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Gender Ratios in Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Paul Whiteley, Lynda Todd, Kevin Carr and Paul Shattock
Autism Insights , 2012, DOI: 10.4137/AUI.S3938
Abstract: Skewed sex ratios indicative of a greater preponderance of males over females (approximating 4:1) has perhaps been the most constant collective finding in autism spectrum conditions. More recent investigations have indicated a potential change to traditional estimates of gender ratios. We undertook analysis to calculate contemporaneous gender ratios based on collective and individual sub-diagnoses. A sample of 1963 children diagnosed with autism (n = 460), Asperger syndrome (n = 366) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n = 1137) were included for study. The overall gender ratio based on a year of birth between 1986–2007 was 7.38:1. Differences were found amongst the sub-diagnoses for the same period (autism = 6.54:1, Asperger syndrome = 12.07:1; ASD = 6.84:1). Analysis of annual trends indicated an irregular upwards tendency to gender ratios indicative of increasing over-representation of males with an autism spectrum condition despite no indication of greater disparity in population sex ratios at birth. Further independent studies are required to corroborate our findings.
Photoanthropometric Study of Dysmorphic Features of the Face in Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Piotr Gorczyca,Agnieszka Kapinos- Gorczyca,Katarzyna Ziora,Joanna O?wi?cimska
Iranian Journal of Psychiatry , 2012,
Abstract: Objective: Childhood autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication and by a pattern of stereotypical behaviors and interests. The aim of this study was to estimate the dysmorphic facial features of children with autism and children with Asperger syndrome . Methods: The examination was conducted on 60 children (30 with childhood autism and 30 with Asperger syndrome). The photo anthropometric method used in this study followed the protocol established by Stengel-Rutkowski et al . Results: The performed statistical analysis showed that in patients with childhood autism, the anteriorly rotated ears and the long back of the nose appeared more often. In the group of children with autism, there was a connection between the amount of dysmorphies and the presence of some somatic diseases in the first-degree relatives. There was also a connection between the motor coordination and the age the child began to walk. Discussion: In patients with childhood autism, there were certain dysmorphies (like the anterior rotated ears and the long back of the nose) which appeared more often. Although the connection was not statistically significant, it seemed to concur with data from the literature . Conclusion: Formulation of the other conclusions would require broader studies e.g. dealing with a familial analysis of dysmorphic features.
Ad Alta : Journal of Interdisciplinary Research , 2011,
Abstract: This paper focuses on students with Asperger syndrome and Highfunctioningautism. Their intelligence level is in the average range, they should beeducated in mainstream schools although it might not always be easy. The process ofintegration/inclusion depends on many factors. The social skills of these students areoften weak and may cause difficulties in educational settings. Many teachers are notsufficiently prepared to meet the special needs of these students.
Unique Theory of Mind Differentiation in Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome  [PDF]
Michele Tine,Joan Lucariello
Autism Research and Treatment , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/505393
Abstract: This study was designed to determine if ToM abilities of children with autism and Asperger syndrome differentiate into Intrapersonal ToM and Social ToM. A battery of Social and Intrapersonal ToM tasks was administered to 39 children with autism and 34 children with Asperger syndrome. For both groups of children, ToM differentiated and Intrapersonal ToM was stronger than Social ToM. This asymmetry was greater for children with autism, whose Social ToM was especially weak. These results support a differentiated, as opposed to integrated, ToM. Moreover, the findings provide a more thorough understanding of the cognitive abilities associated with autism and Asperger syndrome. 1. Introduction Theory of Mind (ToM) entails our imputation of mental states to the self and to others to account for behavior. A foundational question about ToM is whether it is a single unitary construct or differentiates into separable abilities. The predominant accounts of ToM, which are outlined in Table 1, most often advocate an integrated view wherein reasoning about the mental states of self and others are deemed to be one and the same cognitive ability. Table 1: Predominant accounts of Theory of Mind. More specifically, the module proposed by the modularity account is said to automatically compute the mental states of self and others. Similarly, according to theory-theory, the conceptual change that occurs during the replacement of successive theories does not distinguish between the mental states of self and others. The sociocultural account assumes that the social contextual variables that drive ToM development equally affect the development of reasoning about self and others’ mental states. Finally, the language account does not assess if the relationship between aspects of language differs across self and other reasoning. Two theories that refute the integrated view in favor of a differentiated view are the Functional Multilinear Socialization (FMS) Model and simulation theory. These accounts of ToM distinguish reasoning of one’s own and others’ mental states as two distinct cognitive abilities that are not purported to emerge necessarily together at a single ontogenetic point in time. The FMS Model poses that ToM capabilities differentiate into the two distinct cognitive abilities of Social Reasoning (reasoning about others’ mental states) and Intrapersonal Reasoning (reasoning about one’s own mental states) [1, 2]. Moreover, the FMS Model defines Social and Intrapersonal Reasoning in relation to the everyday functions they each play. The Social Reasoning component of ToM
