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 Clinical Research in Autism


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In honor and in memory

of Dr. Bernard Rimland,

Autism Pioneer and Advocate

 Issue: # 18                 


Dear Subscriber,


This e-newsletter provides obstetricians, pediatricians and nurses with links to the latest research on ways to understand and to help children and adults on the autism spectrum.  Please feel free to send us your comments and feedback to:  

[email protected]


Previous issues of this e-newsletter can be viewed at:


Steve Edelson, Ph.D. and Lenny Schafer

New Findings Indicate Little Overlap in Autism-Linked Genes in Siblings with Autism


Over the years government health-related agencies and non-profit organizations have focused much of their support on discovering the "autism gene" or set of genes. In a recent unexpected finding published in Nature Medicine, the "largest-ever autism genome study" revealed that siblings, who are both on the autism spectrum, have different autism-linked genes.


This much anticipated study sought to pinpoint those genes that contribute to autism. However, the results revealed that "69.4% of siblings carried different autism-related genetic mutations." In contrast to the gene-only approach to understanding autism, recent research on twins have provided compelling evidence regarding an interaction between genes and the environment. This area of study, often referred to as "epigenetics," is the next logical approach to determining the underlying cause(s) of autism.


The idea of epigenetics contributing to autism was first suggested in 1964 by Dr. Bernard Rimland in his seminal book, Infantile Autism, and in an interview with him in the 1968 film documentary The Invisible Wall. Dr. Rimland's book was recently reprinted with updates on many of the topics raised in the book and is available on
Pregnant Woman2 


Abandoned children at risk of social communication difficulties and autism

[Original article appeared in Journal of the American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry]


Adults with disabilities screened for cancer less often 

[Original article appeared in PLOS ONE]


Autistic features linked to prenatal exposure to fire retardants, phthalates

[Paper presented at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego] 

Babies with more frequent eye movements are at increased likelihood of developing Autism Spectrum Disorders as children

[Original article appeared in Scientific Reports] 


BPA (bisphenol-A) exposure linked to autism spectrum disorder 

[Original article appeared in Autism Research] 


Children conceived via IVF have double the autism rates of others: study

[Original article appeared in American Journal of Public Health] 


Inducing or augmenting labor not associated with increase in autism

[Paper presented the study findings at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™, in San Diego] 


Medical Issues and Treatments

Evidence many young children with autism show gut symptoms

[Original article appeared in JAMA Psychiatry]


Father inspired after child's autism improved by course of antibiotic

[Original article appeared in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease]


Oxytocin may enhance social function in psychiatric disorders

[Original article appeared in Neuropsychopharmacology] 

Non-Medical Treatments
Behavioral therapy effective against pica in children with autism spectrum disorder

[Original article appeared in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders]


Simple strategies lead to improvements in 1 year-olds at risk for autism

[Original article appeared in Autism Research and Treatment] 

Video-based treatment may improve autism-related behavior in at-risk infants

[Original article appeared in The Lancet Psychiatry]