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

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's Face It, Study links facial features to Autism

MU study links facial features to autism | The Columbia Daily Tribune - Columbia, Missouri

A new University of Missouri study shows that children with autism have slight differences in facial characteristics — a finding that indicates the disorder develops in the womb.

Kristina Aldridge, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences in MU’s School of Medicine, worked with other researchers at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders to analyze 64 boys with autism and 41 typically developing boys ages 8 to 12.

They used a camera to capture 3-D images of each child’s head and then mapped 17 points on the faces. When Aldridge compared the two groups, she found statistically significant differences in facial features.

Children with autism have a broader upper face and wider eyes than children without the disability, researchers found. Autistic children also have a shorter middle region of the face, including the cheeks and nose, and a wider mouth.

“What’s important about studying the face in autism is that the brain and face develop in close contact,” Aldridge said.

If something in the brain is changing that will ultimately result in autism, she said, that also should be reflected in facial features.

More @ http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/oct/26/mu-study-links-facial-features-to-autism/


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Super-social gene may hold clues to autism, other disorders - TODAY Health - TODAY.com

Super-social gene may hold clues to autism, other disorders - TODAY Health - TODAY.com

If they had their way, Tristan and Tyler Waldner would be friends with everybody.

The 7-year-old twins from San Diego, Calif., have Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that makes them unusually social, so outgoing and gregarious that, to them, there's no such thing as a stranger.

At the library, on the playground, and even with surprise guests at dinner, the blond boys are charming and chatty, brimming with questions — “Where do you live? Did you drive here or fly here? Do you have kids?” — but with none of the shyness or social reserve you’d expect from typical second-graders.

“They love to meet new people,” explained the boys’ father, Fabian Waldner, 35, who has to watch them carefully in public. “We’ll be in a grocery store and they’ll just say ‘Hi’ to anybody who walks by.”

Researchers have puzzled over that extreme friendliness for decades, pondering the causes and complicated traits that go with the syndrome that affects 1 in every 10,000 people, says Ursula Bellugi, a researcher at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., who has studied the disorder for a quarter-century.

They've come to believe that Williams syndrome, which is characterized by unique genetic markers and distinct behaviors, may actually hold the secrets to understanding other better-known disorders — including autism.

More @ http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44779678/ns/today-today_health/t/super-social-gene-may-hold-clues-autism-other-disorders/#.Tqa1vWpCo8k


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hyperinsulinemia and Autism

Research proposes common link between autism, diabetes

HOUSTON -- (Oct. 19, 2011) -- A review of the genetic and biochemical abnormalities associated with autism reveals a possible link between the widely diagnosed neurological disorder and Type 2 diabetes, another medical disorder on the rise in recent decades.

"It appears that both Type 2 diabetes and autism have a common underlying mechanism -- impaired glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia," said Rice University biochemist Michael Stern, author of the opinion paper, which appears online in this month's issue of Frontiers in Cellular Endocrinology.

Hyperinsulinemia, often a precursor to insulin resistance, is a condition characterized by excess levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance is often associated with both obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

"It will be very easy for clinicians to test my hypothesis," said Stern, professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice. "They could do this by putting autistic children on low-carbohydrate diets that minimize insulin secretion and see if their symptoms improve."

More @ http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-10/ru-rpc101911.php


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