Publications by authors named "Sabine Schlitt"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Pre-Post Effects of the Psychoeducational, Autism-Specific Parent Training FAUT-E.

Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother 2021 Mar 11;49(2):134-143. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Autism Research and Intervention Centre of Excellence, University Hospital Frankfurt, University of Frankfurt/Main.

Psychoeducational parent training is an economic way to provide care for parents of children newly diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study explores pre-post effect sizes of the manualized autism-specific parent training FAUT-E (Frankfurter Autismus-Elterntraining). Two behaviorally trained therapists worked with 6-10 parents in eight group sessions. Twenty-four parents of 24 children with ASD participated in the study. Outcomes were child- and parent-related measures obtained at T0 (first measurement), T1 (second measurement), T2 (postintervention), and T3 (3 months after intervention). Children showed improved behavior in the parent-rated Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) total score after therapy ( = .001; ES T1T2 = .73) and at T3 ( = .018; ES T1-T3 = -.51), and a lower intensity of parent-rated problem behavior at T3 ( = .031; ES T1-T3 = -.46). Parental measures did not change. This study found medium pre-post effects on the child's behavior by FAUT-E between T1 and T2/T3; these were not observed between the measurements T0-T1. FAUT-E was easy to implement and did not increase parental stress. This is in line with results of studies on other training programs to teach parents to use effective behavioral strategies with ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1422-4917/a000781DOI Listing
March 2021

Significance of Beta-Band Oscillations in Autism Spectrum Disorders During Motor Response Inhibition Tasks: A MEG Study.

Brain Topogr 2020 05 17;33(3):355-374. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Schleswig Holstein, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany.

In Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), impaired response inhibition and lack of adaptation are hypothesized to underlie core ASD symptoms, such as social communication and repetitive, stereotyped behavior. Thus, the aim of the present study was to compare neural correlates of inhibition, post-error adaptation, and reaction time variability in ASD and neuro-typical control (NTC) participants by investigating possible differences in error-related changes of oscillatory MEG activity. Twelve male NTC (mean age 20.3 ± 3.7) and fourteen male patients with ASD (mean age 17.8 ± 2.9) were included in the analysis. Subjects with ASD showed increased error-related reaction time variability. MEG analysis revealed decreased beta power in the ASD group in comparison to the NTC group over the centro-parietal channels in both, the pre-stimulus and post-response interval. In the ASD group, mean centro-parietal beta power negatively correlated with dimensional autism symptoms. In both groups, false alarms were followed by an early increase in temporo-frontal theta to alpha power; and by a later decrease in alpha to beta power at central and posterior sensors. Single trial correlations were additionally studied in the ASD group, who showed a positive correlation of pre-stimulus beta power with post-response theta, alpha, and beta power, particularly after hit trials. On a broader scale, the results deliver important insights into top-down control deficits that may relate to core symptoms observed in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10548-020-00765-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182638PMC
May 2020

Predictable information in neural signals during resting state is reduced in autism spectrum disorder.

Hum Brain Mapp 2018 08 4;39(8):3227-3240. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

MEG Unit, Brain Imaging Center, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The neurophysiological underpinnings of the nonsocial symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which include sensory and perceptual atypicalities remain poorly understood. Well-known accounts of less dominant top-down influences and more dominant bottom-up processes compete to explain these characteristics. These accounts have been recently embedded in the popular framework of predictive coding theory. To differentiate between competing accounts, we studied altered information dynamics in ASD by quantifying predictable information in neural signals. Predictable information in neural signals measures the amount of stored information that is used for the next time step of a neural process. Thus, predictable information limits the (prior) information which might be available for other brain areas, for example, to build predictions for upcoming sensory information. We studied predictable information in neural signals based on resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings of 19 ASD patients and 19 neurotypical controls aged between 14 and 27 years. Using whole-brain beamformer source analysis, we found reduced predictable information in ASD patients across the whole brain, but in particular in posterior regions of the default mode network. In these regions, epoch-by-epoch predictable information was positively correlated with source power in the alpha and beta frequency range as well as autocorrelation decay time. Predictable information in precuneus and cerebellum was negatively associated with nonsocial symptom severity, indicating a relevance of the analysis of predictable information for clinical research in ASD. Our findings are compatible with the assumption that use or precision of prior knowledge is reduced in ASD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6866422PMC
August 2018

Transdiagnostic deviant facial recognition for implicit negative emotion in autism and schizophrenia.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2018 02 21;28(2):264-275. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.

