Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: June 2011

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lupron Revisited

Autism therapy: Dr. Mark Geier's treatment can work - Baltimore Sun

As the state of Maryland considers whether to continue its suspension of Dr. Mark Geier's medical license ("Discredited Lupron therapy for autism still has backers," June 17), I think it's critical for readers of The Sun to fully understand the remarkable impact that his therapies are having for families like mine around the country.

When our son Kit, who has autism, first started showing signs of violence more than two years ago, we were afraid that his unprovoked bursts of rage would result in disastrous consequences — to another child, or teacher at his school, or to my husband or me at home. The violence was both uncontrollable and unpredictable.

At first, doctors tried strong psychotropic drugs — a course of treatment that did little to relieve the underlying violence but transformed Kit into such a zombie that he could not hurt anyone even during the periods of rage.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Free lecture on neurofeedback

Free lecture on neurofeedback »

Frickin' Dolphins Revisited

Dolphin gives NJ boy a voice

Dolphins are not miracle workers.

But don’t tell that to Patty and David Rodriguez from Ridgefield, New Jersey.

They recently took their 12 year-old son, David, to Dolphin Cove in the Cayman Islands to participate in the Rapid Development Therapy program.

David is a special needs child with symptoms of autism and other developmental disorders. His condition has gone undiagnosed by doctors after endless MRI scans and tests, although his parents have heard the phrase “nonspecific global development delay.”

For his entire life, he has had trouble communicating verbally and nonverbally, which has led to frustration and anger for him and his parents. Quite simply, he would not speak. The only sounds that he made were cries.

He refused to drink water – he only took small sips of chocolate milk – which led to painful ulcers, indigestion, acid reflux and dehydration.

When his parents took him out in public, there was a good chance that little David would break down in a screaming tantrum.

“We have had this young boy for 12 years in a glass room, without windows and without doors,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “We have been trying desperately to get in and he has been banging on the glass, desperate to get out.”

They were at the end of their rope – hopeless, desperate. They had tried everything, from feeding therapy at St. Joseph’s Hospital to physical therapy at the Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.

“We had exhausted all the resources around us,” Patty said. “Having a sense of hope was getting tough.”

Then they found Ziggy…



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brain Synchronization Different in Autism

Study finds autistic toddlers' brains out of sync - Health -

Researchers studying autistic toddlers have discovered their brain activity appears to be out of sync at a very early stage -- a finding that sheds light on the biology of the condition and might help in earlier diagnosis.

In research published in the journal Neuron, scientists in Israel used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the brains of sleeping toddlers and found that certain types of neural activity are disrupted in autistic children, but not in typical children or in others with delayed language development.

"What we looked at is how the activity is synchronized," Ilan Dinstein of Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

"And we found that the synchronization was different -- specifically in toddlers with autism and across the hemispheres (of the brain) in areas related to language and communication."


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

STX209 (Arbaclofen, Baclofen) Autism Study

Seaside Therapeutics Initiates Phase 2b Study of STX209 in Autism Spectrum Disorders | Business Wire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seaside Therapeutics, Inc. announced today the initiation of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2b study to evaluate the effects of STX209 (arbaclofen) on social impairment in children, adolescents and adults (ages 5 to 21) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The Company announced positive results from an open-label Phase 2a study of STX209 in September of 2010.

“There are currently no FDA-approved therapeutics to treat the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, creating a vast unmet need for the millions of individuals and their families affected by this condition in the US and EU alone,” said Randall L. Carpenter, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Seaside Therapeutics. “In our open-label Phase 2a study of STX209, we observed significant improvements in social impairment—a core symptom of autism spectrum disorders—including symptoms such as preference to be alone, being withdrawn or isolated, and lack of social reactivity. We are spearheading late-stage development of a drug candidate that has the potential to change the treatment paradigm for autism spectrum disorders—addressing core symptoms—and are truly excited about the prospect of helping patients and their families achieve an improved quality of life.”

The Phase 2b study is expected to involve approximately 25 clinical sites in the United States and enroll 150 subjects. Patients will be randomized to receive STX209 or placebo. A flexible dose titration schedule will be utilized during the first 4 weeks of the treatment period to achieve the optimal titrated dose. The total duration of treatment is 12-weeks. The study is designed to measure the efficacy, safety and tolerability of STX209. The primary efficacy endpoint will evaluate social behavior. Subjects who complete the entire study may be eligible to enroll in a subsequent open-label study. Details of the study can be obtained at and at or by calling 1-877-713-9009, option 8.

