Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Researchers break new ground in understanding what causes autism

Researchers break new ground in understanding what causes autism: In a collaboration involving 13 institutions around the world, researchers have broken new ground in understanding what causes autism. The results are being published in Cell magazine July 3, 2014: "Disruptive CHD8 Mutations Define a Subtype of Autism in Early Development."

Kids With Autism See Big Gains With Tablets - Disability Scoop

Kids With Autism See Big Gains With Tablets - Disability Scoop: Even with intervention, many children with autism continue to struggle with communication, but new research suggests that using iPads and other tablets can help maximize language skills.
In a study of 61 kids with autism ages 5 to 8, researchers found that those given access to a tablet with a speech-generating app during therapy were able to make “significant and rapid gains” in their use of language, far exceeding the progress of children who participated in treatment sessions alone.
All of the children in the study were minimally verbal and participated in two to three hours of therapy each week for six months that focused on improving language, play skills and social gesturing like pointing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Broccoli Sprouts for Autism? What You Need to Know | Blog | Autism Speaks

Broccoli Sprouts for Autism? What You Need to Know | Blog | Autism Speaks: Today, a lot of parents are talking about adding broccoli sprouts to their kid’s salads and sandwiches. Can this help? Hurt?

The amount of sulforaphane that was administered in the study is many times higher than you can reasonably get through food. Even sulforaphane-rich foods like brussels sprouts, broccoli and broccoli sprouts don’t have enough of the chemical to get you close. So eating these vegetables can’t be expected to improve autism symptoms. Within reason though, eating sulforaphane-rich vegetables is safe and healthy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Broccoli Sprout Extract May Help Curb Autism Symptoms - ABC News

Broccoli Sprout Extract May Help Curb Autism Symptoms - ABC News: A chemical derived from broccoli sprout could help treat symptoms of autism, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins and Harvard hospitals.

The study authors say it is an “intriguing” first step that could lead to a better life for those with autism spectrum disorders, which affect one in 68 children in the United States and currently have no cure or medical treatment.

“If you tell people that you’ve treated autism with broccoli, they would say that that is a very far-fetched idea,” said study author Dr. Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Monday, October 6, 2014

PLAY Project Home Consultation Intervention Program for Youn... : Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

PLAY Project Home Consultation Intervention Program for Youn... : Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: Using intent-to-treat analysis (ITT), large treatment effects were evident for parent and child interactional behaviors on the Maternal and Child Behavior Rating Scales. Child language and developmental quotient did not differ over time by group, although functional development improved significantly. PLAY children improved in diagnostic categories on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). PLAY caregivers' stress did not increase, and depressive symptomatology decreased. Home consultants administered the intervention with fidelity.
Conclusions:
PLAY intervention demonstrated substantial changes in parent-child interaction without increasing parents' stress/depression. ADOS findings must be interpreted cautiously because results do not align with clinical experience. PLAY offers communities a relatively inexpensive effective intervention for children with ASD and their parents.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A brain wave test could diagnose autistic kids more accurately — and earlier - The Washington Post

A brain wave test could diagnose autistic kids more accurately — and earlier - The Washington Post: The brains of children and adolescents with severe autism react differently to certain audio-visual stimuli than children and adolescents without autism, according to a new study. The findings have the potential to lead to a more objective and accurate diagnostic tools for the disorder.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Could early intervention reverse autism? - CBS News

Could early intervention reverse autism? - CBS News: The impact of early interventions can be so great that in some cases an autistic child who received therapy as a baby will no longer exhibit signs of the disorder by age 3, according to a new study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The study tested a 12-week treatment plan on seven autistic infants aged 7 to 15 months who were already exhibiting signs of the disorder. After families took part in the program, researchers followed up with the children over a three-year period.

Optimal outcome in individuals wi... [J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

Optimal outcome in individuals wi... [J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI: RESULTS:

Optimal outcome and TD groups' mean scores did not differ on socialization, communication, face recognition, or most language subscales, although three OO individuals showed below-average scores on face recognition. Early in their development, the OO group displayed milder symptoms than the HFA group in the social domain, but had equally severe difficulties with communication and repetitive behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although possible deficits in more subtle aspects of social interaction or cognition are not ruled out, the results substantiate the possibility of OO from autism spectrum disorders and demonstrate an overall level of functioning within normal limits for this group.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Study finds early treatment for infants may remove signs of autism | Fox News

Study finds early treatment for infants may remove signs of autism | Fox News: Parents concerned that their babies are showing signs of autism may be able to help them develop normally, according to a small but intriguing new published study.