Impaired facial affect recognition (FAR) is observed in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and has been linked to amygdala and fusiform gyrus dysfunction. ASD patient's impairments seem to be more pronounced during implicit rather than explicit FAR, whereas for schizophrenia data are inconsistent. However, there are no studies comparing both patient groups in an identical design. The aim of this three-group study was to identify (i) whether FAR alterations are equally present in both groups, (ii) whether they are present rather during implicit or explicit FAR, (iii) and whether they are conveyed by similar or disorder-specific neural mechanisms. Using fMRI, we investigated neural activation during explicit and implicit negative and neutral FAR in 33 young-adult individuals with ASD, 20 subjects with paranoid-schizophrenia and 25 IQ- and gender-matched controls individuals. Differences in activation patterns between each clinical group and controls, respectively were found exclusively for implicit FAR in amygdala and fusiform gyrus. In addition, the ASD group additionally showed reduced activations in medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), bilateral dorso-lateral PFC, ventro-lateral PFC, posterior-superior temporal sulcus and left temporo-parietal junction. Although subjects with ASD showed more widespread altered activation patterns, a direct comparison between both patient groups did not show disorder-specific deficits in neither patient group. In summary, our findings are consistent with a common neural deficit during implicit negative facial affect recognition in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.12.005DOI Listing
February 2018

Training-induced plasticity of the social brain in autism spectrum disorder.

Br J Psychiatry 2015 Aug 19;207(2):149-57. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Sven Bölte, Prof, PhD, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, and Psychotherapy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany; Angela Ciaramidaro, PhD, Sabine Schlitt, PhD, Daniela Hainz, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, and Psychotherapy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany; Dorit Kliemann, PhD, Cluster of Excellence 'Languages of Emotion' and Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA; Fritz Poustka, MD, PhD, Anke Beyer, PhD, Christine Freitag, MD, PhD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, and Psychotherapy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany; Henrik Walter, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany.

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is linked to social brain activity and facial affect recognition (FAR).

Aims: To examine social brain plasticity in ASD.

Method: Using FAR tests and functional magnetic resonance imaging tasks for FAR, we compared 32 individuals with ASD and 25 controls. Subsequently, the participants with ASD were assigned to FAR computer-aided cognitive training or a control group.

Results: The ASD group performed more poorly than controls on explicit behavioural FAR tests. In the scanner, during implicit FAR, the amygdala, fusiform gyrus and other regions of the social brain were less activated bilaterally. The training group improved on behavioural FAR tests, and cerebral response to implicit affect processing tasks increased bilaterally post-training in the social brain.

Conclusions: Individuals with ASD show FAR impairments associated with hypoactivation of the social brain. Computer-based training improves explicit FAR and neuronal responses during implicit FAR, indicating neuroplasticity in the social brain in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.143784DOI Listing
August 2015

Facial emotion recognition in paranoid schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.

Schizophr Res 2014 Nov 30;159(2-3):509-14. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

