Behavior

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.

The Accuracy Of Autism Diagnosis In Children With Down Syndrome Validated By New Findings

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
October 6, 2011
Abstract: 

New findings from a 16-year study confirm that the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the gold-standard for the classification of mental health conditions, can be used to accurately identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children with Down syndrome, according to research from Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Children With Autism Benefit from Early, Intensive Therapy

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
September 28, 2011
Abstract: 

A primary characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is impairments in social-communication skills. Children and adolescents with social-communication problems face difficulty understanding, interacting and relating with others. University of Missouri researchers found that children who receive more intensive therapy to combat these impairments, especially at early ages, achieve the best outcomes.

Social Bonding in Prairie Voles Helps Guide Search for Autism Treatments

Source: 
Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Date Published: 
April 28, 2011
Abstract: 

Researchers at the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN) at Emory University are focusing on prairie voles as a new model to screen the effectiveness of drugs to treat autism. They are starting with D-cycloserine, a drug Emory researchers have shown enhances behavioral therapy for phobias and also promotes pair bonding among prairie voles. Giving female voles D-cycloserine, which is thought to facilitate learning and memory, can encourage them to bond with a new male more quickly than usual.