Researchers analyzed seven babies at high risk for developing autism. Most of those whose parents received 12 weekly sessions on how to more effectively improve their babies' social communication and play caught up developmentally to babies who were considered low-risk and displayed no symptoms.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A randomized controlled study of parent-... [J Autism Dev Disord. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI

A randomized controlled study of parent-... [J Autism Dev Disord. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI: This study evaluated Children's Friendship Training (CFT), a manualized parent-assisted intervention to improve social skills among second to fifth grade children with autism spectrum disorders. Comparison was made with a delayed treatment control group (DTC). Targeted skills included conversational skills, peer entry skills, developing friendship networks, good sportsmanship, good host behavior during play dates, and handling teasing. At post-testing, the CFT group was superior to the DTC group on parent measures of social skill and play date behavior, and child measures of popularity and loneliness, At 3-month follow-up, parent measures showed significant improvement from baseline. Post-hoc analysis indicated more than 87% of children receiving CFT showed reliable change on at least one measure at post-test and 66.7% after 3 months follow-up.

Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBI Bookshelf

Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBI Bookshelf: Results:
Of 159 unique studies included, 13 were good quality, 56 were fair, and 90 poor. The antipsychotic drugs risperidone and aripiprazole demonstrate improvement in challenging behavior that includes emotional distress, aggression, hyperactivity, and self-injury, but both have high incidence of harms. No current medical interventions demonstrate clear benefit for social or communication symptoms in ASDs. Evidence supports early intensive behavioral and developmental intervention, including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)/Lovaas model and Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for improving cognitive performance, language skills, and adaptive behavior in some groups of children. Data are preliminary but promising for intensive intervention in children under age 2. All of these studies need to be replicated, and specific focus is needed to characterize which children are most likely to benefit. Evidence suggests that interventions focusing on providing parent training and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for bolstering social skills and managing challenging behaviors may be useful for children with ASDs to improve social communication, language use, and potentially, symptom severity. The Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren (TEACCH) program demonstrated some improvements in motor skills and cognitive measures. Little evidence is available to assess other behavioral interventions, allied health therapies, or complementary and alternative medicine. Information is lacking on modifiers of effectiveness, generalization of effects outside the treatment context, components of multicomponent therapies that drive effectiveness, and predictors of treatment success.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Medical records find evidence linking autism to obesity — SFARI.org - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

Medical records find evidence linking autism to obesity — SFARI.org - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative: Preventing obesity and overweight has critical implications for the health and quality of life of people with autism, says lead investigator Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and research fellow with Harvard Pediatric Health Services. "I worry that if a kid has autism and goes to the doctor, [weight issues] might not be addressed because other issues are addressed," she says.

Children with autism often have larger heads, weigh more and are taller than their typically developing peers. Researchers suggest that these differences are due to skeletal abnormalities, but a number of other autism characteristics point toward a relationship with overweight and obesity.

The Kids Who Beat Autism - NYTimes.com

The Kids Who Beat Autism - NYTimes.com: The specialists taught the parents that if their child wanted something, they should hand it to him — but should not let go until he looked at them. Within a month, B. was looking at people when he asked them for something, having learned it was the only way to get what he wanted. Within four months, he was looking at people even when he wasn’t soliciting help. Soon he learned to point to things he desired, a skill that required weeks of lessons. Once B. understood the power of pointing, he no longer pulled his mother to the refrigerator and howled till she happened upon the food he wanted; now he could point to grapes and get grapes. “Between the time he was age 1 and almost 3,” L. said, “I remember only darkness, only fear. But as soon as I figured out how to teach him, the darkness lifted. It was thrilling. I couldn’t wait to get up each morning and teach him something new. It wasn’t work at all. It was a huge, huge relief.” Soon B. began to use language to communicate, albeit inventively at first. One time when B. pointed to the grapes in the fridge, L. took them out, plucked them off the stem and handed them to him — at which point he started screaming. He threw himself on the ground, flailing in misery. L. was baffled. He had clearly pointed to the grapes. What had she misunderstood? Why were his tantrums so frustratingly arbitrary?