Schizophrenia (SZ) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share deficits in emotion processing. In order to identify convergent and divergent mechanisms, we investigated facial emotion recognition in SZ, high-functioning ASD (HFASD), and typically developed controls (TD). Different degrees of task difficulty and emotion complexity (face, eyes; basic emotions, complex emotions) were used. Two Benton tests were implemented in order to elicit potentially confounding visuo-perceptual functioning and facial processing. Nineteen participants with paranoid SZ, 22 with HFASD and 20 TD were included, aged between 14 and 33 years. Individuals with SZ were comparable to TD in all obtained emotion recognition measures, but showed reduced basic visuo-perceptual abilities. The HFASD group was impaired in the recognition of basic and complex emotions compared to both, SZ and TD. When facial identity recognition was adjusted for, group differences remained for the recognition of complex emotions only. Our results suggest that there is a SZ subgroup with predominantly paranoid symptoms that does not show problems in face processing and emotion recognition, but visuo-perceptual impairments. They also confirm the notion of a general facial and emotion recognition deficit in HFASD. No shared emotion recognition deficit was found for paranoid SZ and HFASD, emphasizing the differential cognitive underpinnings of both disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2014.08.030DOI Listing
November 2014

Schizophrenia and autism as contrasting minds: neural evidence for the hypo-hyper-intentionality hypothesis.

Schizophr Bull 2015 Jan 9;41(1):171-9. Epub 2014 Sep 9.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.

Both schizophrenia (SCZ) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are characterized by mentalizing problems and associated neural dysfunction of the social brain. However, the deficits in mental state attribution are somehow opposed: Whereas patients with SCZ tend to over-attribute intentions to agents and physical events ("hyper-intentionality"), patients with autism treat people as devoid of intentions ("hypo-intentionality"). Here we aimed to investigate whether this hypo-hyper-intentionality hypothesis can be supported by neural evidence during a mentalizing task. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated the neural responses and functional connectivity during reading others intention. Scanning was performed in 23 individuals with ASD, 18 with paranoid SCZ and 23 gender and IQ matched control subjects. Both clinical groups showed reduced brain activation compared to controls for the contrast intentional vs physical information processing in left posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) for SCZ, and right pSTS in ASD. As predicted, these effects were caused in a group specific way: Relative increased activation for physical information processing in SCZ that was also correlated with positive PANNS score and relative decreased activation for intentional information processing in ASD. Additionally, we could demonstrate opposed connectivity patterns between the right pSTS and vMPFC in the clinical groups, ie, increased for SCZ, decreased for ASD. These findings represent opposed neural signatures in key regions of the social brain as predicted by the hyper-hypo-intentionality hypothesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbu124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266299PMC
January 2015

Structural alterations of the social brain: a comparison between schizophrenia and autism.

PLoS One 2014 4;9(9):e106539. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt/Main, Frankfurt/Main,Germany.

Autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia share a substantial number of etiologic and phenotypic characteristics. Still, no direct comparison of both disorders has been performed to identify differences and commonalities in brain structure. In this voxel based morphometry study, 34 patients with autism spectrum disorder, 21 patients with schizophrenia and 26 typically developed control subjects were included to identify global and regional brain volume alterations. No global gray matter or white matter differences were found between groups. In regional data, patients with autism spectrum disorder compared to typically developed control subjects showed smaller gray matter volume in the amygdala, insula, and anterior medial prefrontal cortex. Compared to patients with schizophrenia, patients with autism spectrum disorder displayed smaller gray matter volume in the left insula. Disorder specific positive correlations were found between mentalizing ability and left amygdala volume in autism spectrum disorder, and hallucinatory behavior and insula volume in schizophrenia. Results suggest the involvement of social brain areas in both disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings and to quantify the amount of distinct and overlapping neural correlates in autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0106539PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154717PMC
May 2015

Reduced predictable information in brain signals in autism spectrum disorder.

Front Neuroinform 2014 14;8. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

MEG Unit, Brain Imaging Center, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common developmental disorder characterized by communication difficulties and impaired social interaction. Recent results suggest altered brain dynamics as a potential cause of symptoms in ASD. Here, we aim to describe potential information-processing consequences of these alterations by measuring active information storage (AIS)-a key quantity in the theory of distributed computation in biological networks. AIS is defined as the mutual information between the past state of a process and its next measurement. It measures the amount of stored information that is used for computation of the next time step of a process. AIS is high for rich but predictable dynamics. We recorded magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals in 10 ASD patients and 14 matched control subjects in a visual task. After a beamformer source analysis, 12 task-relevant sources were obtained. For these sources, stationary baseline activity was analyzed using AIS. Our results showed a decrease of AIS values in the hippocampus of ASD patients in comparison with controls, meaning that brain signals in ASD were either less predictable, reduced in their dynamic richness or both. Our study suggests the usefulness of AIS to detect an abnormal type of dynamics in ASD. The observed changes in AIS are compatible with Bayesian theories of reduced use or precision of priors in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fninf.2014.00009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924322PMC
March 2014

Common variants in genes of the postsynaptic FMRP signalling pathway are risk factors for autism spectrum disorders.

