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Therapy for Kids With Autism Pays Off for Moms, Dads

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 10, 2017 – Behavioral therapy for children with autism also benefits their parents, a new study finds. About 70 percent of children with autism have emotional or behavioral problems and may turn to cognitive behavioral therapy to help with these issues. Usually, while kids are with the therapist, parents are in a separate room learning what the children are doing, but not participating, according to researcher Jonathon Weiss. "What's unique about what we studied is what happens when parents are partners in the process from start to finish. Increasingly we know that it's helpful for kids with autism, specifically, and now we have proven that it's helpful for their parents too," said Weiss, associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. The study included 57 children between 8 and 12 years of age who were undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. They had ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Psychiatric Disorders, Asperger Syndrome

Can Scans Predict Some Autism Cases?

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2017 – People with a particular genetic cause of autism show structural abnormalities in the brain that are readily detected with noninvasive imaging, according to a new study. Using MRI brain scans, researchers found clear brain structure abnormalities in people with autism caused, in part, by defects in chromosome 16. Those MRI findings were, in turn, related to particular impairments, such as problems with communication and social skills. It all suggests that brain imaging could one day be used to spot young children most in need of therapy for an autism spectrum disorder, the study authors said. It's estimated that one in 68 U.S. children is "on the spectrum," and symptoms usually appear early in life. The study included 158 people who carried either of two defects in chromosome 16 that raise the risk of autism. The flaws are found in a small piece of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Head Imaging

Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Increase in Autism

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 20, 2017 – In the long-standing debate over whether antidepressants are safe to take during pregnancy, a new study suggests that exposure to the drugs in the womb might bump up a child's risk of autism. The risk of autism was 45 percent higher for kids whose moms took antidepressants compared to kids born to mothers with psychiatric disorders who weren't prescribed antidepressants, the study found. "We found consistent results pointing towards a small effect of antidepressants with autism, especially higher functioning forms of autism without intellectual disability," said lead researcher Dheeraj Rai. He is a senior lecturer in psychiatry with the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. "We think it is important to keep in mind the absolute risk, which is small," Rai said. "Over 95 percent of women in the study who took antidepressants during pregnancy did not have ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Lexapro, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Major Depressive Disorder, Celexa, Citalopram, Paxil, Sertraline, Pristiq, Amitriptyline, Venlafaxine, Fluoxetine, Effexor XR, Mirtazapine, Escitalopram, Savella, Remeron

Genes May Explain Why Kids With Autism Avoid Eye Contact

Posted 13 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 13, 2017 – Children with autism spectrum disorders tend to avoid eye contact and look away from other people's mouths, behaviors that are likely influenced by genetics, new research suggests. Roughly 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The disorder affects how children learn, communicate and behave. It's common for children with autism to look away from other people's faces. Doctors often use this behavior to help screen for the condition, according to researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and Emory University in Atlanta. For the study, the team of scientists investigated how children's DNA affects their ability to engage visually in social settings. "Research shows that autism likely has a genetic basis. Siblings of children diagnosed with autism and people with certain genetic mutations have a higher risk of developing the disorder, compared ... Read more

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

Can a Spritz of 'Love Hormone' Help Kids With Autism?

Posted 10 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 10, 2017 – Social skills of children with autism appeared to improve slightly after a nasal spritz of oxytocin, the so-called "love hormone," researchers report. However, the study was small, and it's not clear if the typical improvement in "social responsiveness" was significant enough to be noticeable. "I wouldn't throw a parade over it," said study lead author Karen Parker, a neuroscientist and associate professor at Stanford University. But the findings point to avenues for future research, Parker said, especially because kids with the lowest levels of oxytocin in their bodies seemed to benefit the most. "Better understanding the individual differences in the biology of patients may hold the key to critically assessing which patients the drug will benefit," she said. Social difficulties and poor verbal communication are hallmarks of autism spectrum disorder. Symptoms ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Oxytocin, Asperger Syndrome, Pitocin, Diagnosis and Investigation, Syntocinon

Why People With Autism Avoid Eye Contact

Posted 30 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017 – If you know someone with autism, you've probably noticed that they rarely look people in the eye. Now, new research suggests why that is so. "Contrary to what has been thought, the apparent lack of interpersonal interest among people with autism is not due to a lack of concern," said study co-author Dr. Nouchine Hadjikhani. "Rather, our results show that this behavior is a way to decrease an unpleasant excessive arousal stemming from overactivation in a particular part of the brain," she said. Hadjikhani is director of neurolimbic research at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Biomedical Imaging. While avoiding eye contact is often regarded as a sign of social or personal indifference, many people with autism say eye contact causes them discomfort or stress, the study authors noted. The new research traces the problem to part of the brain that triggers ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome

When is Tourette Syndrome Actually Autism?

Posted 22 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 – More than one in five children with Tourette syndrome also tests positive for autism, a new study shows. But it's unlikely that so many children actually have both disorders. What's more probable is that Tourette's symptoms often mimic or seem quite similar to those of autism, the researchers noted. "Our results suggest that although autism diagnoses were higher in individuals with Tourette's, some of the increase may be due to autism-like symptoms, especially repetitive behaviors that are more strongly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder," said study first author Sabrina Darrow, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Tourette's affects between one and 10 in 1,000 children, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is more common in males, and typical tics include repetitive ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Tourette's Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation

Do Older Dads Produce Brainy Boys?

