Behavior

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.

A Systematic Review of Medical Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Pediatrics, McPheeters et al.
Date Published: 
April 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed evidence regarding medical treatment of children 12 years old and younger with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It was found that risperidone and aripiprazole for treatment of challenging and repetitive behaviors in children with ASDs. However, there are significant adverse effects of these medicines, including severe impairment or risk of injury, preventing their wider use. There is currently little evidence present to evaluate the use of other medical treatments for ASDs—neither their positive nor their negative effects.

A Systematic Review of Early Intensive Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
April 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed the effectiveness of early intervention programs for children aged 12 and younger with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Overall, the strength of the evidence ranged from insufficient to low. Studies performed at the University of California Los Angeles /Lovaas-based interventions and variants reported clinically significant gains in language and cognitive skills in some children, as did 1 randomized control trial of an early intensive developmental intervention approach (the Early Start Denver Model). Data suggests that subgroups of children displayed more prominent gains across studies, but common characteristics of those who experienced greater gains are not understood. Studies into the effectiveness of Early Intervention programs demonstrated some progress in cognitive performance, language skills, and adaptive behavior skills in some young children with ASDs, but there is limited literature available on the topic.

Catching Autism Symptoms Early to Enable Effective Preventative Interventions Through Play

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
March 23, 2011
Abstract: 

Toddlers who played with a limited number of toys showed more improvement in their communication skills following parent-guided treatment than those receiving other community-based treatments.

Interactive Program for Dealing with Behavioral Problems is Available as iPhone Application

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
March 18, 2011
Abstract: 

Behavior Breakthroughs™, an interactive program developed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), uses game-based technology and 3-D imagery to help train people who work with children and adults with behavioral problems.

Shank3 Mutant Mice Display Autistic-like Behaviors and Striatal Dysfunction

Source: 
Nature, Peça et al.
Date Published: 
March 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Currently, the neurological basis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is poorly understood. “Shank3 is a postsynaptic protein, whose disruption at the genetic level is thought to be responsible for the development of 22q13 deletion syndrome (Phelan-McDermid syndrome) and other non-syndromic ASDs”. In this study, mice with the Shank3 deletion were seen to exhibit “self-injurious repetitive grooming and deficits in social interaction.” Cellular, electrophysiological, and biochemical analyses revealed defects at striatal synapses and cortico-striatal circuits in Shank3 mutant mice. The study’s findings demonstrate that Shank3 plays a critical role in the development of neuronal connectivity. The study also established a causality between a disruption in the Shank3 gene and the beginning of autistic-like behaviors in mice.

Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Dental Environments

Source: 
Journal of the American Dental Association, Hernandez et al.
Date Published: 
March 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Many parents of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can attest that dental visits are challenging for their child. Current behavior management techniques currently used in dentistry do not encourage children with ASDs to tolerate periodic dental procedures such as cleanings and obtaining radiographs. In this study, researchers studied the behavior management techniques and how they could be improved. They concluded that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)—a procedure clinicians use to modify socially significant behaviors of children with ASDs—could be integrated in the dental office to modify the problematic behaviors. Currently, there is no evidence-based procedural modifications that address the behavioral characteristics and problematic behaviors of children with ASDs in a dental environment, so further research needs to be conducted.

Serotonin Plays Role in Many Autism Cases, Studies Confirm

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 24, 2011
Abstract: 

Georgianna Gould, Ph.D., research assistant professor of physiology in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is eyeing the role that serotonin plays in autism spectrum disorders. Serotonin is known for giving a sense of well-being and happiness. It is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that acts like a radio tower in the brain conveying signals among cells called neurons. Thirty percent of autism cases may have a serotonin component. In a recent paper in the Journal of Neurochemistry, Dr. Gould and colleagues showed that a medication called buspirone improved the social behaviors of mice. Buspirone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in adults as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant adjuvant medication.