About STX209:

STX209 is an oral selective gamma-amino butyric acid type B (GABA-B) receptor agonist. Pathologies observed in certain neurodevelopmental disorders, including fragile X syndrome (FXS) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), are believed to be caused by excessive activation of glutamate receptors and abnormally high ratios of excitatory to inhibitory neurotransmission in the brain. GABA-B receptors play an important role in modulating the release of glutamate and optimizing the ratio of excitatory to inhibitory neurotransmission. STX209 has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical models, suggesting that it may improve function in individuals with FXS and ASD.

With STX209, Seaside has successfully completed the largest, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial (Phase 2) in patients with FXS and an open-label Phase 2a exploratory trial in patients with ASD. A Phase 3 study in adolescents and adults (ages 12 to 25) with FXS began in May of 2011 and a Phase 2b study in children, adolescents and adults (ages 5 to 21) with ASD began in June of 2011. An additional Phase 3 study in children (ages 5 to 11) with FXS is expected to begin in early summer 2011.

About Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by three hallmark symptoms that can range from mild to disabling, including difficulties with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. Experts estimate that as many as 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, with boys being four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with the disorder. There is no cure for autism and there are currently no FDA-approved therapeutics to treat the core symptoms of ASD.

About Seaside Therapeutics:

Seaside Therapeutics, Inc. is creating novel drug treatments to correct or improve the course of fragile X syndrome, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The Company is dedicated to translating breakthrough discoveries in neurobiology into therapeutics that improve the lives of patients and their families. For more information please visit


MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Sarah Cavanaugh/Kari Watson

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rett Syndrome Cure on the Horizon? MeCP2.

Autism Jabberwocky: What if Autism Isn't a Neurodevelopmental Disorder?

Autism is typically thought of as a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is assumed that something goes wrong early in a child's development and that the brain doesn't develop properly and that the result is permanent.

But what if that wasn't the case?

According to some recent research, the symptoms of Rett Syndrome (a form of autism) might caused by the continuing lack of the protein MeCP2 rather than problems with growth and development of the brain caused by the lack of MeCP2. If that seems like splitting hairs, it really isn't. That simple distinction means that Rett's might not be a neurodevelopmental disorder after all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Autism Literature Mining

Developing a Deeper Understanding of Autism: Connecting Knowledge through Literature Mining


In the field of autism, an enormous increase in available information makes it very difficult to connect fragments of knowledge into a more coherent picture. We present a literature mining method, RaJoLink, to search for matched themes in unrelated literature that may contribute to a better understanding of complex pathological conditions, such as autism. 214 full text articles on autism, published in PubMed, served as a source of data. Using ontology construction, we identified the main concepts of what is already known about autism. Then, the RaJoLink method, based on Swanson's ABC model, was used to reveal potentially interesting, but not yet investigated, connections between different concepts in research. Among the more interesting concepts identified with RaJoLink in our study were calcineurin and NF-kappaB. Both terms can be linked to neuro-immune abnormalities in the brain of patients with autism. Further research is needed to provide stronger evidence about calcineurin and NF-kappaB involvement in autism. However, the analysis presented confirms that this method could support experts on their way towards discovering hidden relationships and towards a better understanding of the disorder.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Autism and Fevers - Why do symptoms decrease with fever?

Why Fever Helps Autism: A New Theory - TIME

Generations of parents of autistic kids have reported that when their child runs a fever, the symptoms of autism seem to abate. When the fever goes down, the symptoms return. In 2007, a paper in the journal Pediatrics reported on that phenomenon and confirmed that, yes, the parents' observations are right. What no one had done before, at least not formally, was tie it to the locus coeruleus — that is, until Drs. Dominick Purpura and Mark Mehler of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine published the idea this week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pediatric Massage for Autism?

Pediatric Massage: A Nurturing Intervention for Autism

For Clarice, incorporating nurturing touch into the life of her family was natural. Her young son, Elliot, enjoyed receiving massage on a regular basis. When he was 3 years old, Elliot developed sensory issues.

He started to refuse touch of any kind; clothing, the feel of grass, the feel of any food that he had experienced before, the feel of warm or lukewarm water. His muscle tone began decreasing and by the time he was 3 ½ years old, he had lost all of his language abilities (previously he was bilingual), refused all eye contact and was unable to stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. He would not eat or drink anything other than milk, eventually regressing to the point when he could not verbally communicate and refused to eat.

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