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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Simplified Approach by Daniel Rossignol, MD, & Richard Frye, MD, PhD

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Simplified Approach by Daniel Rossignol, MD, & R...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Buspar for Autism? (buspirone hydrochloride,Vanspar)

Autism Therapy: Buspar (buspirone hydrochloride) | Healing Thresholds

Autism Therapy: Buspar (buspirone hydrochloride)
definition of Buspar (buspirone hydrochloride): Buspar® is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for short-term relief of more severe symptoms of anxiety. Buspirone may be prescribed off-label for people with autism to help reduce anxiety and aggression and to help improve behaviors. Buspirone has helped improve behaviors in some people with autism. This medication is currently being tested in children and adults with autism.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Response Interruption/Redirection (RIR)

Response Interruption/Redirection | autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu

OVERVIEW: Response interruption/redirection (RIR) is an evidence-based practice used to decrease interfering behaviors, predominantly those that are repetitive, stereotypical, and/or self-injurious. RIR often is implemented after a functional behavior assessment (FBA) has been conducted to identify the function of the interfering behavior. RIR is particularly useful with persistent interfering behaviors that occur in the absence of other people, in a number of different settings, and during a variety of tasks. These behaviors often are not maintained by attention or escape. Instead, they are more likely maintained by sensory reinforcement and are often resistant to intervention attempts. RIR is particularly effective with sensory-maintained behaviors because teachers/practitioners interrupt learners from engaging in interfering behaviors and redirect them to more appropriate, alternative behaviors.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gaming treatment for autism

Gaming treatment for autism used in Issaquah - KAYU

One in every 110 kids in the United States have autism, but the Lakeside Center for Autism in Issaquah is turning technology into treatment.

"It`s always a barrier for our kids with autism to connect socially and with peers especially," said Lakeside counselor Peiera Miller.

That's where the Kinect comes in. The gaming system is helping to teach basic skills most of us take for granted.

When Landon Kacatin arrived at Lakeside three years ago, he wasn't talking. "He's OK with adults, but with children that's very difficult for him; he would avoid it all the time," said his mother, Laconia Kacatin.

After just a year of playing games on the Kinect, Landon isn't just talking to other kids, he's rooting for them.

More @ http://www.myfoxspokane.com/news/kcpq-gaming-treatment-for-autism-used-in-issaquah-20111207,0,6183377.story


CM-AT Trial Targeting Core Symptoms of Autism

Autism Jabberwocky: First Drug Targeting Core Symptoms of Autism Nears?

Curemark LLC Reports Positive Phase III Results of CM-AT In Children With Autism
Wednesday, December 7th - 2011

RYE, New York, Dec. 7, 2011 – Curemark LLC, a Rye, New York-based drug research and development company, today announced that its Phase III double blind randomized placebo controlled multicenter clinical trial of CM-AT for autism met its primary and secondary endpoints. The trial compared CM-AT to placebo in children with autism aged 3 – 8. Top line results demonstrate a statistically significant effect of CM-AT over placebo on both core and non-core symptoms of autism. Analysis of the full trial data is ongoing and the results will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of our trial,” said Dr. Joan Fallon, CEO of Curemark. “We wish to thank all the children and their parents who participated in the study, and look forward to a full review of the data by the FDA.”

CM-AT has been granted Fast Track status by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The fast track programs of the Food and Drug Administration are designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of new drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Acupuncture for Autism?




Acupuncture for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

Background. There has been lack of reviews of evidence on efficacy, methodology, and/or safety of acupuncture in autism spectrum disorders. This paper examines the emerging evidence of the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of autistic children. Method. A literature review was completed via Medline and three Chinese search engines. A total of 31 studies were evaluated for acupuncture methodology, study design, treatment effects, and tolerability. Results. The acupoints used, the duration of needling, the frequency of treatment, the choice of stimulation, and the course of the treatment were highly variable amongst the studies. Behavioral and/or developmental improvements were reported in all acupuncture treatment studies. All studies reported general tolerability. Weakness of experimental designs was discussed. Conclusions. Vigorously controlled double-blinded clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children with autism spectrum disorders.


ScienceDirect - Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease : Mast cell activation and autism

ScienceDirect - Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease : Mast cell activation and autism

Research Highlights

►Allergic problems are common in autistic individuals. ►Perinatal mast cell activation may contribute to brain inflammation. ►The peptide neurotensin is increased in serum of autistic individuals.


Ecstasy (MDMA) Autism Treatment?

Can Ecstasy Treat Autism? | Drugs | AlterNet

A team of scientists at a California non-profit organization just announced a pilot study to determine if Ecstasy might help fight the effects of autism. This isn’t the first time that MAPS, or the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has researched the psychiatric benefits of MDMA. A 2010 study of twenty Iraq veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder found that a combination of Ecstasy and therapy resulted in an 80-percent success rate, high enough to convince the Food and Drug Administration to greenlight further studies of the drug.



