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NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011

Source: 
NIMH
Date Published: 
December 23, 2011
Abstract: 

Director of the NIMH Dr. Tom Insel shares the NIMH's Top 10 Research Advances for 2011.

Autism may be linked to abnormal immune system characteristics and novel protein fragment

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
January 3, 2012
Abstract: 

Immune system abnormalities that mimic those seen with autism spectrum disorders have been linked to the amyloid precursor protein (APP), reports a research team from the University of South Florida's Department of Psychiatry and the Silver Child Development Center.

Dr. Eric London's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
January 1, 2012
Abstract: 

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

To the Editor:

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

People with autism do indeed have a brain disorder, and so using medications that treat the brain makes perfect sense. Many autistic patients have symptoms that warrant such medications for their own protection. These include behaviors like head banging, self-biting, sleeplessness and aggression.

I recently saw a patient in a developmental center who wore a helmet because of constant head-banging. When I asked what medications had been tried, staff members proudly told me that they had successfully avoided medicating this patient. But this decision came at a terrible cost to him, as his constant head-banging caused detachment of both retinas and blindness.

Articles implying that all psychotropic medications are inappropriate for this population do a terrible disservice. They make family members and staff members fearful of medications that can often make important quality-of-life improvements and, as a result, actually hurt the patients we desire to help.

ERIC LONDON
New York, Dec. 26, 2011

Autism Rates Have Spiked, But Why?

Source: 
NPR
Date Published: 
December 20, 2011
Abstract: 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one percent of U.S. children have some form of autism, 20 times higher than the rate in the 1980s. Alan Zarembo of The Los Angeles Times and clinical psychologist Catherine Lord discuss what's behind the growing number of diagnoses.

Seizure Damage Reversed In Rats By Inhibitory Drug Targeting Neurologic Pathways

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 19, 2011
Abstract: 

About half of newborns who have seizures go on to have long-term intellectual and memory deficits and cognitive disorders such as autism, but why this occurs has been unknown. In the December 14 Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston detail how early-life seizures disrupt normal brain development, and show in a rat model that it might be possible to reverse this pathology by giving certain drugs soon after the seizure.

Autism Hidden in Plain Sight

Source: 
LA Times
Date Published: 
December 16, 2011
Abstract: 

As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.

Families cling to hope of autism 'recovery'

Source: 
LA Times
Date Published: 
December 15, 2011
Abstract: 

An autism treatment called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has wide support and has grown into a profitable business. It has its limits, though, and there are gaps in the science.

New MIT center to fund autism research

Source: 
The Boston Globe
Date Published: 
December 15, 2011
Abstract: 

A new center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will focus on unraveling the neuroscience behind social behaviors, helping to push forward research and, the scientists hope, to advance diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

Warrior parents fare best in securing autism services

Source: 
LA Times
Date Published: 
December 13, 2011
Abstract: 

Public spending on children with autism in California varies greatly by race and class. A major reason: Not all families have the means to battle for coveted assistance.

Fetal Exposure to Epilepsy Drug Might Raise Autism Risk: Study

Source: 
US News & World Report
Date Published: 
December 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Children exposed to the epilepsy drug valproate have a nearly three times higher risk of having an autism spectrum disorder, new research finds.