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Research Roundup with Paul Whiteley

April is Autism Awareness Month and we have an exciting announcement! Seasoned autism researcher, Paul Whiteley, PhD will be teaming up with us monthly to bring you "Research Roundup" - a "to the point" compilation of cutting edge, relevant autism research that is making a difference. Paul is a well known autism researcher and blogger from the UK who has covered the latest autism research for years in his popular blog Questioning Answers. Paul has an incredible way of connecting the dots across very wide distances of research - something that is sorely needed in autism research.

Paul is Director of Research at ESPA Research in the UK and has a PhD in Health Informatics for Pervasive Developmental Disorders from University of Sunderland.

Below you will find three research papers hand picked by Paul for our Autism Awareness Month installment of Research Roundup!

Towards a blood test for autism

Several research groups are now reporting reliable data pertinent to potential biological tests for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Laura Hewitson and colleagues from Texas further add to this area with their findings linking proteomics (the science of studying proteins), machine learning and diagnostic classification. Researchers reported finding a pattern of protein expression in serum samples from boys with autism that differed from non-autistic boys. That pattern reliably identified those with autism and correlated with the severity of autism.

Hewitson L, Mathews JA, Devlin M, Schutte C, Lee J, German DC. PLoS One. 2021 Feb 24;16(2):e0246581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246581. Full Text Link

[Editor's Note: In 2019 N of One invested in BioROSA , a start-up aiming to develop and commercialize a blood-based test for autism based on the pioneering work one of our Scientific Advisory Board members Dr. S. Jill James.]

Sleep and gut health: making life easier

Examining data provided by over 100 adults with autism, researchers reported that over 80% of participants presented with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and were also classified as poor sleepers. More sleep problems, particularly those related to sleep duration, also correlated with poorer quality of life scores. Researchers concluded that physical co-occurring conditions are an important factor in the context of quality of life for autistic adults.

Leader G, Barrett A, Ferrari C, Casburn M, Maher L, Naughton K, Arndt S, Mannion A. Res Dev Disabil. 2021 Mar 4;112:103915. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2021.103915. Epub ahead of print. Full Text Link

GABA yes? GABA no?

The neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) has a long and complicated research history in relation to ASD. A new study from Australia adds something novel to the literature: GABA levels, while initially lower in children with autism, may increase with age, something not typically seen in non-autistic children. Measuring GABA levels in a specific part of the brain, researchers made their discovery, further reporting that “by the age of 9, children with ASD showed GABA+ levels that were comparable to their typically developing peers.

DeMayo MM, Harris AD, Song YJC, Pokorski I, Thapa R, Patel S, Ambarchi Z, Thomas EE, Hickie IB, Guastella AJ. Autism Res. 2021 Feb 25. doi: 10.1002/aur.2487. Epub ahead of print. Abstract Link

Do you think that this research is critical to providing answers and are interested in learning more? Click HERE to dig deeper into our successful approach to autism research which is expediting answers for our kids!

The contents of this blog post are strictly informative and are in no way to be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult with your physician for medical advice.


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