Idiom understanding in people with Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism
Vogindroukas, Ioannis;Zikopoulou, Olga;
Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia , 2011, DOI: 10.1590/S1516-80342011000400005
Abstract: purpose: to extend previous research in the development of idiom comprehension by investigating this ability in children with asperger syndrome (as) or with high functioning autism (hfa). methods: three groups participated in the study. the first group consisted of 27 children with as/hfa (mean age 11.3 years) and the other two consisted of typically developing children and adults, respectively. the comprehension test of idiomatic phrases (ctip) was administered to all participants. results: children with as/hfa had lower performance compared to the other two groups. no difference was found in the performance between the two typically developing groups. also, there was no significant correlation between the iq and the performance for the children with as/hfa, while positive correlations were revealed between performance and age for the two groups of children. conclusion: the results provide further evidence that children with as/hfa have difficulties in understanding idioms and they confirm their tendency to make literal interpretations. these impairments are irrelevant to their intelligence and they affect their communication with others. the understanding of these difficulties is important in order to find ways to limit the confusion and the misinterpretations which are observed during the communicative acts with this clinic group.
Automatic Conversational Scene Analysis in Children with Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism and Typically Developing Peers  [PDF]
Alessandro Tavano, Anna Pesarin, Vittorio Murino, Marco Cristani
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085819
Abstract: Individuals with Asperger syndrome/High Functioning Autism fail to spontaneously attribute mental states to the self and others, a life-long phenotypic characteristic known as mindblindness. We hypothesized that mindblindness would affect the dynamics of conversational interaction. Using generative models, in particular Gaussian mixture models and observed influence models, conversations were coded as interacting Markov processes, operating on novel speech/silence patterns, termed Steady Conversational Periods (SCPs). SCPs assume that whenever an agent's process changes state (e.g., from silence to speech), it causes a general transition of the entire conversational process, forcing inter-actant synchronization. SCPs fed into observed influence models, which captured the conversational dynamics of children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome/High Functioning Autism, and age-matched typically developing participants. Analyzing the parameters of the models by means of discriminative classifiers, the dialogs of patients were successfully distinguished from those of control participants. We conclude that meaning-free speech/silence sequences, reflecting inter-actant synchronization, at least partially encode typical and atypical conversational dynamics. This suggests a direct influence of theory of mind abilities onto basic speech initiative behavior.
Analysis of Copper and Zinc Plasma Concentration and the Efficacy of Zinc Therapy in Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Autism
A.J. Russo and Robert deVito
Biomarker Insights , 2012, DOI: 10.4137/BMI.S7286
Abstract: Aim: To assess plasma zinc and copper concentration in individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and autistic disorder, and to analyze the efficacy of zinc therapy on the normalization of zinc and copper levels and symptom severity in these disorders. Subjects and methods: Plasma from 79 autistic individuals, 52 individuals with PDD-NOS, 21 individuals with Asperger's Syndrome (all meeting DSM-IV diagnostic criteria), and 18 age and gender similar neurotypical controls, were tested for plasma zinc and copper using inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Results: Autistic and PDD-NOS individuals had significantly elevated plasma levels of copper. None of the groups (autism, Asperger's or PDD-NOS) had significantly lower plasma zinc concentrations. Post zinc and B-6 therapy, individuals with autism and PDD-NOS had significantly lower levels of copper, but individuals with Asperger's did not have significantly lower copper. Individuals with autism, PDD-NOS and Asperger's all had significantly higher zinc levels. Severity of symptoms decreased in autistic individuals following zinc and B-6 therapy with respect to awareness, receptive language, focus and attention, hyperactivity, tip toeing, eye contact, sound sensitivity, tactile sensitivity and seizures. None of the measured symptoms worsened after therapy. None of the symptoms in the Asperger's patients improved after therapy. Discussion: These results suggest an association between copper and zinc plasma levels and individuals with autism, PDD-NOS and Asperger's Syndrome. The data also indicates that copper levels normalize (decrease to levels of controls) in individuals with autism and PDD-NOS, but not in individuals with Asperger's. These same Asperger's patients do not improve with respect to symptoms after therapy, whereas many symptoms improved in the autism group. This may indicate an association between copper levels and symptom severity.