Posted 21 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 21, 2017 – In a finding that might bring older Dads some peace of mind about their sons' future job prospects, a new study shows these kids are more likely to be "geeks." Previous research has shown children of older fathers have higher odds of autism and schizophrenia, but this study highlights the benefits of being the son of an older dad. "We have known for a while about the negative consequences of advanced paternal age, but now we have shown that these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects," said study author Magdalena Janecka. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The researchers discovered that boys born to older dads are more intelligent, more focused on what interests them and are less concerned about fitting in. All qualities offer an edge in ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Oligospermia

Study Cites Top Reasons Young Autism Patients Are Hospitalized

Posted 16 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 16, 2017 – Having a mood disorder significantly boosts the odds that young people with autism will be hospitalized for psychiatric care, according to a new study. People with autism are often hospitalized when their behavior problems overwhelm their caregivers, the study authors said. "The demand is far greater than the number of clinicians, the number of programs and the number of beds we have," said study leader Giulia Righi. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior research at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School. Righi's team reviewed records of 473 people with autism, aged 4 to 20. The risk of hospitalization was seven times higher for those with a mood disorder. In addition, sleep problems more than doubled the chances of a hospital stay. And those with high scores on a scale of autism symptom severity had a slightly increased risk, ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Fatigue, Social Anxiety Disorder, Mania, Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism, Psychiatric Disorders, Asperger Syndrome, Cyclothymic Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Severe Mood Dysregulation, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Fever During Pregnancy Tied to Autism in Study

Posted 14 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 14, 2017 – Children whose moms have any type of fever during pregnancy may have slightly increased odds of developing an autism spectrum disorder, a new study suggests. The large study found that one episode of fever in the second trimester might increase the risk for autism by 40 percent. Several bouts of fever after the twelfth week of pregnancy could raise the risk threefold, researchers reported. "Fever is a response to a wide range of infections, and it is common during pregnancy," said lead researcher Dr. Mady Hornig. She's an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. But she pointed out, "The absolute risk is low. The vast majority of women who get an infection with fever, even flu, are not going to end up having a child with autism." Hornig also cautioned this study cannot prove that a fever ... Read more

Related support groups: Fever, Autism, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation and Deficiency, Asperger Syndrome, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Special Brain Scans May Predict Autism in High-Risk Babies

Posted 7 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 7, 2017 – Researchers say a special type of MRI may someday help doctors predict which high-risk babies might develop autism in their toddler years. Known as functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), the scan gives a peek at how different regions of the brain work together. As it turns out, certain areas that are connected also seem linked to autism risk, the researchers said. The fcMRI allowed the researchers to accurately predict 9 out of 11 high-risk babies who later showed behavioral signs of autism. "We used functional brain imaging information at 6 months and clinical information from 24 months to figure out if we could identify which high-risk infants would go on to develop autism," said study author Robert Emerson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The hope is that such a prediction tool could one day be used to identify babies ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Baby Teeth Study Points to Links Between Autism, Lead Levels

Posted 2 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017 – An analysis of chemicals in baby teeth suggests that exposure to lead in pregnancy or shortly after birth might make infants more vulnerable to developing autism. At the same time, the investigators found that babies who don't get enough zinc and manganese during the same time frame may also face an increased risk for the developmental disorder. Zinc and manganese are typically found in certain foods. The teeth used in the study came from a pool of twins who were studied at various points in their development. The scientists determined lead, zinc and manganese levels by using lasers to map the growth rings in baby teeth. Environmental exposures can change constantly, explained study author Dr. Manish Arora, vice chairman and division chief of environmental health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. That means that "we need to consider ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation, Lead Poisoning, Lead Poisoning - Mild

Communication Problems Not at Root of Tantrums in Kids With Autism

Posted 31 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2017 – Children with autism spectrum disorders probably aren't throwing more tantrums because of a lack of ability to communicate, new research suggests. Speech and language problems are common in autism. Many children with autism aren't able to speak clearly. Some can't speak at all. But in this study, the researchers found that children with autism who have clear speech and a high ability to communicate have just as many outbursts as those who don't. "There is a common pervasive misbelief that children with autism have more tantrum behaviors because they have difficulty communicating their wants and their needs to caregivers and other adults," said lead research Dr. Cheryl Tierney. "The belief is that their inability to express themselves with speech and language is the driving force for these behaviors, and that if we can improve their speech and their language, ... Read more

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

Could a Century-Old Drug Help Ease Autism Symptoms?

Posted 26 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 26, 2017 – A drug first used in the early 1900s to treat sleeping sickness has shown promise in an early trial as a potential treatment for autism. The study involved just 10 boys, aged 5 to 14, with autism. This was the first human trial to attempt to replicate encouraging results seen in work with mice, the researchers noted. The drug is called suramin. "The main finding was that a single dose of suramin was safe and produced improvements in language, social interaction and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors in five children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]," said study author Dr. Robert Naviaux. He is co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine. He added that no such improvements were observed among the five children not treated with suramin. However, the gains from the one-dose ... Read more

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

Autism's 'Worryingly' High Suicide Rates Spur Conference

Posted 25 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 25, 2017 – High rates of suicide among people with autism are drawing specialists to a conference this week in England. "What relatively little we know about suicidality in autism points to a worryingly high prevalence of people with the condition contemplating and attempting to take their own life," said Sarah Cassidy, co-author of a paper written in advance of the meeting. "More concerning still, the small body of research that does exist exposes serious shortcomings in how prepared we are to intervene and provide effective support to those with autism who are most at risk of dying by suicide," said Cassidy. Cassidy is with Coventry University's Center for Research in Psychology, Behavior and Achievement. Researchers at Coventry and Newcastle universities organized the two-day meeting. Urgent action is needed to help those most at risk, but the issue is poorly ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, Autism, Dysthymia, Asperger Syndrome, Depressive Psychosis

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