Early Intervention

Less Invasive EEG With Chaos Theory Helps ID Autism Early

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
February 22, 2011
Abstract: 

For many years, behavioral testing and observation have been the only way to determine if a child is autistic, often causing distress and confusion for parents. However, now the application of the standard electroencephalogram (EEG) combined with borrowed math from chaos theory, may enable doctors to read brain wave patterns and identify levels of autism one to two years earlier with 80% accuracy.

Virtual Desktop Program Helps Connect The Autism Spectrum

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
February 13, 2011
Abstract: 

Touchstone Behavioral Health, a Phoenix-based treatment center that specializes in working with children has developed a virtual program that gives patients remote access to specialized autism treatment tools and allows therapists and patients to continue developing real-world life skills outside of traditional clinical environments.

Intervention Targeting Development of Socially Synchronous Engagement in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Source: 
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Date Published: 
January 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Two-year-olds with ASD showed improved social skills after completing an intervention targeting core social deficits in autism. It is the first randomized controlled trial to test such an intervention in toddlers and gives promise that a supplementary curriculum could improve social and communication skills in very young children. The researchers randomly assigned 50 toddlers with ASD, aged 21 to 33 months, to receive either an intervention called Interpersonal Synchrony - which targets social imitation, joint attention skills, and sharing of emotions - or a comparison intervention that does not target these specific social skills. Both six-month interventions were used for 10 hours per week in the classroom, and parents in both groups were given similar levels of training to continue the intervention at home. While toddlers in both groups showed gains in social, cognitive, and language skills during the study, children who received the Interpersonal Synchrony intervention, which encouraged them to communicate and play with others, had the greatest progress. At the end of the six months, these children had more than doubled the instances in which they engaged in social imitation (such as imitating the way a parent plays with a toy or mimicking a facial expression), while also making eye contact. Social imitation is believed to be critical in developing social communication skills -- deficits in such core social skills are a defining characteristic of autism. Importantly, children in the Interpersonal Synchrony group were able to generalize their newly developed skills to new people and settings. While their progress slowed in the six months following the end of the intervention, they did not lose any of the skills gained, unlike children in the comparison group who showed poorer social communication skills at the six-month follow-up.

--IACC 2011 Summary of Advances in ASD Research

Prevalence of Autism According to Maternal Immigrant Status and Ethnic Origin

Source: 
Acta Psychiatrica Scandanavia, M.-J Dealberto
Date Published: 
January 2011
Year Published: 
2011

This study examined the rates of autism according to maternal immigrant status and ethnic origins based on the vitamin D insufficiency hypothesis, which proposes that maternal vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy could be associated with autism. The study provided further support to the association between maternal immigrant status and an increased risk of autism. In addition, although more complex, ethnic origin was shown to have an effect on the rates of autism; the study found that black ethnicity demonstrated a higher incidence of autism, particularly when considering autism associated with mental retardation. The results found in the study are consistent with the maternal vitamin D insufficiency hypothesis. To understand the effect of maternal vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy on the development of the fetal brain, neurobiological studies are necessary.

Preference for Geometric Patterns Early in Life as a Risk Factor for Autism

Source: 
Archives of General Psychiatry, Pierce et al.
Date Published: 
January 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that a preference for geometric patterns early in life may be a novel and easily detectable early signature of infants and toddlers at risk for autism. One hundred ten toddlers were presented with a  one-minute movie depicting moving geometric patterns on one side of a video monitor and children in high actions, such as dancing or doing yoga, on the other. Using this preferential looking paradigm, researchers measured total fixation duration and the number of fast eye movements within each movie type was examined using eye-tracking technology. Overall, toddlers with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as young as 14 months spent significantly more time fixating on dynamic geometric images than other diagnostic groups. If a toddler spent more than 69% of his or her time fixating on geometric patterns, then the positive predictive value for accurately classifying that toddler as having an ASD was 100%. The preference for geometric patterns among children with ASDs can be used as an early risk factor for autism, which can aid in early identification efforts.

ICare4autism To Create World's First Global Autism Research And Education Center

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 13, 2010
Abstract: 

The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4autism), a New York-based charity, announced plans to create the world's first Global Autism Center on Mt. Scopus in Israel, dedicated to catalyzing breakthrough innovation in autism research and treatment. In a ceremony at Jerusalem's City Hall hosted by Mayor Nir Barkat, ICare4autism's President Joshua Weinstein signed an agreement paving the way for ICare4autism to acquire the campus of Bezalel Academy of Art in 2013, and convert it into a center.

Toddlers With Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
December 9, 2010
Abstract: 

Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism

Source: 
Journal of the American Medical Association, Giulivi et al
Date Published: 
December 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children. While the study is small (10 test subjects) and requires replication, it furthers previous research which has revealed hints of a mitochondrial dysfunction/autism connection. The researchers found that mitochondria from children with autism consumed less oxygen than mitochondria from the group of control children. For example, the oxygen consumption of one mitochondrial enzyme complex, NADH oxidase, in autistic children was only 33% of that found in control children. While Giulivi cautions that this study has not found the cause of autism, she states that it "...furthers the understanding of autism on several fronts and may, if replicated, be used to help physicians diagnose the problem earlier."

Children With Autism Have Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Study Finds

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
November 30, 2010
Abstract: 

Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children, a new study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that cumulative damage and oxidative stress in mitochondria, the cell's energy producer, could influence both the onset and severity of autism, suggesting a strong link between autism and mitochondrial defects.

New Approach Finds Success In Teaching Youth With Autism

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 22, 2010

As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to increase, the one thing that won't change is the need for those children to develop social skills. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are developing an effective social competence curriculum, with a virtual classroom component, that could help educators meet the demand of this growing population.