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

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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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