Research by Topic: Treatments

Podcast: What treatments are lacking sufficient evidence for autism?

Published June 5, 2017

In this week’s podcast with Dr. Alycia Halladay Ross, she discusses two new publications that reported on systematic reviews for nutritional and sensory treatments for ASD. This means the existing research was sorted, summarized, scrutinized and evaluated. The reviews found insufficient evidence to show that any dietary or nutritional therapy was effective, but sufficient evidence […]

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Intervention studies are going to get better

Published June 21, 2016

Studies looking at interventions in autism have been plagued with issues of: what treatments will work best in which people,  and use of instruments to detect change that were never designed for use in people with autism. Recently, a new instrument was developed to look at improvements in social – communication in autism. This the […]

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FDA: Beware of False or Misleading Claims for Treating Autism

Published April 25, 2014 in FDA

The FDA issued a warning today that several companies are making false or misleading claims about products or therapies that claim to treat or cure autism. The so-called treatments, such as chelation therapy or mineral treatments, carry significant risks, FDA says. Please be aware of the FDA’s warning and follow their tips to help you identify false or misleading claims.

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Drug Calms Overly Excitable Brains in Autism Rodent Models

Published February 10, 2014 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

The blood pressure drug bumetanide normalizes a deficit in brain activity in two rodent models of autism, according to a study published in Science. The study hints at a mechanism underlying the drugs benefits for people with autism. Neurochlore, a company based in Marseilles, France, is testing bumetanide as a treatment for autism. In the first phase, 27 children with autism showed some improvement in their autism symptoms; the researchers are continuing the trial in Europe with more participants.

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Young Children With Autism Benefit Regardless of High-Quality Treatment Model

Published June 28, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

A UNC comparative efficacy study that compared the LEAP, TEACCH and Non-Model-Specific Special Education Programs found that young children who receive high-quality early intervention benefit developmentally regardless of the treatment model used.

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Seaside Therapeutics Discontinues Arbaclofen (STX209) Extension Study

Published May 31, 2013 in The Boston Globe

Seaside Therapeutics has discontinued their extension study of Arbaclofen (STX209), a drug that showed promise in treating social impairment related to Fragile X syndrome.

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How Can Immigrant Families Get Help For Their Autistic Child

Published May 24, 2013 in ASF Blog

Guest blogger Marcela De Vivo shares insight on some of the difficulties immigrant families face when getting help for their child with autism in this week’s ASF blog post.

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Environmental Enrichment as an Effective Treatment for Autism: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published May 20, 2013 in Behavioral Neuroscience

Researchers at University of California Irvine conducted a randomized controlled trial of sensorimotor enrichment in young boys with ASD. Behavioral and cognitive improvements in the children who received sensorimotor therapy suggest that it may be a promising treatment for ASD symptoms. The group is now conducting a larger trial that includes girls.

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Special Issue on: School-based Research of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published May 1, 2013 in Autism

Autism Special Issue

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Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of an 18-month Feasibility Study

Published April 26, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

New findings from a small pilot study suggest cognitive enhancement therapy is a feasible and effective intervention for cognitive impairments in verbal adults with ASD. Adult participants were highly satisfied with the therapy and treatment attendance was high, indicating their willingness to participate in and commit to an intervention that they considered useful.

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SFARI: Studies Show Promise for Fragile X Treatment

Published April 25, 2013 in SFARI

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Is Medication Information for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Monitored and Coordinated Across Professionals? Findings from a Teacher Survey

Published March 1, 2013 in School Mental Health

This study examined school-based medication monitoring in children with ASD. Researchers found that less than half of teachers of medicated students were aware that students were taking medication and no teachers were communicating with prescribing physicians about student behavior and side effects. Since monitoring medication across settings helps physicians assess drug safety and effectiveness, the authors argue for increased communication among professionals.

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Social Behaviors Increase in Children with Autism in the Presence of Animals Compared to Toys

Published February 27, 2013 in PLOS One

Children with ASD showed increased positive social behaviors in the presence of guinea pigs compared to toys in this new PLOS One study. Specifically, they showed more social approach behaviors (e.g. talking, looking at faces and making tactile contact) and positive affect (e.g. laughing and smiling), and less self-focused behaviors in the presence of animals.

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Brief Report: Is Cognitive Rehabilitation Needed in Verbal Adults with Autism? Insights from Initial Enrollment in a Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Published February 5, 2013 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Early results from this pilot trial of cognitive enhancement therapy (CET) indicate that despite above-average intelligence, verbal adults with ASD can have significantly impaired neurocognition and social cognition. The authors suggest CET, which is designed to remediate both social and non-social deficits through computer-based neurocognitive training, could be useful for cognitive rehabilitation in this population.

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Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: Associations With Ethnicity, Child Comorbid Symptoms, and Parental Stress

Published January 30, 2013 in Journal of Child Neurology

Families of children with ASD and other comorbid symptoms, including behavioral problems such as irritability and food allergies, were more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine, and they were more likely to use more types of modalities as compared to families of children with other developmental disabilities.

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ABA Therapy OKd for More Military Kids

Published January 7, 2013 in Disability Scoop

More military families will have access to ABA under a new government program.

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Mindfulness-based Therapy in Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Published January 1, 2013 in Research in Developmental Disabilities

This is the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapy for adults with ASD. Participants who received MBT benefited from the therapy, showing less depression, anxiety and rumination, and more positive affect.

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Chelation Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

Published January 1, 2013 in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Authors of this new review on chelation treatment say, the weakness of the evidence base, the lack of a sound rationale for use of chelation as an ASD treatment, and the potential negative side effects strongly argue against the use of chelation treatment for ASD.

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Why Are There So Many Unsubstantiated Treatments in Autism?