Insomnia in school-age children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism
Hiie Allik, Jan-Olov Larsson, Hans Smedje
BMC Psychiatry , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1471-244x-6-18
Abstract: Thirty-two 8–12 yr old children with AS/HFA were compared with 32 age and gender matched typically developing children regarding sleep and associated behavioural characteristics. Several aspects of sleep-wake behaviour including insomnia were surveyed using a structured paediatric sleep questionnaire in which parents reported their children's sleep patterns for the previous six months. Recent sleep patterns were monitored by use of a one-week sleep diary and actigraphy. Behavioural characteristics were surveyed by use of information gleaned from parent and teacher-ratings in the High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire, and in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.Parent-reported difficulties initiating sleep and daytime sleepiness were more common in children with AS/HFA than in controls, and 10/32 children with AS/HFA (31.2%) but none of the controls fulfilled our definition of paediatric insomnia. The parent-reported insomnia corresponded to the findings obtained by actigraphy. Children with insomnia had also more parent-reported autistic and emotional symptoms, and more teacher-reported emotional and hyperactivity symptoms than those children without insomnia.Parental reports indicate that in childhood AS/HFA insomnia is a common and distressing symptom which is frequently associated with coexistent behaviour problems. Identification and treatment of sleep problems need to be a routine part of the treatment plan for children with AS/HFA.Approximately 0.3% of children who attend mainstream schools fulfil criteria for pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), among them Asperger syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) [1,2]. Childhood AS/HFA is considered to be often associated with disturbed sleep [3-6], in particular with difficulties initiating and/or maintaining sleep, which are the primary symptoms of insomnia. However, there are still relatively few studies about the occurrence and significance of insomnia in school-age children
Health-related quality of life in parents of school-age children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism
Hiie Allik, Jan-Olov Larsson, Hans Smedje
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1477-7525-4-1
Abstract: The sample consisted of 31 mothers and 30 fathers of 32 children with AS/HFA and 30 mothers and 29 fathers of 32 age and gender matched children with typical development. Parental HRQL was surveyed by the use of the 12 Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) which measures physical and mental well-being. The child behaviour characteristics were assessed using the structured questionnaires: The High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) and The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).The mothers of children with AS/HFA had lower SF-12 scores than the controls, indicating poorer physical health. The mothers of children with AS/HFA also had lower physical SF-12 scores compared to the fathers. In the AS/HFA group, maternal health was related to behaviour problems such as hyperactivity and conduct problems in the child.Mothers but not fathers of children with AS/HFA reported impaired HRQL, and there was a relationship between maternal well-being and child behaviour characteristics.The prevalence of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) in children has increased from 0.4 in 1.000 during the 1970s to current estimates of up to 6 per 1.000. This increase is presumably a consequence of improved ascertainment and considerable broadening of the diagnostic concept [1]. While PDDs were previously only diagnosed in children with mental retardation, recent studies suggest that approximately 50% of individuals diagnosed with PDDs have normal intelligence [2], and a minimum prevalence of 2 out of every 1.000 for PDDs in mainstream school children was reported in a recent study [3]. Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) are PDD diagnoses in individuals of normal intelligence [4] characterized by pervasive impairment in several areas of development: reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, and the presence of stereotyped behaviour, interests, or activities. AS is distinguished from HFA primarily by a lack of clinically
Clinical and therapeutic implications of psychiatric comorbidity in high functioning autism/Asperger syndrome: An Italian study  [PDF]
Silvia Giovinazzo, Sara Marciano, Grazia Giana, Paolo Curatolo, Maria-Cristina Porfirio
Open Journal of Psychiatry (OJPsych) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.33034
Abstract: The present study describes the occurrence of psychiatric comorbid disorders in a cohort of 86 high functioning autism (HFA)/Asperger syndrome (AS) patients, examined at Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit of Tor Vergata University. 38 patients out of 86 (44.2%) presented one or more psychiatric comorbidities, such as mood disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome (TS), anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychotic symptoms. We compared our sample with the evidences from the scientific literature on psychiatric comorbidity in ASD patient, in particular in HFA/AS. In this paper we focus on the high frequency of comorbid psychiatric disorders in HFA/AS patients, such as mood disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome (TS), anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychosis, including schizophrenia. We analyzed rates of all psichiatric comorbidities diagnosed in a sample of HFA/AS subjects and we compared findings from our study with the evidences from the scientific literature on psychiatric comorbidity in ASD patients, in particular HFA/AS. We point out that comorbid psychiatric symptoms can be hardly diagnosed, because they could present atipically in ASDs then in general population. Furthermore, they could be masked by ASD core symptoms.
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