Pica, the repeated eating of non-food items, is the eating disorder most often displayed by children with autism. In published literature, the most common definition of pica is the placing of non-edible items past the plane of the lips. For example, a child may eat food from a garbage can or bite off a piece of a toy plastic car and swallow it quickly.
Researchers funded by Autism Speaks have helped devise a “genetic formula” that promises to improve the accuracy of early screening for autism and speed the identification of biological targets for future treatments.
Today the World Health Assembly adopted a formal resolution making autism a global health priority. The assembly is the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO). As such, the resolution brings a formal commitment by member states of the United Nations.
Do chemicals produced by gut bacteria affect children with autism? This week, researchers presented findings from a small study that suggests this possibility. They did so at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, in Boston.
A meta-analysis of ten studies involving more than 1.2 million children reaffirms that vaccines don’t cause autism. If anything, immunization was associated with decreased risk that children would develop autism, a possibility that’s strongest with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
John Elder Robison, renowned autism self-advocate and a neuro-diversity scholar at the College of William and Mary, called on the autism community to embrace brain research and the development of treatments that ease suffering. His remarks immediately followed the announcement of a new brain-donor registration site for Autism BrainNet.