Parenting dimensions in mothers and fathers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Parenting dimensions in mothers and fathers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Rearing a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a unique challenge for both parents. Previous studies addressed how mothers are affected by the challenges of raising a child with ASD, mostly in terms of stress pattern. In this study, we focused on comparisons between mothers and fathers of children with ASD in parental stress, attitude and mental health. We examined 99 parents of children with ASD using the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, the Parental Style Questionnaire, the Self-Perceptions of the Parental Role and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised. The results revealed the gender differences in the parental attitude and mental health. Mothers reported that they engaged in more social behaviors with their children than fathers. In addition mothers reported higher level of depression than fathers. No difference among parents emerged in the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form. The results of a multiple regression analysis revealed that parenting distress is associated with depression, balance of parents’ diverse roles in their life and dysfunctional interaction between parents and children. These findings highlight both similarities and differences between mothers and fathers of children with ASD and the existence of a relationship between parental stress, mental health and attitude. Results suggest the importance of developing specific intervention programs which incorporate these fundamental parenting domains.

14 potential signs of autism you may be overlooking | Deseret News National

14 potential signs of autism you may be overlooking | Deseret News National: Though the disorder is more popular in boys (one in 42 boys are diagnosed, compared to one in 189 girls), it is something that all races and ethnicities, from all classes of society, are facing, the CDC reported.

Most kids are diagnosed between 4 and 5 years old, research has found. Between 80 and 90 percent of kids show signs of autism before the age of 2, according to the CDC.

But sometimes it can go unnoticed.

New Research Suggests Parents Can 'Move' Their Children Off Autism | Video - ABC News

New Research Suggests Parents Can 'Move' Their Children Off Autism | Video - ABC News: New Research Suggests Parents Can 'Move' Their Children Off Autism

'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Help Some With Autism – WebMD

'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Help Some With Autism – WebMD: Known as the "love hormone," oxytocin has been shown to play a role in emotional bonding between lovers, and between mothers and their children.











In this study, it boosted underperforming neural activity in a key area of the brain that has long been associated with the processing of both empathy and emotion recognition.

The finding has only been observed among male autism patients who are relatively "high-functioning," meaning that they possess verbal communication skills that exceed those of people with more severe autism.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

For children with autism, brain inflexibility may explain behavior | Fox News

For children with autism, brain inflexibility may explain behavior | Fox News: “One of the core clinical symptoms of autism is restricted interests and repetitive behaviors,” senior study author Vinod Menon, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “Autism is characterized by significant behavioral inflexibility and we were interested in finding out the brain basis of inflexibility.”






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This behavioral inflexibility can manifest as atypical motor behaviors including hand flapping or restricted interests such as preoccupation with particular activities, objects and sounds. Menon noted that these behaviors could impact how a child with autism attends to the external world.

Long-Term Treatment Outcomes for Parent-Assisted Social Skills Training for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program - Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities - Volume 7, Issue 1

Taylor & Francis Online :: Long-Term Treatment Outcomes for Parent-Assisted Social Skills Training for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program - Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities - Volume 7, Issue 1: Social deficits are a hallmark characteristic among adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet few evidence-based interventions exist aimed at improving social skills for this population, and none have examined the maintenance of treatment gains years after the intervention has ended. This study examines the durability of the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), a manualized, parent-assisted social skills intervention for high-functioning adolescents with ASD. Targeted skills related to the development and maintenance of friendships were assessed 1–5 years following treatment for 53 adolescent participants and their parents. Results indicate that adolescents receiving PEERS maintained treatment gains at long-term follow-up on standardized measures of social functioning including the Social Skills Rating System and the Social Responsiveness Scale as well as in frequency of peer interactions and social skills knowledge. Perhaps due to parent involvement in treatment, results reveal additional improvements in social functioning at follow-up assessment.

