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Parent-Led Autism Therapy Shows Lasting Benefits

Posted 26 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26, 2016 – A therapy that focuses on parents' communication skills may have lasting benefits for young children with autism, a new clinical trial suggests. Researchers from the United Kingdom found that preschool children who took part in the program had less-severe autism symptoms six years later, compared to kids who received standard autism services available in their local community. The study is the first to show such lasting benefits from an early childhood program for autism. Experts not involved in the work were encouraged by the findings. That's, in part, because the program is considered "low intensity." Parents had 18 sessions with a therapist over one year, and then took charge from there. "This study is important in demonstrating that parent-delivered therapy can be used effectively in low-resource communities where there are few trained professionals," ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome

Obesity More Common Among Teens With Autism: Study

Posted 17 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 17, 2016 – Teens with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be more likely to be obese and stay obese throughout their teen years compared to other teenagers, a new study suggests. The researchers noted that childhood obesity could have long-term health consequences for those with ASDs. They said more study is needed to understand age-related changes that could help prevent and treat obesity among teens with the disorder. "Children with developmental disabilities face unique challenges and are not always served by health interventions aimed at those without disorders such as ASD," said study author Aviva Must. Must is chair of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. "The complexity of their medical needs is both why particular attention should be paid to their circumstances and why it is difficult to do so," Must said in a ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Autism, Asperger Syndrome

Homeless, Mentally Ill Youth Benefit From Housing Program

Posted 28 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 – A subsidized independent-living intervention appears to help homeless young people with mental illness get and keep a roof over their heads, a new Canadian study indicates. Called Housing First, the program has previously been tested with homeless adults with mental illness, and has been found to improve housing stability and quality of life, the researchers said. "Housing First is based on the concept of housing as a human right," said study lead author Dr. Nicole Kozloff. "[It's] the idea that having a safe and stable place to live is critical to helping people improve their mental health and achieve their goals," she said. Kozloff is a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Since it first was first introduced in the 1990s, studies have repeatedly found ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Panic Disorder, Anxiety and Stress, Major Depressive Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Schizophrenia, Mania, Paranoid Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Agitation, Autism, Psychosis, Psychiatric Disorders, Asperger Syndrome, Drug Psychosis

Autism-Linked Genes Often Differ Between Siblings

Posted 25 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 25, 2016 – In families that have more than one child with autism, the gene variations underlying each child's disorder often differ, new research shows. Researchers have long known that autism is a complex disorder. Experts have suspected that the development of autism involves both genetic susceptibility and environmental exposures that aren't yet fully understood. Now the new study suggests the genetic component is even more complicated than previously thought. "The genetic risk for autism is extremely complex," said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Geschwind. He is a professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. "Even in 'multiplex' families [where more than one child has autism], it's not as obvious as thought," he said. In general, experts believe that certain circumstances need to be in place for children to ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Prematurity/Underweight in Infancy

Diabetes Drug May Help Kids With Autism Fight Unwanted Pounds

Posted 24 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24, 2016 – The diabetes drug metformin may help overweight children and teens with autism slim down, a new study suggests. The study included 60 people with autism, aged 6 to 17. The patients were overweight due to the side effects of taking antipsychotic medications for irritability and agitation. For the study, participants were given either metformin or an inactive placebo for 16 weeks. Those given metformin had much greater reductions in body mass index (BMI) than those who took the placebo, the findings showed. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height. "Our results showed that [gastrointestinal] side effects occurred for more days in the metformin group compared to placebo group, but the large majority of children taking metformin were able to maintain their treatment. Importantly, the metformin didn't cause behavioral changes, such as increased ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Metformin, Weight Loss, Glucophage, Autism, Janumet, Asperger Syndrome, Glucophage XR, ActoPlus Met, Glumetza, Janumet XR, Glyburide/Metformin, Jentadueto, Avandamet, Glucovance, Metformin/Pioglitazone, Fortamet, Riomet, Kombiglyze XR, Xigduo XR

Banned PCB Chemicals Still Tied to Autism in U.S. Kids

Posted 23 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 – Children exposed to relatively high levels of PCBs in the womb may have an increased risk of developing autism, a new study suggests. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are man-made chemicals once used in a wide range of products, from electrical appliances to fluorescent lighting. Use of these chemicals was banned in the 1970s because of concerns about their health effects. But since they do not easily break down, PCBs still linger in the environment – and in people. In the new study, researchers found that when pregnant women had relatively high levels of certain PCBs in their blood, their children were about 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism versus other kids. Those children also had a roughly twofold higher risk of intellectual disabilities unrelated to autism, the researchers said. The findings don't prove that PCBs directly raise those ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Toxic Reactions Incl Drug and Substance Abuse

Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Treatment

Posted 5 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2016 – Children diagnosed with autism before age 4 are more likely to get behavioral therapy and less likely to be treated with drugs than those diagnosed later on, a new study says. There is strong evidence that behavioral therapy directed at core symptoms such as poor social skills and inflexible behaviors is an effective treatment. And, such therapy may offer long-term benefits for patients' functioning, according to an American Psychiatric Association news release about the study. Other treatments – including medications such as antidepressants, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs and complementary and alternative therapies such as nutritional supplements – are not as strongly supported by research, the study authors said. The researchers, led by Dr. Katharine Zuckerman, a pediatrician at Oregon Health & Science University, looked at data on 722 ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome

Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study

Posted 2 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 1, 2016 – A simple hearing test may help identify young children at risk for autism before they're old enough to speak, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., say they've identified an inner-ear problem in children with autism that may impair their ability to recognize speech. "This study identifies a simple, safe and noninvasive method to screen young children for hearing deficits that are associated with autism," said study co-author Anne Luebke, an associate professor in the departments of biomedical engineering and neuroscience. "This technique may provide clinicians a new window into the disorder and enable us to intervene earlier and help achieve optimal outcomes," she said in a university news release. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by impaired social-communication skills and restricted and repetitive ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

