Over the past 20 years, there has been speculation about a connection between immunizations and an increase in autism. However, a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests the increase may be due to improved awareness, changes in diagnostic criteria and availability of services, not environmental factors or immunizations.
"This study is the first to measure the incidence -- the occurrence of new cases -- of autism by applying consistent, contemporary criteria for autism to a specific population over a long period of time," says William Barbaresi, M.D., a Mayo Clinic developmental pediatrician and one of the study authors. "In doing so, the study accounts for improvements in the diagnostic criteria for autism, the medical community’s improved understanding of this disease and changes in federal special education laws."
The study found that the increase in the incidence of autism in Olmsted County, Minn. coincided with broadening of the diagnostic criteria for autism and new federal special education laws including autism as a disability category. Both events occurred many years after immunizations were mandated for school entry. Broader, more precise diagnostic criteria for autism were introduced in 1987. Prior to these new criteria, children with autism may have been given less precise diagnoses such as "developmental delay" or "mental retardation," and children with milder symptoms of autism may not have been identified at all. The 1991 federal special education laws improved the availability of educational services for children with autism.
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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