Targeted Interventions for Social Communication Symptoms in Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorders - Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Fourth Edition - Volkmar - Wiley Online Library

Targeted Interventions for Social Communication Symptoms in Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorders - Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Fourth Edition - Volkmar - Wiley Online Library: Young children with autism spectrum disorder experience difficulty in social communication, regardless of the child's intellectual capacity. It is important to understand which interventions show the most promise in improving social communication for at least three reasons: (1) social communication plays a crucial role in a child's ability to participate in daily interactions with others, (2) social communication abilities have implications for future development, and (3) social communication remains one of the most difficult aspects of the disorder to effectively treat. A best evidence synthesis of the intervention literature shows that current treatment approaches are more likely to effect change in social communication that is not generalizable beyond the treatment context, and is closely related to the skills taught within the intervention. However, treatments that are shown to produce generalized change in the child include some combination of naturalistic interactions, child-centeredness, adult direction, play routines, parent and family involvement, a developmental orientation, and physiological regulation.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated kids is coming…and SafeMinds is concerned | Left Brain Right Brain

A study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated kids is coming…and SafeMinds is concerned | Left Brain Right Brain: There are at least three such studies in the works. Two are being funded by groups antagonistic to vaccines. The self-named “National Vaccine Information Center” is funding a project at George Mason University. Said study is, I believe, run by someone from NVIC. Generation Rescue is funding a project at Jackson State University, “Researching into the causes of autism”. In previous years, Generation Rescue was funding Jackson State for a project “vaccination status and health outcomes among homeschool children in the United States”, which is likely the same project just with a different name. Perhaps that’s the same study that the founder of “Focus Autism” is complaining about here. Either way, there are two, maybe more, vaccinated/unvaccinated studies that have been underway for a few years, funded by groups generally antagonistic towards vaccines.

Autism Speaks Flip-Flops on Vaccines and Autism, Walks Away From Prevention -- WATCHUNG, N.J., July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --

Autism Speaks Flip-Flops on Vaccines and Autism, Walks Away From Prevention -- WATCHUNG, N.J., July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --: There was a time when the world's largest autism charity strongly urged the U.S. government to examine the possibility of a vaccine-autism link. "We believe that the question of whether immunization is associated with an increased risk for ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] is of extremely high priority" wrote Dr. Geraldine Dawson, former Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, in a 3000-word letter to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) of Health and Human Services. She also warned: "Recent studies point to a key role of the immune system in the biology of ASD, raising questions about the effects of the significant immune challenges associated with vaccinations, particularly when delivered in combination and early in life." That same year (2009), Autism Speaks advocated for federal dollars to be spent on vaccine safety research.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Physical therapy: New research studies how running programs can help autistic children | Fox News

Physical therapy: New research studies how running programs can help autistic children | Fox News: “We have this running program, and we’ve been seeing amazing effects on kids with autism when they run – incredible physical changes, improvements in behavior and focus, improvements in so many indicators of autism that they suffer from,” Megan Wynne Lombardo, director of the Achilles Kids Running Program, told FoxNews.com. “We’d like to study this and point to the effect running has on these kids.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Some With Autism Diagnosis Can Recover, Study Finds - NYTimes.com

Some With Autism Diagnosis Can Recover, Study Finds - NYTimes.com: The study, posted online on Wednesday by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the largest to date of such extraordinary cases and is likely to alter the way that scientists and parents think and talk about autism, experts said.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Utero Exposure To Antidepressants May Influence Autism Risk

In Utero Exposure To Antidepressants May Influence Autism Risk: Results from past studies of prenatal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and ASD risk have not been consistent. An ongoing challenge in this line of research is trying to tease apart potential effects of the medication on risk from the effects associated with the condition for which the medication was prescribed (most commonly depression). Based on past studies, both SSRIs and genetic factors associated with depression are likely associated with greater risk of ASD.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gene defect found in autism abnormal brain growth

Gene defect found in autism abnormal brain growth: Scientists have known that abnormal brain growth is associated with autism spectrum disorder. The relationship between the two, however, has not been well understood.