Fido a Friend to Parents of Kids With Autism

Posted 31 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, July 31, 2016 – Raising a child with autism can be fraught with stressful days, but new research suggests the family pooch might bring parents some relief. For more than two years, British researchers followed families of children with autism that got a dog. "We found a significant, positive relationship between parenting stress of the child's main caregiver and their attachment to the family dog," said study leader Daniel Mills, a professor of veterinary behavioral medicine at the University of Lincoln. "This highlights the importance of the bond between the caregiver and their dog in the benefits they gain. "Stress associated with parenting a child with autism continued to decrease among dog owners over time, but we did not see the same reductions in families without a dog," Mills added in a university news release. "This long-term follow-up study highlights the potential ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety and Stress, Autism, Asperger Syndrome

Induced Labor Won't Raise Autism Risk in Kids, Research Suggests

Posted 25 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 25, 2016 – Inducing labor won't raise a pregnant woman's risk of having a child with autism, a new study suggests. "These findings should provide reassurance to women who are about to give birth, that having their labor induced will not increase their child's risk of developing autism spectrum disorders," said senior researcher Dr. Brian Bateman. He's an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. One 2013 study had suggested a possible link between autism and induced labor using medication, such as oxytocin, the researchers noted. Labor induction is sometimes recommended when a woman's labor stalls and her health or the health of her baby are endangered. Since the 2013 study, many pregnant women may have had fears about being induced. So, Bateman's team of American and Swedish researchers, led by the Harvard T. H. Chan ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Delivery, Asperger Syndrome, Labor Induction, Labor Pain, Cervical Ripening, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses

Posted 12 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 11, 2016 – More U.S. children are getting diagnosed and treated for autism in states that require commercial health insurers to cover these services, a new study finds. But countless more kids with undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder still aren't receiving needed medical attention, said researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "These are encouraging findings," said study leader David Mandell, a professor in the department of psychiatry. "We now know that more children are being served, but we are also acutely aware that these numbers are well below the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in our society, indicating that the mandates have not had the full effect that advocates desired," he explained. "This is merely a step in the right direction. These mandates represent a patch, not a panacea," Mandell, who is also ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome

Genetically Modified Crops Are Safe: Review

Posted 17 May 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 17, 2016 – Genetically modified crops pose no apparent risk to human health, an extensive study released Tuesday by a U.S. science advisory board has concluded. Crops created through genetic engineering are as safe to eat as crops developed through traditional plant-breeding methods, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine panel. The panel could find no link between consumption of genetically modified crops and rates of cancer, kidney disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, celiac disease, food allergies or autism, the report stated. "We compared the patterns in the U.S. and Canada to the patterns in the U.K. [United Kingdom] and the E.U. [European Union], because in those countries people are not eating genetically engineered foods," said panel chairman Fred Gould, a professor of agriculture at North Carolina State ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Obesity, Cancer, Autism, Celiac Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Asperger Syndrome

Too Much Folic Acid in Pregnancy Tied to Raised Autism Risk in Study

Posted 11 May 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2016 – Pregnant women are encouraged to get plenty of folic acid in their diet or through vitamin supplements, to protect their babies against birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. But a new study suggests that excessive amounts of folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 in a mother's body might increase a baby's risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. "The new research question before us is to understand the optimal dose," said co-researcher Daniele Fallin. She is a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. "Some [folate] is a good thing. It does appear the levels in the body could get too high, and that would be a bad thing," she said. "Supplementation is indeed an important thing," Fallin added. "We would not want anyone to interpret from this that they should stop taking vitamin supplements if they are intending to ... Read more

Related support groups: Folic Acid, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Folic Acid Deficiency, Folacin-800, Ethinyl Estradiol/folic Acid/levonorgestrel, Ferrocite F, Ferrous Fumarate/Folic Acid/Iron Polysaccharide, Ferrous Fumarate/folic Acid/docusate, Hematinic with Folic Acid, B-Nexa, Ferrous Sulfate/Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol/folic Acid, Ircon-FA, Zingiber, Bonisara, Restora Rx, Slow Fe with Folic Acid, FaLessa

Baby's Immune System Might Hint at Autism Risk

Posted 11 May 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2016 – While the origins of autism remain mysterious, new research points to the infant immune system as a potential contributing factor. A team of Swedish and American researchers said levels of certain protein "markers" in newborns' blood seemed to predict which children would go on to develop an autism spectrum disorder. This is "important evidence that the immune system in early life may be a key determinant of later risk of autism spectrum disorders," wrote the team led by Dr. R. M. Gardner of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The researchers examined blood from nearly 900 children who developed some form of autism. The children were born in Sweden between 1998 and 2000. The researchers compared those blood samples to blood from more than 1,100 kids who didn't develop the disorder. While the study can't prove cause-and-effect, babies who went on to develop ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Immunosuppression, Asperger Syndrome, Immunodeficiency, Diagnosis and Investigation

Kids With Autism Do Well Learning New Words: Study

Posted 10 May 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 10, 2016 – Children with autism learn new words the same way as other children do, but it takes them longer, a small study found. The researchers compared 15 children with autism, aged 18 months to 7 years, and a control group of 15 children without the developmental disorder. A series of tests showed that both groups of children relied heavily on the same technique to learn new words – they followed a teacher's gaze as the teacher named an object, the investigators found. The children with autism were able to follow the teacher's eye movements 75 percent of the time, compared with 78 percent of the time for children in the control group, the study findings showed. Most children with autism have trouble making eye contact with other people under certain conditions, so therapists strive to encourage them to make eye contact, according to the researchers from Ohio State ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome

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