Special Issue "Advances in Autism Research"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Developmental Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 May 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Antonio Narzisi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Viale del Tirreno, 341 A/B/C, Calambrone, Pisa 56128, Italy
Interests: autism spectrum disorders; comorbidity; diagnosis; intervention; ICT; neurodevelopmental disorder

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have significantly increased. According to the DSM-V, ASD are a heterogeneous set of neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by deficits in social communications and interaction plus the presence of restricted interests and repetitive behaviours.

This Special Issue of Brain Sciences aims to present a collection of studies detailing the most recent advancements in the field of autism research. Authors are invited to submit cutting-edge research and reviews that address a broad range of topics related to ASD including the following: epidemiology, motor development, screening, early diagnosis, evidence-based intervention, comorbidities, new technologies (e.g., eye-tracking, EEG, ECG, MR, wearable sensors, VR, robotic research), adaptive behaviours, sensory profiles, language, cognitive priors, biomarkers, autism and health, and transition to adult age. In particular, we aim to present advances in autism research that may have a significant translational effect to the field of clinical services.

Dr. Antonio Narzisi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • screening
  • diagnosis
  • intervention
  • technologies

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Inflammatory Biomarkers are Correlated with Some Forms of Regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(12), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9120366 - 11 Dec 2019
Abstract
Background: Several studies have tried to investigate the role of inflammatory biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and their correlations with clinical phenotypes. Despite the growing research in this topic, existing data are mostly contradictory. Methods: Eighty-five ASD preschoolers were assessed [...] Read more.
Background: Several studies have tried to investigate the role of inflammatory biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and their correlations with clinical phenotypes. Despite the growing research in this topic, existing data are mostly contradictory. Methods: Eighty-five ASD preschoolers were assessed for developmental level, adaptive functioning, gastrointestinal (GI), socio-communicative and psychopathological symptoms. Plasma levels of leptin, resistin, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL2), tumor necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were correlated with clinical scores and were compared among different ASD subgroups according to the presence or absence of: (i) GI symptoms, (ii) regressive onset of autism. Results: Proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6 and CCL2) were lower than those reported in previous studies in children with systemic inflammatory conditions. GI symptoms were not correlated with levels of inflammatory biomarkers except for resistin that was lower in ASD-GI children (p = 0.032). Resistin and PAI-1 levels were significantly higher in the group with “regression plus a developmental delay” onset (Reg+DD group) compared to groups without regression or with regression without a developmental delay (p < 0.01 for all). Conclusions: Our results did not highlight the presence of any systemic inflammatory state in ASD subjects neither disentangling children with/without GI symptoms. The Reg + DD group significantly differed from others in some plasmatic values, but these differences failed to discriminate the subgroups as possible distinct ASD endo-phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Paternal—but Not Maternal—Autistic Traits Predict Frontal EEG Alpha Asymmetry in Infants with Later Symptoms of Autism
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(12), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9120342 - 26 Nov 2019
Abstract
Previous research found that the parental autism phenotype is associated with child autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even if the pathway between autistic traits in parents and child ASD is still largely unknown. Several studies investigated frontal asymmetry in alpha oscillation (FAA) as an [...] Read more.
Previous research found that the parental autism phenotype is associated with child autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even if the pathway between autistic traits in parents and child ASD is still largely unknown. Several studies investigated frontal asymmetry in alpha oscillation (FAA) as an early marker for ASD. However, no study has examined the mediational effect of FAA between parental autistic traits and child ASD symptoms in the general population. We carried out a prospective study of 103 typically developing infants and measured FAA as a mediator between both maternal and paternal autistic traits and child ASD traits. We recorded infant baseline electroencephalogram (EEG) at 6 months of age. Child ASD symptoms were measured at age 24 months by the Child Behavior Checklist 1½–5 Pervasive Developmental Problems Scale, and parental autistic traits were scored by the Autism spectrum Quotient questionnaire. The mediation model showed that paternal vs. maternal autistic traits are associated with greater left FAA which, in turn, is associated with more child ASD traits with a significant indirect effect only in female infants vs. male infants. Our findings show a potential cascade of effects whereby paternal autistic traits drive EEG markers contributing to ASD risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Exclusion Criteria Used in Early Behavioral Intervention Studies for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020099 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
This literature review evaluated early behavioral intervention studies of Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) based on their participant exclusion criteria. The studies included were found through searching PsycINFO and PubMed databases, and discussed behavioral interventions for children up to 5 years of age with [...] Read more.
This literature review evaluated early behavioral intervention studies of Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) based on their participant exclusion criteria. The studies included were found through searching PsycINFO and PubMed databases, and discussed behavioral interventions for children up to 5 years of age with ASD and utilized a group research design. Studies reviewed were categorized into three groups: Restrictive exclusion criteria, loosely defined exclusion criteria, and exclusion criteria not defined. Results indicated that studies that used restrictive exclusion criteria demonstrated greater differences in terms of outcomes between experimental and control groups in comparison to studies that used loosely defined exclusion criteria and/or did not define any exclusion criteria. We discussed implications for the generalizability of the studies’ outcomes in relationship to exclusion criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)

Other

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Open AccessBrief Report
How Attention to Faces and Objects Changes Over Time in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Preliminary Evidence from An Eye Tracking Study
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(12), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9120344 - 27 Nov 2019
Abstract
Further understanding of the longitudinal changes in visual pattern of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is needed. We examined twelve 19 to 33-month-old toddlers at their first diagnosis (mean age: 25.1 months) and after six months (mean age: 31.7 months) during two [...] Read more.
Further understanding of the longitudinal changes in visual pattern of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is needed. We examined twelve 19 to 33-month-old toddlers at their first diagnosis (mean age: 25.1 months) and after six months (mean age: 31.7 months) during two initiating joint attention (IJA) tasks using eye tracking. Results were compared with the performance of age-matched typically developing (TD) toddlers evaluated at a single time-point. Autistic toddlers showed longitudinal changes in the visual sensory processing of the IJA tasks, approaching TD performance with an improvement in the ability to disengage and to explore the global space. Findings suggest the use of eye tracking technology as an objective, non-intrusive, adjunctive tool to measure outcomes in toddlers with ASD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
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