Published December 27, 2012 in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

An estimated 32-92% of parents use complementary/alternative treatments for their children with ASD despite the lack of scientific evidence for the efficacy of these methods. In this article, researchers issue a call for a standardized way to select and evaluate treatments. Barriers to successful treatment, including high costs, limited availability, parental compliance and poor recommendations from professionals are discussed.

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Diuretic Drug Offers Latest Hope for Autism Treatment

Published December 11, 2012 in Science Magazine

A drug used for decades to treat high blood pressure and other conditions has shown promise in a small clinical trial for autism.

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Sensory Integration Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

Published November 20, 2012 in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Sensory integration therapy is a popular ASD intervention, but this systematic review suggests scientific evidence does not support its use.

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New Supplement in Pediatrics: Improving Health Care for Children and Youth With Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Published November 1, 2012 in Pediatrics

Access full articles on interventions, sleep and GI problems, health care coverage and more.

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Autism Interventions Supported by Moderate Evidence; Better Studies Needed to Validate Effectiveness

Published November 1, 2012 in RAND Corporation

Widely used autism interventions are supported by moderate evidence. Head-to-head trials of competing autism treatments are needed to identify which programs are superior and additional work should follow study participants long-term to further examine the effectiveness of treatments.

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Nature Outlook: Autism Now Available Online

Published October 31, 2012 in Nature

Sponsored in part by ASF, the new Nature Outlook supplement on autism features articles on genetics, adulthood, brain imaging, diagnosis and more.

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Neural Mechanisms of Improvements in Social Motivation After Pivotal Response Treatment: Two Case Studies

Published October 27, 2012 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Researchers find increased activation to social stimuli in brain regions involved in social perception in two children with ASD after pivotal response treatment (PRT).

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Mutations in BCKD-kinase Lead to a Potentially Treatable Form of Autism with Epilepsy

Published October 19, 2012 in Science

A research team led by Gaia Novarino of the University of California, San Diego, has identified genetic mutations which cause a form of autism that could potentially be treated with dietary supplements.

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Mutations in BCKD-kinase Lead to a Potentially Treatable form of Autism with Epilepsy.

Published October 19, 2012 in Science

Researchers identified inactivating mutations in the gene BCKDK (Branched Chain Ketoacid Dehydrogenase Kinase) in consanguineous families with autism, epilepsy, and intellectual disability.

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Interventions Addressing Social Impairment in Autism

Published October 4, 2012 in Current Psychiatry Reports

In this new review of intervention studies targeting social impairment in autism, authors encourage researchers to design new studies that: evaluate ingredients of effective interventions (e.g., required dose for therapeutic effect); include better outcome measures that can show that meaningful improvements have happened (e.g., spontaneous social initiations; sustained interactions); and include underserved and underrepresented participant groups, such as children with comorbidities, non-English speaking children, and minimally verbal children.

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Effects of a Brief Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)-Based Parent Intervention on Toddlers at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published October 1, 2012 in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Contrary to their hypothesis, Sally Rogers and colleagues found that toddlers with ASD in a brief, parent-delivered ESDM program did not make greater gains or show reduced core ASD symptoms compared to autistic toddlers in a community ESDM program. Study strongly suggests number of intervention hours and younger age at initiation are key to maximizing intervention benefits, even for 1 and 2 year olds. Authors say, the wait and see approach to early ASD must be replaced by an act now mentality.

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Experimental Drug may Treat Social Withdrawal Symptoms in Individuals with Fragile X Syndrome, the Most Common Known Genetic Cause of Autism.

Published September 19, 2012 in Science Translational Medicine

Arbaclofen, also known as STX209, shows promise in its treatment of social symptoms associated with fragile x syndrome.

Effects of STX209 (Arbaclofen) on Neurobehavioral Function in Children and Adults with Fragile X Syndrome: A Randomized, Controlled, Phase 2 Trial

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The Emerging Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published September 14, 2012 in Science

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous group of syndromes defined by fundamental impairments in social reciprocity and language development accompanied by highly restrictive interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Recent advances in genetics, genomics, developmental neurobiology, systems biology, monogenic neurodevelopment syndromes, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are now offering remarkable insights into their etiologies and converging to provide a clear and immediate path forward from the bench to the bedside.

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Arboclofen Has Potential to Improve Social Function and Behavior in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome

Published September 9, 2012 in Science Translational Medicine

Research on animal models suggests that STX209 (arboclofen) might improve neurobehavioral function in patients affected with Fragile X Syndrome.

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Dietary Supplement may Treat Rare Form of Autism

Published September 6, 2012 in Science

Researchers have uncovered a rare, genetic form of autism caused by mutations that speed up the breakdown of certain amino acids.

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Junk DNA Holds Clues to Cancer, Autism

Published September 6, 2012 in Scientific American

With the latest annotation of the human genome, researchers have made new discoveries about common diseases

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All Out Assault on Autism

Published September 1, 2012 in US News & World Report

Read a comprehensive report on the latest in autism treatments and research. ASF president Alison Singer is quoted. Read the full article –

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Early Behavioral Intervention is Associated with Normalized Brain Activity in Young Children with Autism

Published August 31, 2012 in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

This randomized trial associated ESDM with normalized brain activity and behavioral improvements in young children with ASD.

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Evidence weak that vocational programs help autistic young adults

Published August 27, 2012 in Pediatrics

A new study from Vanderbilt and published in Pediatrics finds there’s little science to backup the efficacy of current methods used to help young adults with these neurodevelopmental disorders segue into the workforce.

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Autism Stem-Cell Therapy to Be Tested in Children in Trials

Published August 21, 2012 in Bloomberg

Sutter Neuroscience Institute and CBR (Cord Blood Registry) are launching the first FDA-approved clinical trial to assess the use of a child’s own cord blood stem cells to treat select patients with autism.