Now, scientists from the The Scripps Research Institute Florida Campus have shown that mutations in a specific gene that is disrupted in some individuals with autism results in too much growth throughout the brain, and yet surprisingly specific problems in social interactions, at least in mouse models that mimic this risk factor in humans.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Serial Killers More Likely To Have Autism, Head Trauma, Or Psychosocial Issues — But Not All Who Suffer Are Killers

Serial Killers More Likely To Have Autism, Head Trauma, Or Psychosocial Issues — But Not All Who Suffer Are Killers: What do famed serial killers Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and TV killer Dexter have in common? Besides killing an incredible amount of people — the first two have killed as many as 70 each — all three of them had issues with neurodevelopmental and psychosocial issues. Both Bundy and Gacy were diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and Dexter experienced the extremely graphic, bloody murder of his mom. A new study finds that these issues are among a group of indicators that someone may become a serial killer

Environment as important as genes in autism, study finds | Reuters

Environment as important as genes in autism, study finds | Reuters: Environmental factors are more important than previously thought in leading to autism, as big a factor as genes, according to the largest analysis to date to look at how the brain disorder runs in families.

Sven Sandin, who worked on the study at King's College London and Sweden's Karolinska institute, said it was prompted "by a very basic question which parents often ask: 'If I have a child with autism, what is the risk my next child will too?'"

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggest heritability is only half the story, with the other 50 percent explained by environmental factors such as birth complications, socio-economic status, or parental health and lifestyle.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Children of parents in technical jobs at higher risk for autism

Children of parents in technical jobs at higher risk for autism: Children of fathers who are in technical occupations are more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).






The findings will be presented Friday at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Atlanta.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Study Finds Many Health Woes Common In Autistic Adults - Health - Boston.com

Study Finds Many Health Woes Common In Autistic Adults - Health - Boston.com: Autistic adults are much more likely than others to suffer from depression, high blood pressure, obesity and additional health woes that may partly result from their social isolation, new research suggests.

They’re also much less likely to smoke and drink alcohol, a paradoxical finding since those habits can contribute to many conditions that disproportionately affect autistic adults. Scientists say that could mean that their biologic makeup contributes to some of the illnesses.

Early repetitive behaviour may signal autism risk | Health24

Early repetitive behaviour may signal autism risk | Health24: There may be a simple way to help spot signs of autism early on in siblings of children with the disorder, new research suggests.

The study, which included 184 children at high risk of autism, found that those who developed the disorder typically started showing some "red flags" as early as 12 months of age.

Specifically, they had an unusually high rate of repetitive behaviours, such as flapping their hands or arms, rocking back and forth, or focusing obsessively on one toy.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Widely Used Autism Drug Carries Heavy Risks for Children - Scientific American

Widely Used Autism Drug Carries Heavy Risks for Children - Scientific American: Risperidone, the first drug approved for children with autism and the most widely used, improves some children’s behavior but can have severe sideeffects, suggests an informal analysis of the drug’s use.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Feds Warn Against Unproven Autism Treatments - Disability Scoop

Feds Warn Against Unproven Autism Treatments - Disability Scoop: The Food and Drug Administration is warning that many products claiming to treat or cure autism do not work and may present serious risks.
In a notice to consumers, the agency said it has warned several companies that they will face legal action if they do not stop peddling products to the autism community using false or misleading information.
The FDA specified five therapies that may “carry significant health risks” and commonly rely on false claims in marketing to those with autism — chelation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, miracle mineral solution, detoxifying clay baths and CocoKefir probiotics products.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Study Ties Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy to Autism Risk in Boys – WebMD

Study Ties Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy to Autism Risk in Boys – WebMD: Boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as SSRIs in the womb than typically developing children, according to new research.

The new study also found that boys whose mothers took SSRIs -- drugs including Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft -- during pregnancy were also more likely to have developmental delays.

Results of the study were published online April 14 and in the May print issue of Pediatrics.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Antidepressant use in pregnancy linked to autism risk in boys: Study - CBS News

Antidepressant use in pregnancy linked to autism risk in boys: Study - CBS News: Boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as SSRIs in the womb than typically developing children, according to new research.



The new study also found that boys whose mothers took SSRIs -- drugs including Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft -- during pregnancy were also more likely to have developmental delays.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Autism may be linked to faulty prenatal brain growth in at least some kids, small study says

Autism may be linked to faulty prenatal brain growth in at least some kids, small study says: A small study that examined brains from children who died found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children. The research bolsters evidence that something before birth might cause autism, at least in some cases.

Clusters of disorganized brain cells were discovered in tissue samples from brain regions important for regulating social functioning, emotions and communication — which can all be troublesome for children with autism.

