Last year a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US, developed a simple blood test for diagnosing ASD (autism spectrum disorder). At the present moment, a follow-up study confirms the original finding.
In this test, there is an algorithm that takes into account the presence and concentration of numerous chemicals in the blood associated with ASD.
To make the test more predictive, the scientists worked with children divided into several groups within the existing studies. Using the test, they found 154 aged from 2 5o 17 years.
Systems biologist and senior author Juergen Hahn says: “This is an approach that we would like to see move forward into clinical trials and ultimately into a commercially available test.” She also adds: “We were able to predict with 88% accuracy whether children have autism.”
A new German study, published in the journal Cell Reports, suggests that parents may boost the intelligence of their offspring by exercising.
The research, using a mice model, showed that active mice are more likely to have offspring with the higher ability to learn compared to mice whose movement was restricted. German researchers identified that “microRNA” molecules which were known to promote this neuron connectivity in the brain, as well as in the sperm, in response to exercise.
Study author Professor André Fischer from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease says: “Presumably, [miRNA212 and miRNA132] modify brain development in a very subtle manner improving the connection of neurons. This results in a cognitive advantage for the offspring.”
A new research from the UK has discovered a link between the higher risk of stillbirth and a common sleep position adding to the growing body of evidence that mothers to be should try sleeping on side during the last trimester.
For the research, a team of scientists interviewed 1024 women from 41 maternity hospitals across the UK and found that 291 of them had a stillbirth late in pregnancy.
Lead study author Alexander Heazell, an obstetrician at Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, says: “Stillbirth is devastating, with long-lasting effects on bereaved parents. Parents want to know why their baby has died, whether it might happen again if they try for another baby and what they can do to avoid further stillbirth. We believe that identifying, and avoiding, risk factors that are strongly associated with stillbirth will reduce the number of babies who are stillborn.”
A new study led by Dr. Hui Chen from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, suggests that smoking during pregnancy can be a risk factor for cerebral palsy in offspring.
A team of researchers achieved their results by studying mice born to mothers that had been exposed to cigarette smoke before and during pregnancy. In the course of the study, the scientists tested motor skills of the mouse pups and discovered that they demonstrated movement issues similar to those that arise in cerebral palsy.
Dr. Hui Chen says: “However, the message for the public is if you want a healthy baby, you need to stop smoking long before you plan for the pregnancy.”
A new study, published in the journal Neuro Toxicology, finds that children exposed to air manganese may have lower IQ scores.
The study was led by Dr. Erin Haynes, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. A team of researchers analyzed blood and hair samples of 106 children in East Liverpool, Ohio, aged between 7 and 9 between March 2013 and June 2014.
The analysis has shown that hair manganese levels correlated negatively with full-scale IQ scores, as well as with processing speed and working memory.
Dr. Haynes says: “Children may be particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of ambient [manganese] exposure, as their brains are undergoing a dynamic process of growth and development.”