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Oxytocin-Looking Beyond the Love Drug

Published August 10, 2012 in Wall Street Journal

Important work from ASF SAB Member Kevin Pelphrey of the Yale Child Study Center.

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Pets May Help Kids With Autism

Published August 1, 2012 in

Researchers in France found that children with autism who became pet owners after the age of 5 performed better than children without pets on two key measures of social functioning — offering comfort and offering to share. Having a pet from birth did not appear to influence the socialization behaviors, leading the researchers to conclude that the arrival of a pet when a child is old enough to recognize the addition may be critical.

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Antioxidants For Autism

Published June 1, 2012 in Biological Psychiatry

A specific antioxidant supplement containing N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC may be an effective therapy for some features of autism, according to a pilot trial from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital that involved 31 children with the disorder.

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Special Report: New Drugs, Fresh Hope for Autism Patients

Published May 31, 2012 in Reuters

Researchers are conducting advanced trials of the first drugs expressly designed to correct the genetically induced signaling problems in the brain that result in autism. The early indications are positive enough to offer new hope for families and spark interest from drug companies.

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New Clinical Study Evaluates First Drug to Show Improvement in Subtype of Autism

Published April 26, 2012 in EurekAlert

In an important test of one of the first drugs to target core symptoms of autism, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine are undertaking a pilot clinical trial to evaluate insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in children who have SHANK3 deficiency (also known as 22q13 Deletion Syndrome or Phelan-McDermid Syndrome), a known cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

New clinical study evaluates first drug to show improvement in subtype of autism

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Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

Published April 26, 2012 in NIMH

National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An experimental compound, called GRN-529, increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors, the researchers say.

Agent Reduces Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

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Evidence behind autism drugs may be biased: study

Published April 24, 2012 in Reuters

Doctors’ belief that certain antidepressants can help to treat repetitive behaviors in kids with autism may be based on incomplete information, according to a new review of published and unpublished research.

Evidence behind autism drugs may be biased: study

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Autism science is moving ‘stunningly fast’

Published April 10, 2012 in USA Today

Researchers today also say they’re beginning to make progress, perhaps for the first time, in understanding the autistic brain.

Autism science is moving 'stunningly fast'

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IACC Releases Its 2011 Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

Published April 2, 2012 in IACC

On April 2, in honor of the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day and HHS Autism Awareness Month the IACC has released its annual list of scientific advances that represent significant progress in the field.

IACC Releases Its 2011 Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

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Clinical trials of new treatments for Fragile X are accepting participants

Published March 22, 2012 in FRAXA Research Foundation

Experimental new drugs, AFQ056 (an mGluR5 antagonist from Novartis) and STX209 (arbaclofen from Seaside Therapeutics) are in large scale trials.

Clinical trials of new treatments for Fragile X are accepting participants

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Understanding Why Autistic People May Reject Social Touch

Published March 20, 2012 in Time Magazine

Now, a new study offers insight into why some people shrug off physical touches and how families affected by autism may learn to share hugs without overwhelming an autistic childs senses.

Understanding Why Autistic People May Reject Social Touch

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Bone-marrow Transplant Reverses Rett Syndrome in Mice

Published March 17, 2012 in Nature Magazine

A bone-marrow transplant can treat a mouse version of Rett syndrome, a severe autism spectrum disorder that affects roughly 1 in 10,00020,000 girls born worldwide (boys with the disease typically die within a few weeks of birth).

Bone-marrow transplant reverses Rett syndrome in mice

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Young Adults With Asperger Syndrome Frequently Suffer From Depression

Published March 7, 2012 in Medical News Today

Given that almost 70% of young adults with Asperger syndrome have suffered from depression, it is vital that psychiatric care staff are aware of this so that patients are given the right treatment, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Young Adults With Asperger Syndrome Frequently Suffer From Depression

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Training Parents Is Good Medicine for Children With Autism Behavior Problems, Study Suggests

Published February 24, 2012 in Science Daily

Children with autism spectrum disorders who also have serious behavioral problems responded better to medication combined with training for their parents than to treatment with medication alone, Yale researchers and their colleagues report in the February issue of Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Training Parents Is Good Medicine for Children With Autism Behavior Problems, Study Suggests

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New Research Might Help Explain How a Gene Mutation Found in some Autistic Individuals Leads to Difficulties in Processing Auditory Cues and Paying Spatial Attention to Sound.

Published February 2, 2012 in Science Daily

New research from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) might help explain how a gene mutation found in some autistic individuals leads to difficulties in processing auditory cues and paying spatial attention to sound.

New research might help explain how a gene mutation found in some autistic individuals leads to difficulties in processing auditory cues and paying spatial attention to sound.

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New Report Examines Autism Needs for Patients and Families in Pennsylvania

Published January 28, 2012 in Health News

Results were released yesterday from the Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment, which includes feedback from 3,500 Pennsylvania caregivers and adults with autism, making it the largest study of its kind in the nation.

New Report Examines Autism Needs for Patients and Families in Pennsylvania

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Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: Finding May Have Implications for Rett Syndrome, Other Neurological Disorders

Published January 27, 2012 in Science Daily

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that a molecule critical to the development and plasticity of nerve cells — brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) — is severely lacking in brainstem neurons in mutations leading to Rett syndrome, a neurological developmental disorder.

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: Finding May Have Implications for Rett Syndrome, Other Neurological Disorders

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Concern Over Changes to Autism Criteria Unfounded, Says APA

Published January 25, 2012 in Medscape Today

Concerns that proposed changes to autism criteria in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) will exclude many individuals from diagnosis and treatment are unfounded, says the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Concern Over Changes to Autism Criteria Unfounded, Says APA

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

Published January 11, 2012 in Medical News Today

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.

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

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Study Finds Melatonin Eases Sleep Woes In Children With Autism

Published January 10, 2012 in MedicalXpress

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.