A mother's obesity only weakly linked to autism - UPI.com

A mother's obesity only weakly linked to autism - UPI.com: A father's obesity could be a greater risk factor for autism than maternal obesity an international research team suggest.
Dr. Pal Suren of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University College London's Institute of Child Health and colleagues at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, New York State Psychiatric Institute, University of Oslo, University of Bristol, University of Bergen, Lovisenberg Hospital in Oslo analyzed data of 92,909 Norwegian children at ages 3, 5 and 7. By the end of the follow-up period of the study, the 92,909 children were aged 4 to 13.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Electroconvulsive therapy for autism: ECT eases self-injurious behavior.

Electroconvulsive therapy for autism: ECT eases self-injurious behavior.: W
hen I tell people about the electroconvulsive therapy my autistic 15-year-old son Jonah has been getting for the past four years, the response has been ... surprise, certainly. Curiosity. Interest. No horror, no judgment. But that’s to be expected from those close to my family: They know we spent the better part of a decade struggling to manage Jonah’s aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. Countless therapies, behavior plans, medication trials, and even an almost yearlong hospitalization at one of the nation’s premier facilities failed to stop his frequent, intense, and unpredictable rages.

Could ECT be effective in autism? [Med Hypotheses. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI

Could ECT be effective in autism? [Med Hypotheses. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI: Autism is increasingly diagnosed, but therapeutic options are limited in many children. ECT is considered as a safe, effective, and life-saving treatment in people of all ages who suffer from affective disorders, acute psychosis, and, in particular, catatonia. There are recent speculations that certain types of autism may be the earliest expression of catatonia and that both disorders have identical risk factors. Therefore, ECT may improve autism and, if started early enough, may prevent further development of autistic symptoms in some children. The use of ECT in autism has never been systematically assessed. There have been two large ECT studies in children in the 1940s. Autism was not assessed in these studies because the autistic syndrome was just then being recognized as a separate entity. Findings from these studies add little to the hypothesis that ECT may be effective in autistic children, but attest to the safety and feasibility of ECT in children

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to Think About the Risk of Autism - NYTimes.com

How to Think About the Risk of Autism - NYTimes.com: MANY known risks for autism occur during late pregnancy and birth. Premature birth is a risk for developmental disability, including autism. Notably, elective cesarean section is associated with an autism risk ratio of 1.9. Since a substantial proportion of early deliveries are elective, without a compelling medical reason, this risk is preventable.

A highly underappreciated prenatal risk is stress. For pregnant women who take the sometimes-wrenching step of emigrating to a new country, for example, the risk ratio is 2.3. In the fifth through ninth months of pregnancy, getting caught in a hurricane strike zone carries a risk ratio of about 3. Maternal post-traumatic stress disorder during pregnancy is associated with a similar effect. These events are likely to trigger the secretion of stress hormones, which can enter the fetus’s bloodstream and affect the developing brain for a lifetime. Stressors may also lead to maternal illness, the immune response to which may interfere with brain development.

Friday, March 28, 2014

U.S. autism rates up 30% in two years; N.J.'s is highest of states studied

U.S. autism rates up 30% in two years; N.J.'s is highest of states studied: Boyle said there also is a need for more research into what causes the disorder, which is thought to result from a combination of genetic and unknown environmental factors.

"More is understood about autism than ever before," she said, "but these numbers are an important reminder of the need for answers."

The rates rose 30 percent between 2008 and 2010. They have more than doubled both nationwide and in New Jersey since the first report was done in 2000. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people under the age of 21 are on the autism spectrum.

New study sheds more light on when — and where — autism develops in the brain | Deseret News

New study sheds more light on when — and where — autism develops in the brain | Deseret News: A small exploratory study of the brains of children who have autism has shown that some abnormalities appear to form early in fetal development. The differences are seen in certain brain layers.

The research, led by Eric Courchesne and Rich Stoner from the University of California San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, is published in the March 27 New England Journal of Medicine.

