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May 22
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]


hhs_nih_logoEye contact during early infancy may be a key to early identification of autism, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. Published this week in the journal Nature, the study reveals the earliest sign of developing autism ever observed — a steady decline in attention to others’ eyes within the first two to six months of life.

“Autism isn’t usually diagnosed until after age 2, when delays in a child’s social behavior and language skills become apparent. This study shows that children exhibit clear signs of autism at a much younger age,” said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of NIMH. “The sooner we are able to identify early markers for autism, the more effective our treatment interventions can be.”

Typically developing children begin to focus on human faces within the first few hours of life, and they learn to pick up social cues by paying special attention to other people’s eyes. Children with autism, however, do not exhibit this sort of interest in eye-looking. In fact, a lack of eye contact is one of the diagnostic features of the disorder.

To find out how this deficit in eye-looking emerges in children with autism, Warren Jones, Ph.D., and Ami Klin, Ph.D., of the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine followed infants from birth to age 3. The infants were divided into two groups, based on their risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder. Those in the high risk group had an older sibling already diagnosed with autism; those in the low risk group did not.

Jones and Klin used eye-tracking equipment to measure each child’s eye movements as they watched video scenes of a caregiver. The researchers calculated the percentage of time each child fixated on the caregiver’s eyes, mouth, and body, as well as the non-human spaces in the images. Children were tested at 10 different times between 2 and 24 months of age.

By age 3, some of the children — nearly all from the high risk group — had received a clinical diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. The researchers then reviewed the eye-tracking data to determine what factors differed between those children who received an autism diagnosis and those who did not.

“In infants later diagnosed with autism, we see a steady decline in how much they look at mom’s eyes,” said Jones. This drop in eye-looking began between two and six months and continued throughout the course of the study. By 24 months, the children later diagnosed with autism focused on the caregiver’s eyes only about half as long as did their typically developing counterparts.

This decline in attention to others’ eyes was somewhat surprising to the researchers. In opposition to a long-standing theory in the field — that social behaviors are entirely absent in children with autism — these results suggest that social engagement skills are intact shortly after birth in children with autism. If clinicians can identify this sort of marker for autism in a young infant, interventions may be better able to keep the child’s social development on track.

“This insight, the preservation of some early eye-looking, is important,” explained Jones. “In the future, if we were able to use similar technologies to identify early signs of social disability, we could then consider interventions to build on that early eye-looking and help reduce some of the associated disabilities that often accompany autism.”

The next step for Jones and Klin is to translate this finding into a viable tool for use in the clinic. With support from the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence program, the research team has already started to extend this research by enrolling many more babies and their families into related long-term studies. They also plan to examine additional markers for autism in infancy in order to give clinicians more tools for the early identification and treatment of autism.

 

About the National Institute of Mental Health

The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and care. For more information, visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, May 21, 2018
SCV Condo Median Prices at Record High as April Sales Jump
Santa Clarita Valley condominiums that changed owners during April 2018 yielded a median price of $410,000, which set a record high and for the first time broke the $400,000 benchmark, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Monday, May 21, 2018
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
Santa Clarita Valley condominiums that changed owners during April 2018 yielded a median price of $410,000, which set a record high and for the first time broke the $400,000 benchmark, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
SCV Condo Median Prices at Record High as April Sales Jump
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold special and regular meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, May 22, starting at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
May 22: Santa Clarita City Council Special, Regular Meetings
“Fresh Meat,” a play by CSUN graduate student Karen Casady set to open next month as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is the tale of a dalliance with cannibals and furries, and what happens when one small algorithm goes awry.
CSUN Grad Student Play About Cannibalism Set for Fringe Festival
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees will hold its next business meeting at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus on Wednesday, May 23, starting at 3 p.m.
May 23: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
With the goal of contributing to coral reef research, California State University, Northridge biology alumna Jessica L. Bergman has submitted her graduate thesis project, “Behavior of Brooded Coral Larvae in Response to Elevated pCO2,” to the National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institute.
CSUN Grad Adds to Research on Acidification of Coral Larvae
College of the Canyons brought home three All-American designations and set a new school record during the two-day California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field State Championships hosted by Bakersfield College May 18-19.
Cougars Earn Three All-American Nods at CCCAA State Championships
College of the Canyons had 13 players recognized with All-Western State Conference East Division honors including sophomore slugger Calvin Estrada who was named Player of the Year, and sophomore southpaw Jacob Lopez who tossed a season worthy of Pitcher of the Year Honors.
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Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Police Department's First Assistant Chief and a Santa Clarita resident, is one of three finalists in the search for a new LAPD chief.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce a donation to the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive from George Stevens, Jr., the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the American Film Institute.
AFI Founder George Stevens Jr. Donates Archive to AMPAS
The LA County Arts Commission and the Homeless Initiative Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program recently announced the winners of the Yes to ADU Design Competition, which invited artists, architects and engineers to submit concept designs for Accessory Dwelling Units — also known as “granny flats” or ADUs — as possible solutions to LA County’s homelessness crisis.
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The Santa Clarita City Council hosted a dedication ceremony on Friday morning to celebrate a public art addition to one of the city’s busiest trails: the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear by local artist Frank Rock.
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The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of May 21-27, 2018.
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The California Retail Survey, which compares retail sales activity for each of California’s 58 counties and 482 cities, ranked the city of Santa Clarita 22nd in retail sales in its most recent report.
Santa Clarita Ranks No. 22 in California Retail Survey
A bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory Attorneys-General including California AG Xavier Becerra Monday urged Congress to combat the opioid epidemic by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education and Safety (CARES) Act.
State AG’s Press Congress to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, or SCV Water, and Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36 have released their Annual Water Quality Report for 2018.
SCV Water Releases Annual Water Quality Report
The JetHawks allowed 10 extra-base hits, and 19 hits overall, in a 12-2 rubber-game loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
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JetHawks Hold On to Take Opener 5-3 at I.E.
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, May 22, starting at 9:30 a.m.
May 22: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its crime information and public safety report for Newhall (Zone 6) for crimes reported from April 30-May 13.
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1978 - St. Francis Dam site becomes a State Landmark [story]
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Stewart Liff, former chief of the U.S. Veterans Benefits Administration’s Human Resources Division, will be presenting, 'Navigating the VA System,' at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
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VFW Post 6885 in Canyon Country will host the 7th Annual Help the Children Veterans Appreciation Day celebration on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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