Study Finds Melatonin Eases Sleep Woes In Children With Autism

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Exploring the Social Impact of Being a Typical Peer Model for Included Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published January 4, 2012 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Peer-mediated treatments are considered best practice in improving social skills in children with ASD, but parents and school staff have voiced concerns about the social outcomes of typically developing students who serve as models for their autistic peers. This study addresses these concerns, showing that typically developing children maintain stable and positive social status after acting as peer buddies in a social skills intervention for children with ASD.

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

Published January 1, 2012 in New York Times

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.

LETTERS: Care of the Disabled in State-Run Group Homes

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Seizure Damage Reversed In Rats By Inhibitory Drug Targeting Neurologic Pathways

Published December 19, 2011 in Medical News Today

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.

Seizure Damage Reversed In Rats By Inhibitory Drug Targeting Neurologic Pathways

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Families cling to hope of autism ‘recovery’

Published December 15, 2011 in LA Times

An autism treatment called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has wide support and has grown into a profitable business. It has its limits, though, and there are gaps in the science.

Families cling to hope of autism 'recovery'

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New MIT center to fund autism research

Published December 15, 2011 in The Boston Globe

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.

New MIT center to fund autism research

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

Published December 5, 2011 in MedicalXpress

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.

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

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Structure of language pathways differs in non-verbal autism

Published November 14, 2011 in SFARI

Non-verbal children with autism show structural differences in key language areas of the brain compared with controls, according to a poster presented Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

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Study In Fruit Flies Has Implications For Autism, Other Cognitive Impairment Syndromes

Published November 1, 2011 in Medical News Today

Loss of FMR1 function is the most common genetic cause of autism. Understanding how this gene works is vital to finding new treatments to help Fragile X patients and others…

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Institute For Basic Research in New York seeking adults with Fragile X for New Clinical Trial

Published October 17, 2011 in October 17, 2011

The Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island is seeking adult participants for a new Fragile X treatment trial. This is a large scale trial of AFQ056 from Novartis for people aged 18-45 who have Fragile X. AFQ056 is an mGluR5 antagonist. The current study is just for adults but the next step is to extend the trial to ages 12-17. After completing the 20 week trial, participants will be offered the option of taking this medication free of charge until it comes to market.

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Illinois medical board files complaint against star autism doctor

Published October 14, 2011 in Chicago Tribune

Dr. Anjum Usman, of Naperville, has been a star in the world of alternative treatments for autism for years, but now she’s facing professional discipline for her approach to the frustrating disorder.According to the complaint, which was filed Wednesday, Usman “made statements to (the boy’s) mother that the prescribed treatments had positive clinical benefits for children with autism, despite the lack of empirical research.”,0,1175161.story

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Philadelphia becomes hotbed of autism research

Published October 9, 2011 in Philadelphia Inquirer

Five years ago, Philadelphia was not on the map when it came to researching one of the most mysterious and expensive childhood medical conditions of our time. Now it is among the top cities in the nation, with expertise in nearly all the key fields – genetics, environmental exposure, brain imaging, behavioral interventions – that are critical for finding causes and developing treatments. Most of the local talent is at the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital, which in less than four years has grown into a powerhouse with more than 100 researchers and staff running two dozen studies.

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‘Autistic’ mice created and treated

Published October 3, 2011 in New Scientist

A new strain of mice engineered to lack a gene with links to autism displays many of the hallmarks of the condition. It also responds to a drug in the same way as people with autism, which might open the way to new therapies for such people.

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Children With Autism Benefit from Early, Intensive Therapy

Published September 28, 2011 in Science Daily

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.

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Animal Model Research Could Lead To The Development Of Diagnostic Tests For Autism Based On Biomarkers

Published September 14, 2011 in Medical News Today

The first transgenic mouse model of a rare and severe type of autism called Timothy Syndrome is improving the scientific understanding of autism spectrum disorder in general and may help researchers design more targeted interventions and treatments.

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US researchers’ discovery promises answers on autism

Published September 8, 2011 in The Australian

Researchers have for the first time identified two biologically different strains of autism in a major breakthrough being compared with the discovery of different forms of cancer in the 1960s. The findings, to be announced at an international autism conference in Perth today, are seen as a key step towards understanding the causes of autism and developing effective treatments as well as a cure. The findings bring hope that the communication, socialization and other difficulties that autistic children experience can be tackled more easily and earlier.

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Aging in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Mini-Review

Published August 24, 2011 in Gerontology

This article addresses an important and barely researched topic: what happens to children with autism spectrum disorders when they grow old.

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Social Bonding in Prairie Voles Helps Guide Search for Autism Treatments

Published April 28, 2011 in Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center

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.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder Linked to Genetic Synaptic Behaviors

Published April 21, 2011 in Medical News Today

It seems that the place where your brain transfers electricity between synapses and how your genes determine how these processes function, are tied to autism in one way or another. There can be genetically driven disturbances in this process that lead to varying levels of autism according to a new study of DNA from approximately 1,000 autistic children and their kin.

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Treatment-resistant epilepsy common in idiopathic autism

Published April 19, 2011 in Eurek Alert

A new study found that treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) is common in idiopathic autism. Early age at the onset of seizures and delayed global development were associated with a higher frequency of resistance to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Full findings appear online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

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Research: Autism Treatments Fall Short

Published April 4, 2011 in USA Today

A new set of analyses offers sobering news in the long search for effective treatments for autism. Researchers concluded that medications are of little help to most autistic children. Although intensive behavioral therapies can be effective, they don’t work for everyone, and doctors don’t have a way to predict which children will benefit, according to three reviews in today’s Pediatrics.

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Treatments Show Promise in Reducing Autism-related Behaviors, but Some have Significant Side Effects

Published April 4, 2011 in Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality

Some medical and behavioral treatments show promise for reducing certain behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but more research is needed to assess the potential benefits and harms, according to a new report funded by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The research results were published online in the journal Pediatrics.