CDC: Autism rate increases 30 percent between 2008 and 2010 | www.ajc.com

CDC: Autism rate increases 30 percent between 2008 and 2010 | www.ajc.com: The CDC report has some interesting data about how autism affects certain demographics. Boys are about five times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. One in 42 boys were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, compared to only 1 in 182 girls. The number of children identified ranged widely from 1 in 175 in parts of Alabama to 1 in 45 in areas of New Jersey.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trained in calmness, dogs help autistic kids

Trained in calmness, dogs help autistic kids: The two Labrador retrievers are weeks away from officially graduating as Heeling Autism dogs, having successfully shown that nothing — not ear or tail pulling, chairs sailing over their heads, screaming, kicking meltdowns or inquisitive pokes at their toenails — will do more than elicit a doggy grin and a wag.

"They're really amazing with the kids. These dogs are so calm," said Michelle Rose, who teaches a self-contained special education BOCES class at Mahopac's Fulmar School, where the two dogs have visited every other Friday since January. "They will be in homes where they have to be used to unexplained things, very loud things. It's a win-win for both of us."

Monday, March 17, 2014

First preliminary results of an observation of ... [J Diet Suppl. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI

First preliminary results of an observation of ... [J Diet Suppl. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI: Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder, with impairments in reciprocal social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. There is often the need of psychopharmacological intervention in addition to psychobehavioral therapies, but benefits are limited by adverse side effects. For that reason, Panax ginseng, which is comparable with Piracetam, a substance effective in the treatment of autism, was investigated for possible improvement of autistic symptoms. There was some improvement, which suggests some benefits of Panax ginseng, at least as an add-on therapy.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Teaching independence to adolescents with autism can boost chances for success after high school

Teaching independence to adolescents with autism can boost chances for success after high school: "We explored many factors that contribute to the poor outcomes people with autism often experience," said Kara Hume, co-principal investigator of FPG's Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA). "It's clear that teaching independence to students with autism should be a central focus of their activities in high school."

According to Hume, independence is the biggest indicator of which students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are likely to live on their own, have a job, and participate in their communities after high school. "However, adolescents with ASD have trouble observing their peers and picking up on skills important for developing independence," she said.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Gene Study Offers Clues to Why Autism Strikes More Males – WebMD

Gene Study Offers Clues to Why Autism Strikes More Males – WebMD: It turns out that girls tend not to develop autism when only mild genetic abnormalities exist, the researchers said. But when they are diagnosed with the disorder, they are more likely to have more extreme genetic mutations than boys who show the same symptoms.

"Girls tolerate neurodevelopmental mutations more than boys do. This is really what the study shows," said study author Sebastien Jacquemont, an assistant professor of genetic medicine at the University Hospital of Lausanne, in Switzerland.

"To push a girl over the threshold for autism or any of these neurodevelopmental disorders, it takes more of these mutations," Jacquemont added. "It's about resilience to genetic insult."

Scientists Uncover Trigger for Most Common Form of Intellectual Disability and Autism | Weill Cornell Newsroom | Weill Cornell Medical College

Scientists Uncover Trigger for Most Common Form of Intellectual Disability and Autism | Weill Cornell Newsroom | Weill Cornell Medical College: Fragile X syndrome occurs mostly in boys, causing intellectual disability as well as telltale physical, behavioral and emotional traits. While researchers have known for more than two decades that the culprit behind the disease is an unusual mutation characterized by the excess repetition of a particular segment of the genetic code, they weren't sure why the presence of a large number of these repetitions — 200 or more — sets the disease process in motion.

Using stem cells from donated human embryos that tested positive for fragile X syndrome, the scientists discovered that early on in fetal development, messenger RNA — a template for protein production — begins sticking itself onto the fragile X syndrome gene's DNA. This binding appears to gum up the gene, making it inactive and unable to produce a protein crucial to the transmission of signals between brain cells.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Drug shows promise in kids with autism, researchers say

Drug shows promise in kids with autism, researchers say: Building on what they hope will be an important insight into the cause of autism, French researchers are testing a high blood pressure medication on dozens of European children with autism.

The team, which has a financial stake in the drug, has tried it on 30 children with autism; now they are testing it in more, hoping to improve core characteristics of autism for the first time.

Serotonin may be autism key - SFGate

Serotonin may be autism key - SFGate: The hormone that comes from vitamin D affects two genes that control levels of serotonin in the brain and in the gut, and improving consumption of the nutrient could help prevent autism or improve behavioral symptoms of the disorder, according to scientists at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute.