This week’s podcast includes a summary of the new study, this time in an animal model, looking at microbiome transplantation. Because this was more of an experimental model, the researchers could be more rigorous in their design and look at things like behavior, brain activity, and specific biological pathways. While a mouse does not have autism, transplantation of the autism microbiome resulted in autistic-like behaviors. Second, a hopeful message of the value of participating in research on outcomes – those infants that were tracked prospectively showed improved outcomes later on, suggesting that all of the extra attention they get leads to a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in adaptive behavior. Even if you do not have a family history of autism – participate in research. It’s good for your child, and it’s good for other people’s children. Listen to the podcast here.
This year’s Day of Learning included two presentations on the use of technology among people with autism. As it turns out, technology can be great. In fact, a new study using Google Glass shows promise in improving socialization. On the other hand, sometimes technology can have a downside. People with autism spend more time than typical peers on their iPads, iPhones and other devices. What could be wrong with that? Well, problematic internet use is linked to autistic traits and suicidality. This link is NOT a clear line and obviously causes of suicide are multifactorial. However, new data demonstrate that obsessive internet use is not making things better for people with ASD. Listen to the podcast here.
On this week’s podcast, studies tracking changes over time. The British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS) tracked changes in adaptive behaviors and cognitive skills in children at low-risk and high-risk of an ASD diagnosis, based on family history. The results point to the value in monitoring siblings of those with autism. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente tried to measure the prevalence of psychiatric and medical conditions in adolescents and young adults with ASD by studying its members in Northern California. Based on their results, the researchers call for all clinicians to approach ASD as a chronic health condition requiring regular follow-up and routine screening and treatment of medical and psychiatric issues.
Often overlooked in intervention studies, it is becoming increasingly clearer that adaptive behavior, the “will do” vs. the “can do” of functioning, should receive more focus. On this week’s podcast, learn about adaptive behavior and hear about highlights of studies from the National Institutes of Health and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.