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

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics, McPheeters et al.

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 […]

American Academy of Pediatrics

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A Systematic Review of Early Intensive Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics

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 […]

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A Systematic Review of Secretin for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics

Krishnaswami et al. Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that secretin, a medical treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) that was popularized in the 1990s, is ineffective in the treatment of ASDs. Evidence from seven randomized controlled trials suggests that secretin does not effectively treat the symptoms of ASDs, which include language and communication impairment, symptom […]

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Catching Autism Symptoms Early to Enable Effective Preventative Interventions Through Play

Published March 23, 2011 in Medical News Today

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.

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Virtual Conversation Simulator Found Beneficial for Adults with Autism

Published March 20, 2011 in Science Daily

Simulated interactions in which adults with autism converse with a virtual partner may help them develop better social interaction skills, according to a novel study presented in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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

Published March 18, 2011 in Medical News Today

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.

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Face Recognition Technology Could Aid Autism Therapy, Recognize A Child In Pain

Published March 7, 2011 in Medical News Today

Research in computer graphics and computer vision tries to make using computers easier. We can find a more comfortable, intuitive and intelligent way to use the computer that feels like you’re talking to a friend. This could also help disabled people use computers the way everyone else does.

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Interactive Game Helps Autistic Children Recognize Emotions

Published March 3, 2011 in Medical News Today

Children with autism spectrum disorders are better able to recognize faces, facial expressions and emotions with the help of an interactive computer program called FaceSay, according to newly published research from psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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

Published March 1, 2011 in Journal of the American Dental Association, Hernandez et al.

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 […]

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Serotonin Plays Role in Many Autism Cases, Studies Confirm

Published February 24, 2011 in Science Daily

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.

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Virtual Desktop Program Helps Connect The Autism Spectrum

Published February 13, 2011 in Medical News Today

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.

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Relatively Few Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders Receive Assistance After High School

Published February 7, 2011 in Science Daily

Use of medical, mental health and case management services for young adults with an autism spectrum disorder appears to decline after high school, according to a report.

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Post-High School Service Use Among Young Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published February 1, 2011 in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Shattuck et al.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey to determine the rates of service use among young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) during their first few years after high school. Rates of service ranged from 9.1% for speech therapy to 41.9% for case management. 39.1% of youths with an ASD represented by the survey received no services. […]

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Study Shows Promise For New Drug To Treat Fragile X

Published January 8, 2011 in Science Daily

The first drug to treat the underlying disorder instead of the symptoms of Fragile X, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, shows some promise.

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U-M Researchers Discover Way to Block Neurodegeneration in an Adult Form of Fragile X Syndrome

Published December 14, 2010 in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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

Published December 13, 2010 in Medical News Today

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.

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Toddlers With Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention

Published December 9, 2010 in Science Daily

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.

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Autism Treatment: Researchers Identify Possible Treatment for Impaired Sociability

Published December 8, 2010 in Science Daily

Eastern Virginia Medical School researchers have identified a potential novel treatment strategy for the social impairment of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), an aspect of the condition that has a profound impact on quality of life.

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New Approach Finds Success In Teaching Youth With Autism

Published November 22, 2010 in Medical News Today

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 […]

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Modeling Autism in a Dish

Published November 12, 2010 in Medical News Today

A collaborative effort between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, successfully used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients with Rett syndrome to replicate autism in the lab and study the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.

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Testing Autism Drugs in Human Brain Cells

Published November 12, 2010 in MIT Technology Review

A team from the University of California, San Diego, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies devised a way to study brain cells from patients with autism, and found a way reverse cellular abnormalities in neurons that have been associated with autism, specifically Rett Syndrome.

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A Model for Neural Development and Treatment of Rett Syndrome Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Published November 1, 2010 in Cell, Marchetto et al

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases in which different combinations of genetic mutations may contribute to the phenotype. Using Rett syndrome (RTT) as an ASD genetic model, we recapitulate early stages of a human neurodevelopmental disease, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from RTT patients' fibroblasts, which essentially creates a "disease in a […]

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Neurogenetics Research Sheds Light on the Causes of Neurological Disease

Published October 21, 2010 in Science Daily

The last two decades have seen tremendous progress in understanding the genetic basis of human brain disorders. Research developments in this area have revealed fundamental insights into the genes and molecular pathways that underlie neurological and psychiatric diseases. In a new series of review articles, experts in the field discuss exciting recent advances in neurogenetics research and the potential implications for the treatment of these devastating disorders.

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Scientists One Step Closer to Diagnosing Autism with MRI

Published October 13, 2010 in Sify News

Researchers at the University of Utah (U of U) are one step closer to diagnosing autism using MRI, an advance that eventually could help health care providers identify the problem much earlier in children and lead to improved treatment and outcomes for those with the disorder.

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Preventing Life Threatening Breathing Disorder of Rett Syndrome

Published October 5, 2010 in Medical News Today

A group of researchers at the University of Bristol have sequestered the potentially fatal breath holding episodes associated with the autistic-spectrum disorder Rett syndrome. Using a unique combination of drugs, they have discovered that the area of the brain that allows breathing to persist throughout life without interruption has reduced levels of a transmitter substance called aminobutyric acid.

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Less Pain for Learning Gain

Published September 28, 2010 in Medical News Today

Now research from Northwestern University suggests a new way of training that could reduce by at least half the effort previously thought necessary to make learning gains. They suggest combining periods of practice may alone be too brief to cause learning with periods of mere exposure to perceptual stimuli.

