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VIDEO: Dr. Eric Courchesne explains the underlying brain biology of autism

Date Published: 
June 17, 2011
Year Published: 
2011
Abstract: 

A small study by Dr. Eric Courchesne found that male children with autism had larger brain weights and 67% more prefrontal brain neurons than children without autism.

Dr. Eric Courchesne, keynote speaker at IMFAR 2011, describes the underlying brain biology of autism and shares new findings showing differences in brain structure in people with autism. These changes originate in the second trimester of prenatal life when there is a tremendous overproduction of brain cells in individuals with autism that create patches of functional abnormality. Dr. Courchesne describes how early intervention alters brain connections and structure, and discusses the "recovery genetics" of autism, including new understanding about why some kids recover from autism while other children continue to struggle.

67% More Prefrontal Brain Neurons In Children With Autism

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 8, 2011
Abstract: 

A small study found that male children with autism had larger brain weights and 67% more prefrontal brain neurons than children without autism.

ASF's Alison Singer Live in Studio with GMA's Dr. Richard Besser for a Twitter Chat TODAY at 1 PM ET

Abstract: 

Join Good Morning America's Dr. Richard Besser and USA Today's Liz Szabo for a Twitter chat about autism: what's new in diagnosis and treatment TODAY at 1PM ET. ASF's President Alison Singer will be live in studio with Dr. Besser for the chat!

If you are on Twitter follow hashtag #abcDrBchat and the ASF handle.

Good Morning America's Dr. Richard Besser and USA Today's Liz Szabo held a Twitter chat about autism: what's new in diagnosis and treatment on Monday, November 7. ASF's President Alison Singer was live in studio with Dr. Besser for the chat. Read the transcript here.

TBL1X Gene Involved In Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 6, 2011
Abstract: 

TBL1X Gene Involved In Autism Spectrum Disorder: Dr. Eden Martin from the Hussman Institute explains, "The SNP in TBL1X is associated with an increase in risk for ASD of about 15%.

Nature Magazine: Autism Science Foundation is a Voice for Science

Source: 
Nature Magazine
Date Published: 
November 2, 2011
Abstract: 

Nature Magazine profiles the Autism Science Foundation and its co-founder, Alison Singer.
Convinced by the evidence that vaccines do not cause autism, Alison Singer started a research foundation that pledges to put science first.

 

The e-mail that ended one career for Alison Singer, but started another, arrived as she was cooking dinner for her daughters one evening in January 2009. Singer was preoccupied. At a committee meeting she was due to attend in Washington DC the next day, she and others were set to vote on a plan that would direct much of the United States' spending on autism research for the next year.

Singer, who had her laptop perched on the kitchen counter, immediately noticed the e-mail from another committee member — a mother who was convinced that vaccines had caused her son's autism. The message proposed last-minute language for inclusion in the plan, endorsing more research into whether vaccines can trigger the disorder of communication and movement. Singer knew immediately that this would cause her serious difficulties. Having read the literature and talked to numerous scientists, she was convinced that no studies supported a link between autism and vaccines. But she was also the top communications executive at Autism Speaks in New York, autism's most prominent research and advocacy group. The organization supports vaccine-related research, and Singer knew that her bosses would expect her to vote for more studies of vaccines as a possible cause of the condition.

Read the article here: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111102/full/479028a.html

 

Study In Fruit Flies Has Implications For Autism, Other Cognitive Impairment Syndromes

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 1, 2011
Abstract: 

Loss of FMR1 function is the most common genetic cause of autism. Understanding how this gene works is vital to finding new treatments to help Fragile X patients and others...

Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders - Maenner, M.J. et al.
Date Published: 
October 25, 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems. The purpose of this population-based study of 487 children with ASD, including 35 (7.2%) with a medically documented history of GI problems, was to compare behavioral features of children with and without a history of GI problems. Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.

Rockland County Autism Symposium Focuses on Research, Job Skills and Interventions

Abstract: 

Over 900 parents, teachers and other stakeholders gathered for a day of learning at the Rockland County Autism Symposium, sponsored by the Autism Science Foundation, Mindworks, Camp Venture, and the Rockland County Legislature. Dr. Temple Grandin gave the keynote address, describing how to turn a child's strengths into marketable job skills. Dr. Manny DiCicco-Bloom spoke about the importance of mouse modeling in autism science and Dr. Cathy Lord described new research taking place at the New York Brain Institute in White Plains. Dr. Peter Gerhardt and Gina Zecchin-Tirri described how to use ABA techniques to teach life and community skills. Photos from the event are on our Facebook page.

Over 900 parents, teachers and other stakeholders gathered for a day of learning at the Rockland County Autism Symposium, sponsored by the Autism Science Foundation, Mindworks, Camp Venture, and the Rockland County Legislature. Dr. Temple Grandin gave the keynote address, describing how to turn a child's strengths into marketable job skills. Dr. Manny DiCicco-Bloom (view his slides here) spoke about the importance of mouse modeling in autism science and Dr. Cathy Lord described new research taking place at the New York Brain Institute in White Plains. Dr. Peter Gerhardt and Gina Zecchin-Tirri described how to use ABA techniques to teach life and community skills. Photos from the event are on our Facebook page.

 

Click here to view Dr. DiCicco-Bloom's Rockland Autism Symposium slides.

Dr. David Mandell Evaluates Effectiveness of Autism Insurance Legislation (Part 2/2)

Date Published: 
October 25, 2011
Year Published: 
2011
Abstract: 

In part 2 of his interview, Dr. Mandell discusses his research on how to organize, finance and deliver services to enhance outcomes for children with autism. Dr. Mandell discusses his work in assessing public and private insurance companies, the impetus for the autism mandate in Pennsylvania, and how the mandate is affecting families.

ASF-funded study: JADD – “Challenging behaviors frequent in autistic children with and without GI problems; therefore behaviors are unlikely to predict GI problems in children with ASD”—Maenner et al.

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
October 25, 2011

Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Matthew J. Maenner • Carrie L. Arneson • Susan E. Levy • Russell S. Kirby • Joyce S. Nicholas • Maureen S. Durkin
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | DOI 10.1007/s10803-011-1379-6

Copyright: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011
 

Abstract : Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems. The purpose of this population-based study of 487 children with ASD, including 35 (7.2%) with a medically documented history of GI problems, was to compare behavioral features of children with and without a history of GI problems. Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.

 

Conclusion: Certain behaviors, including abnormalities in sleep patterns, abnormalities in mood or affect, and argumentative, oppositional, defiant or destructive behavior were described significantly more often in children with ASD who also had GI problems than in those with ASD and no history of GI problems. These features (often described as characteristics of autism) may be more common among children with autism who also have GI problems. However, because these behaviors are also frequent in children with ASD and no GI problems (nearly all children had 1 or more behaviors), they are unlikely to efficiently predict GI problems in children with ASD. Consideration of medical, biological, or physiological co-occurring conditions, genetic susceptibility, diet and nutrition, and medication use are necessary to determine whether in children with ASD both behavioral presentation and GI problems might be associated with other underlying factors.