Lexapro for Pervasive Developmental Disorders

An open-label trial of es... [J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI

OBJECTIVE:
To assess the effect of escitalopram in the treatment of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).

METHOD:
This 10-week study had a forced titration, open-label design. Twenty-eight subjects (mean age 125.1 +/- 33.5 months) with a PDD received escitalopram at a dose that increased weekly to a maximum dose of 20 mg as tolerated. The Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community Version (ABC-CV) and the Clinical Global Impression scale (CGI) were used to assess outcome.



Lexapro for Autism?

A pharmacogenetic study of escitalopram in autism... [Autism Res. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI

OBJECTIVE:
To determine the effect of serotonin transporter polymorphism promoter region (5-HTTPLR) genotypic variation (low, intermediate, and high expression groups) on response to escitalopram treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Monday, December 5, 2011

‘Sensitive Santa’ Meets Kids With Autism - ABC News

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‘Sensitive Santa’ Meets Kids With Autism - ABC News

A trip to the mall to sit on Santa’s knee is a special event for families, but the holiday hustle and bustle can be overwhelming for kids with autism. That’s why Northtown Mall in Blaine, Minn., opened its doors early Sunday morning for some low-key “sensitive Santa” time.
“A lot of children with autism aren’t able to have the experience of seeing Santa,” said Northtown’s marketing director Linda Sell, describing the typical bright lights, loud music and long line. “This is our way of helping.”
The mall dimmed the lights and lowered the music volume to make autistic children more comfortable. And instead of waiting in line, kids colored or walked around with their families.
“It’s something very small on our end but it means so much to families, ” said Sell.
An illustrated pamphlet showed families what to expect during their visit — a helpful aid for kids with autism who often rely on routines. And a form filled out by parents in advance gave Sensitive Santa the scoop on their wish lists.
“Its’ such a wonderful event,” said Sell. “It’s heartwarming to see the joy in the kids’ faces, and in the parents.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 10 children is on the autism spectrum.
The event is emotional for parents, some of whom thought they’d never see their kids on Santa’s knee.
“You have things you look forward to with your child,” mom Gena Elverhoytold ABC News affiliate KSTP with a shaky voice. “It’s different, this way, to be able to still have these experiences that you want to have.”


Afinitor for Autism?

Autism May Involve Disordered White Matter in The Brain | Medindia

BOSTON,Dec. 5, 2011/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's still unclear what's different in the brains of people withautismspectrum disorders (ASDs), but evidence from genetic and cell studies points to abnormalities in how brain cells (neurons) connect to each other. A study at Children's HospitalBostonnow provides visual evidence associating autism with a disorganized structure of brain connections, as well as defects in myelin -- the fatty, insulating coating that helps nerve fibers conduct signals and that makes up the brain's white matter.

Researchers led byMustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology,Simon Warfield, PhD, director of the Computational Radiology Laboratory, and first authorJurriaan Peters, MD, of both departments atChildren's, used advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image the brains of 40 patients (infants to age 25) with tuberous sclerosis complex and 29 age-matched,healthycontrols. Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic condition often associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits, including ASDs about 50 percent of the time.

...

Armed with thesedata, Sahin has launched a Phase II clinical trial of a rapamycin-like drug called Afinitor® (everolimus; formerly RAD001), sponsored byNovartis, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and Autism Speaks. The trial will enroll 50 patients with TSC to test whether Afinitor improves neurocognition, autism, seizures and sleep disorders. "Specifically modulating neurocognition with a small molecule is only starting to be done," says Sahin. (For more on this trend, seethis related blog post.)

Read more:Autism May Involve Disordered White Matter in The Brain | Medindiahttp://www.medindia.net/health-press-release/Autism-May-Involve-Disordered-White-Matter-in-The-Brain-123572-1.htm#ixzz1fgxcOj9a



Face Recognition Research May Aid Therapies For Prosopagnosia And Autism

Face Recognition Research May Aid Therapies For Prosopagnosia And Autism

"Face recognition is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it," says Beijing Normal University cognitive psychologist Jia Liu. But what accounts for the difference? A new study by Liu and colleagues Ruosi Wang, Jingguang Li, Huizhen Fang, and Moqian Tian provides the first experimental evidence that the inequality of abilities is rooted in the unique way in which the mind perceives faces. "Individuals who process faces more holistically" - that is, as an integrated whole - "are better at face recognition," says Liu. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science



Friday, December 2, 2011

Prozac for Autism?

Prozac May Lessen Autism Symptom in Adults

Dec. 2, 2011 -- The antidepressant Prozac appears to be useful for treating a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorder -- repetitive, compulsive behavior.