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Discovery of Key Pathway Interaction May Lead to Therapies that Aid Brain Growth and Repair

Published September 16, 2010 in Science Daily

Researchers at the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Medical Center have discovered that the two major types of signaling pathways activated during brain cell development. This knowledge may help scientists design new ways to induce the brain to repair itself when these signals are interrupted, and indicate a need for further research to determine whether disruptions of these pathways in early brain development could lead to common neurodevelopmental disorders such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities.

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Minocycline Promising in Fragile X Syndrome

Published September 7, 2010 in Medscape Today

Parents of children with fragile X syndrome report that minocycline led to positive improvements in language, attention levels and behavior. They also report experiencing adverse side effects such as mild gastrointestinal issues and some increased irritability.

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Structural Basis for Autism Disorders

Published August 25, 2010 in Science Daily

There is still much that is unknown about autism spectrum disorders, but a University of Nevada, Reno psychologist has added to the body of knowledge that researchers around the world are compiling to try to demystify, prevent and treat the mysterious condition.

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Cambridge’s Seaside at Forefront of new approach to Fragile X

Published August 23, 2010 in The Boston Globe

The story of Matthew, a 9-year-old with Fragile X Syndrome, is one of the first patients on one of the first medications ever developed specifically to address the causes of an autism-like disorder. And at least for him it seems to be working.

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Scientists Identify New Drug Strategy Against Fragile X Syndrome

Published August 10, 2010 in Science Daily

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a potential new strategy for treating fragile X syndrome — the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. The researchers have found that a class of drugs called phosphoinositide-3 (PI3) kinase inhibitors can correct defects in the anatomy of neurons seen in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome.

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Autism: Lack of Evidence for Antidepressants, Study Concludes

Published August 7, 2010 in Science Daily

Antidepressants commonly prescribed to people with autistic spectrum disorders cannot be recommended based on current evidence, a new study by Cochrane Researchers concludes. Despite some evidence of benefits in adults diagnosed with autism, they say there is no evidence for any benefits associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in children, who may suffer serious adverse effects as a result of taking the drugs.

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FDA: Autism Therapy Illegal

Published June 23, 2010 in Los Angeles Times

A product promoted to parents of children with autism is not a harmless dietary supplement, as claimed, but a toxic unapproved drug that lacks adequate warnings about potential side effects, including hair loss and abnormalities of the pancreas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned in a letter to its maker.,0,747838.story

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Immune System Troubles Could Spark Behavior Woes

Published May 27, 2010 in Bloomberg Businessweek

In the first scientific illustration of exactly how some psychiatric illnesses might be linked to an immune system gone awry, researchers report they cured mice of an obsessive-compulsive condition known as “hair-pulling disorder” by tweaking the rodents’ immune systems.

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Mt. Sinai Identifies First Drug to Demonstrate Therapeutic Effect in a Type of Autism

Published May 20, 2010 in EurekAlert

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified a drug that improves communication between nerve cells in a mouse model of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS). Behavioral symptoms of PMS fall under the autism spectrum disorder category.

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Kids with Autism Not Helped by Parent Training Alone

Published May 20, 2010 in Web MD

Training parents to adapt communication to their child’s impairments doesn’t affect the child’s autism but does help the parent-child relationship, U.K. researchers find. The idea was that training parents to respond to their child’s specific communication needs would jump-start the child’s social development and improve the child’s general communication skills.

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Popular Autism Diet Does Not Demonstrate Behavioral Improvement

Published May 20, 2010 in Science Daily

A popular belief that specific dietary changes can improve the symptoms of children with autism was not supported by a tightly controlled University of Rochester study, which found that eliminating gluten and casein from the diets of children with autism had no impact on their behavior, sleep or bowel patterns.

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Mutation Could Point Tourette Treatment

Published May 6, 2010 in Wall Street Journal

Researchers identified a rare genetic mutation that may open a new avenue for treating Tourette syndrome in a study published Wednesday that examined a family in which the father and all eight children suffer from the neurological disorder.The family’s mutation affected a gene required to produce histamine. Pharmaceutical companies are already developing drugs for other conditions that target the brain’s histamine system. The study’s researchers are planning a clinical trial of adults with Tourette to see if those drugs would help control the motor and vocal tics that characterize the condition.

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New Research Raises Hope that Autism Effects May Be Reversible

Published April 22, 2010 in Medical News Today

A new study by researchers at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology raises hope that autism may be more easily diagnosed and that its effects may be more reversible than previously thought. Researchers have identified potentially removable chemical tags (called “methyl groups”) on specific genes of autistic individuals that led to gene silencing. They also observed these changes in cells derived from blood, opening the way to molecular screening for autism using a blood test.

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New Study Of Autism Reveals a ‘DNA tag’ Amenable To Treatment

Published April 8, 2010 in EurekAlert

A new discovery raises hope that autism may be more easily diagnosed and that its effects may be more reversible than previously thought. In a new study appearing online in The FASEB Journal, scientists have identified a way to detect the disorder using blood and have discovered that drugs which affect the methylation state (“DNA tagging”) of genes could reverse autism’s effects. This type of drug is already being used in some cancer treatments.

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Intensive Treatment Found To Be Highly Effective

Published April 6, 2010 in Newswise

Results of a randomized clinical trial found an innovative multi-component summer social development program to be effective in improving the social performance of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.

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Moderators, Mediators,and Other Predictors of Risperidone Response in Children with Autistic Disorder and Irritability

Published April 1, 2010 in Journal of Childhood and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Arnold et al

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network found an effect size of d = 1.2 in favor of risperidone on the main outcome measure in an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for irritability in autistic disorder. This paper explores moderators and mediators of this effect. This study found […]

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Reading Remediation Seems to Rewire the Brain

Published February 26, 2010 in US News & World Report

Scientists studying the anatomy of children’s brains during reading discovered something rather unexpected: Remedial training for poor readers results in a growth of white matter tracts in the brain, and the increase correlates with the level of improvement in sounding out words.

