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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.

Researchers Use Workshops To Teach Job Skills And Learn More About Families With Children On The Autism Spectrum

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

Researchers at the University of Utah have created a program that helps kids with autism focus on building their skills and utilizing an aptitude for visual-spatial thinking, computers and other electronic media.

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.

Study Finds Melatonin Eases Sleep Woes In Children With Autism

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
January 10, 2012
Abstract: 

A new Vanderbilt study shows that the over-the-counter supplement melatonin is promising in helping children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and their families, sleep better.

NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011

Source: 
NIMH
Date Published: 
December 23, 2011
Abstract: 

Director of the NIMH Dr. Tom Insel shares the NIMH's Top 10 Research Advances for 2011.

Autism may be linked to abnormal immune system characteristics and novel protein fragment

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
January 3, 2012
Abstract: 

Immune system abnormalities that mimic those seen with autism spectrum disorders have been linked to the amyloid precursor protein (APP), reports a research team from the University of South Florida's Department of Psychiatry and the Silver Child Development Center.

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

Autism Rates Have Spiked, But Why?

Source: 
NPR
Date Published: 
December 20, 2011
Abstract: 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one percent of U.S. children have some form of autism, 20 times higher than the rate in the 1980s. Alan Zarembo of The Los Angeles Times and clinical psychologist Catherine Lord discuss what's behind the growing number of diagnoses.

Seizure Damage Reversed In Rats By Inhibitory Drug Targeting Neurologic Pathways

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 19, 2011
Abstract: 

About half of newborns who have seizures go on to have long-term intellectual and memory deficits and cognitive disorders such as autism, but why this occurs has been unknown. In the December 14 Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston detail how early-life seizures disrupt normal brain development, and show in a rat model that it might be possible to reverse this pathology by giving certain drugs soon after the seizure.