involved in the production of ATP, a molecule that provides the energy cells need to function.

Researchers in the United States said the risk only applied to people with a certain genetic make-up.

Writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, they said as many as 10 different genes might be involved in the development of autism.

Autism affects about one in every 1,000 people. It is a developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and interacts with other people.

People with autism can have problems relating to other people and to the world at large. They can have problems understanding people's feelings or making friends.

"Having one of these variants appears to approximately double an individuals risk for the disorder
Dr Joseph Buxbaum"


There is growing evidence that the condition may be inherited. Studies suggest parents with one child with autism are 100 times more likely to have another child with the condition compared with other families.

However, scientists agree that the condition is complex and that more than one gene is involved.

Gene tests

Dr Joseph Buxbaum and colleagues at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York carried out genetic tests on 411 families, who have members with autism.

They found that they all had variations in the SLC25A12 gene, which is involved in the production of ATP.

The researchers suggested this flaw could disrupt the production of the fuel needed by cells. They said even minor disruptions could affect the ability of cells to function properly.

However, the researchers said the genetic variations they identified in this study appeared to be quite common.

By themselves, they do not cause autism. They said people with autism probably had this and other genetic mutations.

"Having one of these variants appears to approximately double an individuals risk for the disorder, but it is an accumulation of genetic factors that cause the disease," Dr Buxbaum said. "Our current challenge is to identify more of these genes."

He added: "Identifying all or most of the genes involved will lead to new diagnostic tools and new approaches to treatment."

The National Autistic Society in the UK welcomed the study.

"Scientists over the world are engaged in looking for the genetic roots of autism," a spokeswoman said.

"Some are looking at other chromosomes as loci for possible genes. The NAS welcomes any research which furthers our understanding of the cause and possible treatment of autism."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3585315.stm




Hope over blood test for autism

Autism causes communication problems
Scientists in the US say they are getting closer to developing a blood test for autism.
The disorder is generally diagnosed through a series of behavioural characteristics, when a child reaches two-years-old at the earliest .

But the UC Davis MIND Institute in California has identified key proteins and cells within blood which could be used to diagnose newborns.

However, it could be another 10 years before the test would be available.

More than 500,000 people in the UK are thought to be affected by autism spectrum disorders, which limit their ability to develop friendships and make it hard to understand other people's emotional feelings.

The incidence of the condition appears to have risen sharply over the last 30 years. Nobody knows why this is and it is possible that more cases are simply being diagnosed than in the past.

Rising

Lead researcher David Amaral said the US test would represent a real breakthrough, allowing people with autism to receive treatment and support much earlier.

"We particularly welcome any credible development in early detection as early intervention is the key to the development of a person with autism

Richard Mills, of the National Autistic Society"


"Finding a sensitive and accurate biological marker for autism that can be revealed by a simple blood test would have enormous implications for diagnosing, treating and understanding more about the underlying causes of autism.

"Not being able to detect autism until a child is close to three-years-old eliminates a valuable window of treatment opportunity during the first few years of life when the brain is undergoing tremendous development."

Characteristics

In a study of 105 children - 70 with autism, and 35 without - the researchers found those with autism were more likely to have a certain set of proteins, small molecules and cells, including natural killer cells.

They are now conducting a full evaluation of the data, which could take months, to help confirm the initial findings.

The team would then need to see if the test is accurate on newborns, meaning it will be another five to ten years before any definitive diagnostic test would be available.

Richard Mills, director of research at the National Autistic Society, said the research may "throw light" on the causes of autism.

And he added: "We particularly welcome any credible development in early detection as early intervention is the key to the development of a person with autism.

"This confirms that some underlying conditions associated with autism do have an organic basis, which can be detected at birth and which are responsive to biomedical intervention."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4514237.stm
And one last read for you if you made it this far


'Why my autism is a gift'
Luke Jackson has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. While many consider it a disability, Luke explains why he believes being different is a gift.
Hi, I'm Luke Jackson and I'm 14 years old. I am a completely "normal" kid, apart from the fact that I have Asperger's syndrome (AS), a "mild" form of Autism.

I was born with it, and it may have come from another family member (here I tend to look meaningfully at Mum) but I don't want to get into a discussion of genes and causes at the moment.

One unusual thing about me is that I have what some people would call a disability - but I call a gift - Asperger's Syndrome
Quote from Freaks, Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome - my book!

I am often asked what it's like living with AS. This is kind of a difficult question about something that you've had all your life.
It's like asking somebody what it's like to be human (unless they aren't human, in which case they probably wouldn't answer, at least not in any human language).

You don't know, because you've been like it all your life.

What is normal?

Before you all walk off dejectedly, what I can tell you is what it feels like to live my life.

I don't know what "normal" is, but I know that people like me are the minority, not the majority. So that, in our society, is what constitutes "abnormal" (rather insulting I would say!).

Until I was about nine years old, I thought everybody else was weird. Maybe I was right!
Ever since I was - well, in fact, ever since I can remember - I've known that I was in someway different to everybody else.

In primary school, when everyone was playing "cops and robbers" and "soldiers", I always wanted to sit on the wall and read, or scrutinize a blade of grass or spin around in circles.

In secondary school, while everyone is standing around and performing their teenage rituals (what they are all about I really do not know!), I go to the computer room or the library and enjoy time alone or with the greatest love of my life - computers.

Bullying

Being different may not be a problem for me, or other kids like me, but it sure seems to cause problems for "normal" (ha!) kids. The result... bullying!

I think there is some amount of bullying going on at all times, in schools everywhere.

Some have it worse than others, but all have it. I definitely had it, and "it" was very painful at times.

A lot of teachers and adults think it is "part of growing up", but I have written my books, talked at conferences and opened my life up on television just to let everyone know that people with autism in any shape or form are just as entitled to be themselves as anyone else in the world.
If others would take time to stop and get to know us then they would see that we have a lot to offer.

Yes, we may get angry and frustrated at the world (particularly our parents!), but that is a natural reaction to feeling like an outsider all of our lives and being misunderstood.

All in all, to all AS people and everyone reading this, always remember that "different is cool!"

Luke's film, My Family And Autism, was broadcast on BBC Two on Wednesday, 30 July, at 21:00 BST.

His book, Freaks, Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome, is published by Jessica Kingsley.


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/h...th/3106599.stm