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Autism and Schizophrenia: Research Builds on Genetic Link

Published February 24, 2010 in Medical News Today

A genetic link between schizophrenia and autism is enabling researchers to study the effectiveness of drugs used to treat both illnesses. Dr. Steve Clapcote from the University of Leeds’s Faculty of Biological Sciences will be analyzing behavior displayed by mice with a genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia and autism and seeing how antipsychotic drugs affect their behavioral abnormalities.

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Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Reseachers Find

Published February 24, 2010 in Science Daily

When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans

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Music Training Enhances Brainstem Activity to Speech Sounds

Published February 22, 2010 in Science Daily

At a Feb. 20 press briefing held during the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, a Northwestern University neuroscientist argued that music training has profound effects that shape the sensory system and should be a mainstay of K-12 education. Kraus presented her own research and the research of other neuroscientists suggesting music education can be an effective strategy in helping typically developing children as well as children with developmental dyslexia or autism more accurately encode speech.

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Oxytocin Improves Social Behavior of Patients, French Study Finds

Published February 17, 2010 in Science Daily

Autism is a disease characterized by difficulties in communicating effectively with other people and developing social relationships. A team led by Angela Sirigu at the Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive (CNRS) has shown that the inhalation of oxytocin, a hormone known to promote mother-infant bonds and social relationships, significantly improved the abilities of autistic patients to interact with other individuals.

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Time to Regroup on Autism

Published February 3, 2010 in

Alison Singer says link between autism, vaccinations debunked but research progressing. But, she says, new science is overshadowed as some cling to discredited study. Some parents put kids in danger by still avoiding vaccines, trying dicey “therapies”. New research should move forward with science as a guide.

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OSR#1: Industrial Chemical or Autism Treatment?

Published January 17, 2010 in Chicago Tribune

An industrial chemical developed to help separate heavy metals from polluted soil and mining drainage is being sold as a dietary supplement by a luminary in the world of alternative autism treatments. Called OSR#1, the supplement is described on its Web site as an antioxidant not meant to treat any disease. But the site lists pharmacies and doctors who sell it to parents of children with autism, and the compound has been promoted to parents on popular autism Web sites. A search of medical journals unearthed no papers published about OSR#1, though the compound’s industrial uses have been explored in publications such as the Journal of Hazardous Materials.,0,3036818,full.story

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Cartoon Trains Teach Autistic Children About Emotions

Published January 7, 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald

Putting a human face on a cartoon train, bus or tram proved to help children with autism understand emotions. The head of the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre, Simon Baron-Cohen, conducted a study using a series of 15 animated stories called The Transporters. Each episode focused on a different emotion – from simple ones such as happy, sad and angry to more complex emotions such as sorry, ashamed, tired and joking. The findings showed children with autism spectrum conditions had improved emotion recognition after watching the 3D program for 15 minutes a day over a month.

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Randomized, Controlled, Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers with Autism: The Early Start Denver Model

Published January 1, 2010 in Pediatrics, Dawson, Rogers, Munson, Smith, Winter, Greeson, Donaldson, and Varley

The first randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate the efficacy of a comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention for toddlers with ASD for improving cognitive and adaptive behavior and reducing severity of ASD diagnosis. Results of this study underscore the importance of early detection of and intervention in autism.

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Are Celebrities Crossing the Line on Medical Advice?

Published December 22, 2009 in USA Today

Doctors say they can understand why patients sympathize with celebrities and closely follow their battles with serious illnesses. It helps to know that health problems can even affect celebrities. Yet celebrities who can command huge audiences and sell thousands of books have a special responsibility to get their facts right, says Bradford Hesse, who studies health communication at the National Cancer Institute. Many doctors say they’re troubled by stars who cross the line from sharing their stories to championing questionable or even dangerous medical advice.

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Behavioral Training Improves Connectivity and Function in the Brain

Published December 9, 2009 in National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Children with poor reading skills who underwent an intensive, six-month training program to improve their reading ability showed increased connectivity in a particular brain region, in addition to making significant gains in reading, according to a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Early Intervention for Toddlers With Autism Highly Effective, Study Finds

Published November 30, 2009 in Science Daily

A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism — some as young as 18 months — is effective for improving IQ, language ability and social interaction, a comprehensive new study has found.

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Autism Treatment: Success Stories More Persuasive To Some than Hard Data

Published November 22, 2009 in Chicago Tribune

Parents often swear their children with autism get better while they are undergoing alternative therapies. Pitches from doctors providing alternative treatments are difficult to resist, he said. But in evaluating a therapy, the challenge is determining how much, if any, of the progress can be credited to the treatment. Some parents are beginning to realize […]

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Autism Treatment: Science Hijacked to Support Alternative Therapies

Published November 22, 2009 in Chicago Tribune

Dr. Carlos Pardo, a Johns Hopkins neurologist, and his colleagues autopsied the brains of people with autism who died in accidents and found evidence of neuroinflammation. This rare look inside the autistic brain had the potential to increase understanding of the mysterious disorder. He knew it could also inspire doctors aiming to help children recover […],0,240420.story

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Autism Treatment: Risky Alternative Therapies Have Little Basis in Science

Published November 22, 2009 in Chicago Tribune

Thousands of U.S. children undergo these therapies and many more at the urging of physicians who say they can successfully treat, or "recover," children with autism, a disorder most physicians and scientists say they cannot yet explain or cure. But after reviewing thousands of pages of court documents and scientific studies and interviewing top researchers […],0,1396079.story

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An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All

Published October 19, 2009 in Wired Magazine

Paul Offit, award-winning 58-year-old scientist, is hated for his opinion on vaccination. He boldly states in speeches, in journal articles, and in his 2008 book Autisms False Prophets that vaccines do not cause autism or autoimmune disease or any of the other chronic conditions that have been blamed on them. He supports this assertion with meticulous evidence. And he calls to account those who promote bogus treatments for autism treatments that he says not only dont work but often cause harm.

