The greater the exposure, the greater the risk, researchers found.

Women exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter specifically during pregnancy--particularly during the third trimester--may face up to twice the risk of having a child with autism than mothers living in areas with low particulate matter, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The greater the exposure, the greater the risk, researchers found. It was the first U.S.-wide study exploring the link between airborne particulate matter and autism.

Sulforaphane treatment produces significant improvements in small study, results must be repeated

A small study led by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found evidence that daily treatment with sulforaphane – a molecule found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – may improve some symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. In their report being published online in PNAS Early Edition, the investigators describe how participants receiving a daily dose of sulforaphane showed improvement in both behavioral and communication assessments in as little as four weeks.

Researchers at Brown University and the University of Georgia have developed and tested an approach for diagnosing autism in Tanzania, where such clinical assessment and intervention services are rare. The assessment battery combines several existing but culturally adapted techniques into a protocol that the researchers tested with 41 children at two Tanzanian sites.

Autism is no stranger to the children of Tanzania. What is rare in the East African nation is access to clinical services, including reliable diagnosis and evidence-based treatments. There is no autism diagnostic measure, for example, validated for use in Swahili, a major language of the region. In a small new study, however, researchers at Brown University and the University of Georgia (UGA) describe a culturally compatible diagnostic approach that they implemented at two sites in the country and found to be effective for making diagnoses.

Atypical development can be detected as early as 12 months of age among the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder

The research suggests that parents and clinicians should be vigilant for such symptoms early on among the siblings of children with autism, in order to take full advantage of opportunities for targeted early intervention to improve those children’s outcomes.

Can gaining weight during pregnancy provide clues into the cause of autism spectrum disorders? New research from the University of Utah shows the answer to that question may be yes in some situations.

Researchers have uncovered an association between autism spectrum disorders and a small increase in the amount of weight a mother gains during pregnancy.