Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Current Situation and Prospects

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 August 2024 | Viewed by 2866

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Movement & Cognition Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Haifa, Haifa 3103301, Israel
2. Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of the Medical Sciences of Havana, Havana 11600, Cuba
Interests: developmental neuroscience; computational neuroscience; cognitive neuroscience; fetal cognition; neuroplasticity; consciousness; neuroeducation hunter
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Behavior that is deemed or regarded to be abnormal and distressing, maladaptive, and damaging can be indicative of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Because there is no medical test for its detection, such as a blood test, the genesis of ASD is difficult to uncover, and diagnosis is based on a child's behavior and developmental history. Autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome are now all included within an ASD diagnosis in addition to numerous other conditions that were formerly diagnosed separately. Are they similar or dissimilar, or, conversely, are all people on the spectrum distinct while also possessing similar traits? It is possible that the difference between ASD and other similar conditions explains the sharp increase in its incidence. Do racial differences exist? Are there variations in the prevalence of ASD by region? What, if any, difference does breastfeeding have compared to formula? What about failure to thrive? Alcohol abuse or stress during pregnancy? How do hemisphericity and neurological asymmetries relate to ASD? Cognitive impairment and retained primitive reflexes? Developmental delays? Variations in parenting? Epigenetics?

If one were to ask the majority of psychologists, social workers, or other social service/education professionals what the primary problems in individuals "suffering" from autism or on the autism spectrum would be, one might hear of a triad of behaviors: challenges with social connectivity, eye contact, and communication. However, there is enough evidence in the non-behavioral literature to show severe physical and general health difficulties related to ASD, including currently conflicting data suggesting a link with celiac disease.

There may be a connection between ASD and autoimmune dysfunction. In this vein, there is much more work to be carried out. ASD and the immune system are linked by a number of immunological indicators, including brain antibodies, serum cytokines, family history, and immunogenetics. Numerous studies have provided immunological evidence, while others lack reliable controls. Studies on the immunological components of ASD are required. Furthermore, a dispute remains about the association with P.A.N.D.A.S./P.A.N.S.

Uncommon genetic variability and high heritability both coexist in and characterize ASD. Similarly, the majority of autoimmune diseases (AIDs) are marked by remarkable genetic variability and inheritance. Some have proposed that rather than being a large collection of dissimilar disorders, ASD and AIDs are related in that they share a common aberrant pathway. In addition, an immunological subtype of autism spectrum disorder may be a particular autoimmune condition with an early onset of a distinct set of primarily behavioral symptoms.

Numerous molecular pathways in addition to autoimmune problems are at play, offering promise for the advancement of this field of study.

What, if any, effective tools do medical and educational systems have to identify, assist, and treat individuals with ASD? Do any biomarkers exist or are there any under development?

It is essential to consolidate multidisciplinary knowledge in this area to provide a clearer focus given the plethora of unanswered questions.

I look forward to your participation in this project.

Prof. Dr. Gerry Leisman
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • children
  • human development
  • maturation
  • educational neuroscience

Published Papers (1 paper)

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38 pages, 2703 KiB  
Review
Central Causation of Autism/ASDs via Excessive [Ca2+]i Impacting Six Mechanisms Controlling Synaptogenesis during the Perinatal Period: The Role of Electromagnetic Fields and Chemicals and the NO/ONOO(-) Cycle, as Well as Specific Mutations
by Martin L. Pall
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(5), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14050454 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 2480
Abstract
The roles of perinatal development, intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i, and synaptogenesis disruption are not novel in the autism/ASD literature. The focus on six mechanisms controlling synaptogenesis, each regulated by [Ca2+]i, and each aberrant in ASDs is novel. The model presented [...] Read more.
The roles of perinatal development, intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i, and synaptogenesis disruption are not novel in the autism/ASD literature. The focus on six mechanisms controlling synaptogenesis, each regulated by [Ca2+]i, and each aberrant in ASDs is novel. The model presented here predicts that autism epidemic causation involves central roles of both electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and chemicals. EMFs act via voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation and [Ca2+]i elevation. A total of 15 autism-implicated chemical classes each act to produce [Ca2+]i elevation, 12 acting via NMDA receptor activation, and three acting via other mechanisms. The chronic nature of ASDs is explained via NO/ONOO(-) vicious cycle elevation and MeCP2 epigenetic dysfunction. Genetic causation often also involves [Ca2+]i elevation or other impacts on synaptogenesis. The literature examining each of these steps is systematically examined and found to be consistent with predictions. Approaches that may be sed for ASD prevention or treatment are discussed in connection with this special issue: The current situation and prospects for children with ASDs. Such approaches include EMF, chemical avoidance, and using nutrients and other agents to raise the levels of Nrf2. An enriched environment, vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s in fish oil may also be helpful. Full article
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