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Experts Summarize the State of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published October 14, 2009 in Science Daily

Scientific understanding and medical treatments for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have advanced significantly over the past several years, but much remains to be done, say experts from the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who recently published a scientific review of the field.

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Utah Researchers Discover Another Genetic Link to Autism

Published October 8, 2009 in Salt Lake Tribune

An international consortium of researchers, including three from the University of Utah, has discovered yet another genetic link to autism. Studying the genes of more than 1,000 families — including 150 from Utah — who have more than one person with the disorder, the researchers found a region on chromosome 5 that is strongly associated with autism.

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Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer Speaks

Published October 7, 2009 in BlogHer

Autism Science Foundation president Alison Singer is well known in the autism community for her formative role at Autism Speaks, for her controversial participation in their Autism Every Day video, and for leaving Autism Speaks to found the Autism Science Foundation.She a role model for autism parents struggling to balance advocacy with positivity and work with family, especially those who tirelessly investigate ways to help our children lead fulfilling lives, actively respect neurodiversity, and continue to educate ourselves and others about autism perspectives and attitudes. Read on to learn about the founding and goals of the Autism Science Foundation.

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CDC Finds Higher Incidence of Autism

Published October 5, 2009 in Chicago Tribune

About 1 in 100 8-year-old children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who will be releasing details of their study later this year. The rate — significantly higher than the government’s 2007 estimate of 1 in 150.,0,5308671.story

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Op-Ed: Fight to Overcome Autism Gets Major Boost, Higher Priority

Published October 5, 2009 in HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

The federal government will provide nearly twice as much funding for autism research in the upcoming fiscal year as we had just three years ago. President Obama has made autism a focus from the first days of his presidency in hopes to counterbalance some of the new challenges Autism has created for for families, schools, and health care providers.

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Lack of Efficacy of Citalopram in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders and High Levels of Repetitive Behavior

Published June 1, 2009 in Archives of General Psychiatry, King, Hollander, Sikich, McCracken, Scahill, Bregman, Donnelly, Anagnostou, Dukes, Sullivan, Hirtz, Wagner, Louise Ritz; for the STAART Psychopharmacology Network

Citalopram (Celexa), a medication commonly prescribed to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was no more effective than a placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors, according to a multi-site clinical trial guided by lead author Bryan King, MD, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Seattle Children's Hospital and professor and vice chair of psychiatry at […]

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Researchers identify how PCBs may alter in utero, neonatal brain development

Published April 1, 2009 in PLoS-Biology, Pessah, et al

In three new studies — including one appearing in the Public Library of Science – Biology (PLoS – Biology) — UC Davis researchers provide compelling evidence of how low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) alter the way brain cells develop. The findings could explain at last — some 30 years after the toxic chemicals were […]

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Partial reversal of Rett Syndrome-like symptoms in MeCP2 mutant mice

Published February 1, 2009 in PNAS, Sur, Tropea, Giacometti, et al.

Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a severe form of X-linked mental retardation caused by mutations in the gene coding for methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2). Mice deficient in MeCP2 have a range of physiological and neurological abnormalities that mimic the human syndrome. Here we show that systemic treatment of MeCP2 mutant mice with an active peptide […]

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Can Children with Autism Recover? If so, How?

Published December 31, 2008 in Neuropsychology Review, Helt, Kelley, et al

Although Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are generally assumed to be lifelong, we review evidence that between 3% and 25% of children reportedly lose their ASD diagnosis and enter the normal range of cognitive, adaptive and social skills. Predictors of recovery include relatively high intelligence, receptive language, verbal and motor imitation, and motor development, but not […]

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Reversal of Learning Deficits in a Ts2+/- Mouse Model of Tuberous Sclerosis

Published August 31, 2008 in Nature Medicine, Ehninger, Han, et al

Tuberous sclerosis is a single-gene disorder caused by heterozygous mutations in the TSC1 (9q34) or TSC2 (16p13.3) gene and is frequently associated with mental retardation, autism and epilepsy. Even individuals with tuberous sclerosis and a normal intelligence quotient (approximately 50%) are commonly affected with specific neuropsychological problems, including long-term and working memory deficits. Here we […]

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Stereotypes and Hyperactivity in Rhesus Monkeys Exposed to IgG from Mothers of Children with Autism

Published August 31, 2008 in Brain Behavior Immunology, Martin, Ashwood, Braunschweig, Cabanlit, Van de Water, Amaral

One proposed cause of ASD is exposure of the fetal brain to maternal autoantibodies during pregnancy [Dalton, P., Deacon, R., Blamire, A., Pike, M., McKinlay, I., Stein, J., Styles, P., Vincent, A., 2003. Maternal neuronal antibodies associated with autism and a language disorder. Ann. Neurol. 53, 533-537]. To provide evidence for this hypothesis, four rhesus […]

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Fragile X: Translation in Action

Published January 31, 2008 in Neuropshcyopharmacology, Bear, Dolen et al

Fragile X is a synapsopathy–a disorder of synaptic function and plasticity. Recent studies using mouse models of the disease suggest that the critical defect is altered regulation of synaptic protein synthesis. Various strategies to restore balanced synaptic protein synthesis have been remarkably successful in correcting widely varied mutant phenotypes in mice. Insights gained by the […]

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Thimerosal Disappears but Autism Remains

Published January 8, 2008 in Archives of General Psychiatry, Fombonne

Parents of autistic children should be reassured that autism in their child did not occur through immunizations. Their autistic children, and their siblings, should be normally vaccinated, and as there is no evidence of mercury poisoning in autism, they should avoid ineffective and dangerous “treatments” such as chelation therapy for their children.

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