In a newly published study involving autistic adults, half of those who took Prozac (fluoxetine) experienced meaningful declines in repetitive behaviors.

More @ http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20111202/prozac-lessens-autism-symptom-adults


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trained Peers Better at Aiding Autistic Kids with Social Skills

Trained Peers Better at Aiding Autistic Kids with Social Skills | Psych Central News

A new study suggests training peers can help children with autism spectrum disorder improve their social skills, even more than a direct adult-led intervention.

Researchers led by Connie Kasari, Ph.D., discovered children with ASD who attend regular education classes are more likely to improve their social skills if their typically developing peers are taught how to interact with them.

Notably, the indirect educational method appears to improve skills better than if the ASD children are directly taught such skills. The National Institutes of Health-funded study suggests a shift away from more commonly used interventions that focus on training children with ASD directly may provide greater social benefits for children with ASD.

The study was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

More @ http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/01/trained-peers-better-at-aiding-autistic-kids-with-social-skills/32062.html


Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Opposing Brain Malfunctions Cause Two Autism-related Disorders

Two Opposing Brain Malfunctions Cause Two Autism-related Disorders


Although several disorders with autism-like symptoms, such as the rare Fragile X syndrome can be traced to a single specific mutation, the majority of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) incidents, however, are caused by several genetic mutations. MIT neuroscientist, Mark Bear, discovered a few years ago that this mutation results in an overproduction of proteins found in brain synapses.

Brain synapses are the connections between neurons that enable them to communicate with each other.

In a new study published in Nature, Bear and his team have just discovered that tuberous sclerosis is caused by the opposite malfunction, i.e. too little synthesis of those synaptic proteins. Tuberous sclerosis is another rare disorder characterized by autism and mental retardation.

Mark Bear, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and a member of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, says that although the findings may appear counterintuitive, they nevertheless apply to the theory that autism can be caused by a wide spectrum of brain-synapse glitches.


...

Tailor-made treatments



 According to Bear's discovery, not all cases of autism spectrum disorder will respond to the same kind of treatment. He says:

"This study identified one functional axis, and it will be important to know where a patient lies on this axis to devise the therapy that will be effective. "If you have a disorder of too little protein synthesis, you don't want to inhibit the neurotransmitter receptor that stimulates protein synthesis, and vice versa." More @ http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/238296.php


Hyperbaric Oxygen: Help or Hype?

Questions, risks surround hyperbaric chamber treatments for autistic children | NJ.com

Unable to watch the seizures continue to wrack their daughter’s tiny body, Ann Marie Angelucci said she and her husband were willing to try anything — and pay anything — to help their child diagnosed with autism.

On the advice of other parents, they took Carolyn to a doctor for hyperbaric oxygen treatments, which cost $90 each and required their 5-year-old to lie repeatedly in a pressurized chamber flooded with oxygen.

They also paid $15,000 to install a chamber in their Yardley, Pa., home. Six months later, with no sense the treatment was helping, the Angeluccis sold the device on eBay for about half the price they paid.

"I cannot say one way or another if it helped her. There was no measurable effect," said Angelucci, a nurse and central New Jersey native. "But I wouldn’t tell a family not to do it, because you never know. You’ll grasp at anything that might help."

Come January, the state health department will decide for the first time whether a hospital — Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus — should be allowed to offer this experimental and controversial treatment for children with autism.

Judging from the sentiments on both sides of the issue, there is a lot at stake. Traditional medical experts say hyperbaric treatment offers families false hope while draining their bank accounts because insurance doesn’t cover it. Advocates say the approach deserves more respect and attention by researchers because some families swear it has helped their children communicate and learn.

If the state licenses the hospital’s hyperbaric chambers for experimental use, the work would be overseen by Philip DeFina, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology from an accredited online university. His work with neurologist Jonathan Fellus treating coma and brain-injured patients commands $100,000 a year in out-of-pocket costs from hopeful families across the country, according to the two doctors.

Should the state give its approval, the statewide advocacy group Autism New Jersey won’t recommend it.

"There might be some anecdotes, and they are a nice start to develop a hypothesis, but they in no way substantiate claims of efficacy," said Suzanne Buchanan, clinical director for Autism New Jersey. She suggests families explore the evidence-supported applied behavioral analysis, which requires a child to break down desired actions into smaller steps that are repeated.

Buchanan also recommends "hopeful skepticism" with anything deemed experimental.

"You have to explore things that could make a positive difference," she said, "but if you are not skeptical, you could be led down the wrong path."

More @ http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/11/questions_risks_surround_hyper.html


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sign language for Autism

Sign language benefits hearing children and those with autism. | The Asbury Park Press | APP.com

More than two decades ago, Marilyn Daniels began researching the benefits of sign language — not just for deaf people, but for hearing children and babies and those with learning disabilities and autism.

