Behavior

Movement during brain scans may lead to spurious patterns

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
January 16, 2011
Abstract: 

Head movements taint the results of many brain imaging studies, particularly those analyzing children or individuals with autism. That’s the sobering message from two independent studies published over the past few months in NeuroImage.

Gastrointestinal Problems In Autistic Children May Be Due To Gut Bacteria

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
January 11, 2012
Abstract: 

The underlying reason autism is often associated with gastrointestinal problems is an unknown, but new results to be published in the online journal mBio® on January 10 reveal that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a type of bacteria in their guts that non-autistic children do not.

2 Genes Affect Anxiety, Behavior In Mice With Too Much MeCP2

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
January 11, 2012
Abstract: 

The anxiety and behavioral issues associated with excess MeCP2 protein result from overexpression of two genes (Crh [corticotropin-releasing hormone] and Oprm 1 [mu-opioid receptor MOR 1]), which may point the way to treating these problems in patients with too much of the protein, said Baylor College of Medicine scientists in a report that appears online in the journal Nature Genetics.

Dr. Eric London's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
January 1, 2012
Abstract: 

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

To the Editor:

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

People with autism do indeed have a brain disorder, and so using medications that treat the brain makes perfect sense. Many autistic patients have symptoms that warrant such medications for their own protection. These include behaviors like head banging, self-biting, sleeplessness and aggression.

I recently saw a patient in a developmental center who wore a helmet because of constant head-banging. When I asked what medications had been tried, staff members proudly told me that they had successfully avoided medicating this patient. But this decision came at a terrible cost to him, as his constant head-banging caused detachment of both retinas and blindness.

Articles implying that all psychotropic medications are inappropriate for this population do a terrible disservice. They make family members and staff members fearful of medications that can often make important quality-of-life improvements and, as a result, actually hurt the patients we desire to help.

ERIC LONDON
New York, Dec. 26, 2011

New MIT center to fund autism research

Source: 
The Boston Globe
Date Published: 
December 15, 2011
Abstract: 

A new center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will focus on unraveling the neuroscience behind social behaviors, helping to push forward research and, the scientists hope, to advance diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

Warrior parents fare best in securing autism services

Source: 
LA Times
Date Published: 
December 13, 2011
Abstract: 

Public spending on children with autism in California varies greatly by race and class. A major reason: Not all families have the means to battle for coveted assistance.

Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
December 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Restricted, repetitive behavior, such as compulsive arranging and rigid adherence to routines, is a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorders. A 12-week study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine produced a greater decrease in repetitive behaviors and more overall improvement than placebo in adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders - Maenner, M.J. et al.
Date Published: 
October 25, 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems. The purpose of this population-based study of 487 children with ASD, including 35 (7.2%) with a medically documented history of GI problems, was to compare behavioral features of children with and without a history of GI problems. Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.

ASF-funded study: JADD – “Challenging behaviors frequent in autistic children with and without GI problems; therefore behaviors are unlikely to predict GI problems in children with ASD”—Maenner et al.

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
October 25, 2011

Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Matthew J. Maenner • Carrie L. Arneson • Susan E. Levy • Russell S. Kirby • Joyce S. Nicholas • Maureen S. Durkin
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | DOI 10.1007/s10803-011-1379-6

Copyright: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011
 

Abstract : Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems. The purpose of this population-based study of 487 children with ASD, including 35 (7.2%) with a medically documented history of GI problems, was to compare behavioral features of children with and without a history of GI problems. Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.

 

Conclusion: Certain behaviors, including abnormalities in sleep patterns, abnormalities in mood or affect, and argumentative, oppositional, defiant or destructive behavior were described significantly more often in children with ASD who also had GI problems than in those with ASD and no history of GI problems. These features (often described as characteristics of autism) may be more common among children with autism who also have GI problems. However, because these behaviors are also frequent in children with ASD and no GI problems (nearly all children had 1 or more behaviors), they are unlikely to efficiently predict GI problems in children with ASD. Consideration of medical, biological, or physiological co-occurring conditions, genetic susceptibility, diet and nutrition, and medication use are necessary to determine whether in children with ASD both behavioral presentation and GI problems might be associated with other underlying factors.

 

New Finding Provides Insight Into The Psychology Of Autism-Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
October 12, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have isolated a very specific difference in how high-functioning people with autism think about other people, finding that - in actuality - they don't tend to think about what others think of them at all.