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Drug Calms Overly Excitable Brains in Autism Rodent Models

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
February 10, 2014
Abstract: 

The blood pressure drug bumetanide normalizes a deficit in brain activity in two rodent models of autism, according to a study published in Science. The study hints at a mechanism underlying the drug’s benefits for people with autism. Neurochlore, a company based in Marseilles, France, is testing bumetanide as a treatment for autism. In the first phase, 27 children with autism showed some improvement in their autism symptoms; the researchers are continuing the trial in Europe with more participants.

State of the States for Services and Supports for People with ASD

Source: 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services
Date Published: 
January 28, 2014
Abstract: 

In 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contracted with L&M Policy Research (L&M) and its partners, Truven Health Analytics (formerly the health care business of Thomson Reuters) and the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, to address the growing need among federal and state policymakers and stakeholders for accurate and comprehensive information regarding available services and supports for people with ASD. The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) State of the States of Services and Supports for People with ASD report stemmed from the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's (IACC's) 2010 and 2011 Strategic Plans. The overall goal of this project was to capture information about services for people with ASD across all federal and state-level agencies and offices that could serve as a useful tool and be updated on an as-needed basis. In addition, the project aimed to identify gaps in data.

Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 and Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (FY 2010 - FY 2012)

Source: 
Department of Health and Human Services
Date Published: 
February 2014
Abstract: 

This Report to Congress is required by Public Law 112-32, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011. The report describes progress and expenditures made in autism spectrum disorder (ASD)- related research and services activities across the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation from fiscal years 2010- 2012.

The PDF version of the report can be found here

Feds Clarify How To Apply For Autism Tracking Devices

Source: 
Disability Scoop
Date Published: 
February 6, 2014
Abstract: 

A week after announcing that the federal government will pay for tracking devices for kids with autism, officials are offering more details about how families can access the technology. All applications must go through law enforcement agencies, so organizations and schools should work with local police to put programs in place. Police departments that receive money through the federal Byrne grant will be responsible for designing and administering their local program and determining how tracking devices are distributed.

Blazing Trails in Brain Science

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
February 3, 2014
Abstract: 

Dr. Thomas R. Insel’s twisted path to his role as director of the National Institute of Mental Health is a tour of where psychiatric science has been, where it’s going and why.

Blazing Trails in Brain Science

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
February 3, 2014
Abstract: 

Dr. Thomas R. Insel’s twisted path to his role as director of the National Institute of Mental Health is a tour of where psychiatric science has been, where it’s going and why.

New Diagnostic Category Will Hold Subset of Autism Cases

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
February 3, 2014
Abstract: 

Most of the children who would lose their autism diagnosis under the diagnostic criteria released last year will fall under the new category of social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SDC), reports a large study of Korean children. The study was published last week in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. SCD is a condition that includes severe social and communication deficits but lacks the repetitive behaviors and restricted interests seen in autism.

Study Pinpoints Autism Gene in Mutation-Prone Region

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
January 27, 2013
Abstract: 

Mutations in FAN1, a gene in the 15q13.3 chromosomal region, raise the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism and schizophrenia, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The 15q13.3 chromosomal region is a hotbed of tiny genetic deletions and duplications connected to disorders of brain development.

New Imaging Method Details Brain Abnormalities in Mice

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
November 14, 2013
Abstract: 

A new imaging technique that can assemble finely detailed pictures of an individual mouse’s brain in less than a day is being used to explore mouse models of autism. The automated technique cuts a mouse brain into 280 thin slices, which are scanned by a powerful microscope and the resulting images are then stitched together into a three-dimensional view. The researchers used this technique to investigate the imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory signals in a mouse model of 16p11.2 deletion. People missing this chromosomal region have an increased risk for autism, and about one-quarter have epilepsy, in which an excess of excitatory signals causes seizures.

Adults with Autism Can't Discern False Emotions

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
January 17, 2014
Abstract: 

Adults with autism usually understand in theory when and why others may feign emotions, but they don’t recognize those expressions in real-life situations, reports a study published in Autism Research. This inability to guess what triggered someone’s subtle expression can lead to social missteps — congratulating instead of consoling a disappointed friend, for example.