Hum Genet 2014 Jun 19;133(6):781-92. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Deutschordenstraße 50, 60528, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are heterogeneous disorders with a high heritability and complex genetic architecture. Due to the central role of the fragile X mental retardation gene 1 protein (FMRP) pathway in ASD we investigated common functional variants of ASD risk genes regulating FMRP. We genotyped ten SNPs in two German patient sets (N = 192 and N = 254 families, respectively) and report association for rs7170637 (CYFIP1; set 1 and combined sets), rs6923492 (GRM1; combined sets), and rs25925 (CAMK4; combined sets). An additional risk score based on variants with an odds ratio (OR) >1.25 in set 1 and weighted by their respective log transmitted/untransmitted ratio revealed a significant effect (OR 1.30, 95 % CI 1.11-1.53; P = 0.0013) in the combined German sample. A subsequent meta-analysis including the two German samples, the "Strict/European" ASD subsample of the Autism Genome Project (1,466 families) and a French case/control (541/366) cohort showed again association of rs7170637-A (OR 0.85, 95 % CI 0.75-0.96; P = 0.007) and rs25925-G (OR 1.31, 95 % CI 1.04-1.64; P = 0.021) with ASD. Functional analyses revealed that these minor alleles predicted to alter splicing factor binding sites significantly increase levels of an alternative mRNA isoform of the respective gene while keeping the overall expression of the gene constant. These findings underpin the role of ASD candidate genes in postsynaptic FMRP regulation suggesting that an imbalance of specific isoforms of CYFIP1, an FMRP interaction partner, and CAMK4, a transcriptional regulator of the FMRP gene, modulates ASD risk. Both gene products are related to neuronal regulation of synaptic plasticity, a pathomechanism underlying ASD and may thus present future targets for pharmacological therapies in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-013-1416-yDOI Listing
June 2014

Executive and visuo-motor function in adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

J Autism Dev Disord 2013 May;43(5):1222-35

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main, Deutschordenstraße 50, 60528 Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

This study broadly examines executive (EF) and visuo-motor function in 30 adolescent and adult individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in comparison to 28 controls matched for age, gender, and IQ. ASD individuals showed impaired spatial working memory, whereas planning, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition were spared. Pure movement execution during visuo-motor information processing also was intact. In contrast, execution time of reading, naming, and of visuo-motor information processing tasks including a choice component was increased in the ASD group. Results of this study are in line with previous studies reporting only minimal EF difficulties in older individuals with ASD when assessed by computerized tasks. The finding of impaired visuo-motor information processing should be accounted for in further neuropsychological studies in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1668-8DOI Listing
May 2013

Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders.

Hum Mol Genet 2012 Nov 26;21(21):4781-92. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Autism Genetics Group, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin 8, Ireland.

While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/dds301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471395PMC
November 2012

Impaired gamma-band activity during perceptual organization in adults with autism spectrum disorders: evidence for dysfunctional network activity in frontal-posterior cortices.