Several books and many seminars and classes for parents and educators later, the studies by Daniels and others have proven true. Today, ASL (American Sign Language) is taught in colleges, universities, preschool and elementary schools and is the third most used language in the United States.

“It's more popular than ever,” partly because learning the manual language creates anatomical changes in the brain, Daniels told a group of parents and teachers during an October presentation called “Sign to Speak” at the Spring Lake Library.

Introducing a new language promotes the growth of synapses that connect to memory, she said. “We have separate stores for each language in the brain's left hemisphere (in right-handed people). We know this from observing PET (positron emission tomography) scans.”

Teaching sign language, which is visual, manual and spacial, along with the spoken word to a hearing child, multiplies their sensory memories. Another memory, the kinesthetic or muscle memory, also kicks in, she said.

“Your hand remembers how to do it,” Daniels said. “So if you know the sign for a word, all kinds of other things are going on.”

And all of it good, she said. “There is no downside to this.”

Erica Lozinski, a special-education teacher at Wall Primary School, agrees. She said she signs to her students, whose disabilities range from speech delays and autism to cognitive disabilities and Down syndrome.

More @@ http://www.app.com/article/20111122/NJLIFE04/311220005/Sign-language-benefits-hearing-children-those-autism


Monday, November 21, 2011

Auditory-Motor Mapping Training (AMMT) for Autism

Unmute A Child | www.dailyrx.com

A new study published in PLoS One, worked with six non-verbal autistic children. The students received forty individual sessions, five times a week over an eight-week treatment period involving Auditory-Motor Mapping Training (AMMT). This treatment promotes speech production using intonations and double-handed movements to train the association between sound and communicative action. This involves singing and playing an instrument as the trainer tunes words to the beat of the drum.

AMMT understands the limitations of autism and offers its children a fun way to learn, capitalizing on an autistic child's natural inclination for music. With up to 25% of children with autism struggling to speak, communication deficits represent the largest problem for people with autism, and AMMT offers a realistic solution.

More @ http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/autism-treatment-helps-nonverbal-children-speak%C2%A0-16070.html


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Autism « The Arc of Montgomery, Berks, and Bucks Counties

Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Autism « The Arc of Montgomery, Berks, and Bucks Counties

People with autism can benefit from occupational therapy, both at home and at school. Autism is a complex developmental disorder. A person who has autism often has trouble communicating and interacting with other people. The person’s interests, activities, and play skills may be very limited.

What’s the role of occupational therapy (OT) in treating autism?

Occupational therapists study human growth and development. They are experts in social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury. This knowledge helps them promote skills for independent living in people with autism.

Occupational therapists work as part of a team that includes parents, teachers, and other professionals. They help set specific goals for the person with autism. These goals often involve social interaction, behavior, and classroom performance.

Occupational therapists can help in two main ways: with evaluation and therapy.

Mopre @ http://blogsnap.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/benefits-of-occupational-therapy-for-autism/


Thursday, November 17, 2011

MnemeTherapy for Autism

Local artist uses whole brain therapy to help people | ABC Newspapers

MnemeTherapy™ is a whole-brain therapy helping people with such disorders as autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other brain disorders. The therapy has been shown to improve recovery in stroke patients. And it has been used successfully on individuals with attention deficit disorder and Down syndrome, according to Homan.

Named after the Greek goddess of memory and mother of the nine sister Muses, MnemeTherapy™ stimulates changes in the brain and can help to reconnect brain pathways.

The therapy, which has been successfully used since the year 2000, is not a cure. The idea is to improve the quality of a client’s life, to provide a rewarding experience.

“The willingness to try is the only criteria,” Homan says.

A session involves singing with the client, playing cognitive memory games using movement, engaging in casual conversation and painting – together. It is heaped with loads of encouragement and praise, and a bit of human touch.

More @ http://abcnewspapers.com/2011/11/16/local-artist-uses-whole-brain-therapy-to-help-people/


Donepezil for Autism?

Role of Donepezil in Autism: Its Conduciveness in Psychopharmacotherapy

Abstract

A woman consulted psychiatric Out-Patient Department (OPD) for her 5-year and 2-month-old son presenting with typical autistic symptoms like social, behavioural, and communicational ineptitudeness. Subsequent treatment with Donepezil resulted in marked improvement in the aforementioned symptomatology. Recent studies in autistic child have shown diminished acetylcholine and nicotinic receptor activity, thus an acetylcholinergic enhancer, Donepezil, likely accounts for improvement in autistic symptoms. Evidently, the case report consolidates Donepezil role as a potentially useful agent in the treatment of cognitive and behavioural symptoms observed in this disorder.

More @ http://www.hindawi.com/crim/psychiatry/2011/563204/


Friday, November 4, 2011

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