J Neurosci 2012 Jul;32(28):9563-73

Department of Neurophysiology, Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, 60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Current theories of the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have focused on abnormal temporal coordination of neural activity in cortical circuits as a core impairment of the disorder. In the current study, we examined the possibility that gamma-band activity may be crucially involved in aberrant brain functioning in ASD. Magneto-encephalographic (MEG) data were recorded from 13 adult human participants with ASD and 16 controls during the presentation of Mooney faces. MEG data were analyzed in the 25-150 Hz frequency range and a beamforming approach was used to identify the sources of spectral power. Participants with ASD showed elevated reaction times and reduced detection rates during the perception of upright Mooney faces, while responses to inverted stimuli were in the normal range. Impaired perceptual organization in the ASD group was accompanied by a reduction in both the amplitude and phase locking of gamma-band activity. A beamforming approach identified distinct networks during perceptual organization in controls and participants with ASD. In controls, perceptual organization of Mooney faces involved increased 60-120 Hz activity in a frontoparietal network, while in the ASD group stronger activation was found in visual regions. These findings highlight the contribution of impaired gamma-band activity toward complex visual processing in ASD, suggesting atypical modulation of high-frequency power in frontoposterior networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1073-12.2012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6622268PMC
July 2012

A close eye on the eagle-eyed visual acuity hypothesis of autism.

J Autism Dev Disord 2012 May;42(5):726-33

Department of Women's and Children's Health, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Q2:07, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (KIND), Karolinska Institutet, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been associated with sensory hypersensitivity. A recent study reported visual acuity (VA) in ASD in the region reported for birds of prey. The validity of the results was subsequently doubted. This study examined VA in 34 individuals with ASD, 16 with schizophrenia (SCH), and 26 typically developing (TYP). Participants with ASD did not show higher VA than those with SCH and TYP. There were no substantial correlations of VA with clinical severity in ASD or SCH. This study could not confirm the eagle-eyed acuity hypothesis of ASD, or find evidence for a connection of VA and clinical phenotypes. Research needs to further address the origins and circumstances associated with altered sensory or perceptual processing in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1300-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3324676PMC
May 2012

No association between a common single nucleotide polymorphism, rs4141463, in the MACROD2 gene and autism spectrum disorder.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2011 Sep 8;156B(6):633-9. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK.

The Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium recently reported genome-wide significant association between autism and an intronic single nucleotide polymorphism marker, rs4141463, within the MACROD2 gene. In the present study we attempted to replicate this finding using an independent case-control design of 1,170 cases with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (874 of which fulfilled narrow criteria for Autism (A)) from five centers within Europe (UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Iceland), and 35,307 controls. The combined sample size gave us a non-centrality parameter (NCP) of 11.9, with 93% power to detect allelic association of rs4141463 at an alpha of 0.05 with odds ratio of 0.84 (the best odds ratio estimate of the AGP Consortium data), and for the narrow diagnosis of autism, an NCP of 8.9 and power of 85%. Our case-control data were analyzed for association, stratified by each center, and the summary statistics were combined using the meta-analysis program, GWAMA. This resulted in an odds ratio (OR) of 1.03 (95% CI 0.944-1.133), with a P-value of 0.5 for ASD and OR of 0.99 (95% CI 0.88-1.11) with P-value = 0.85 for the Autism (A) sub-group. Therefore, this study does not provide support for the reported association between rs4141463 and autism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.31201DOI Listing
September 2011

Pilot evaluation of the Frankfurt Social Skills Training for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2009 Jun 22;18(6):327-35. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Department of child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, J. W. Goethe University, Deutschordenstrasse 50, 60528 Frankfurt IM, Germany.

The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a group-based intervention aiming at improving social and communication skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Over a period of 11 months, N = 17 children and adolescents received treatment according to the manualised Frankfurt Social Skills Training (KONTAKT). Parent, teacher, expert and blind expert ratings were assessed to judge outcome regarding peer interaction, autistic behaviours, adaptive functioning and family burden. The participants exhibited improvements pre to follow-up treatment, particularly in the area of autistic symptomatology. Effect sizes (partial eta squared) ranged from 0.02 to 0.69. Among other things, regression models showed a positive influence of IQ and language skills on gains in social skills. Findings indicate that KONTAKT might be useful for enhancing social skills and reducing autism-related psychopathology over time in different contexts. Nevertheless, controlled trials are needed to reassure its effectiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-008-0734-4DOI Listing
June 2009