February 23, 2018

School year ‘relative age’ causing bias in ADHD diagnosis, says research

downloadYounger primary school children are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than their older peers within the same school year, new research has shown.

The study, led by a child psychiatrist at The University of Nottingham with researchers at the University of Turku in Finland, suggests that adults involved in raising concerns over a child’s behaviour — such as parents and teachers — may be misattributing signs of relative immaturity as symptoms of the disorder.  Read more….

Bright light therapy at midday helped patients with bipolar disorder

Light-Box-TherapyDaily exposure to bright white light at midday significantly decreased symptoms of depression and increased functioning in people with bipolar disorder, a recent Northwestern Medicine study found.

Previous studies found morning bright light therapy reduced symptoms of depression in patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.). But patients with bipolar disorder can experience side effects such as mania or mixed symptoms from this type of depression treatment. This study implemented a novel midday light therapy intervention in an effort to provide relief for bipolar depression and avoid those side effects.  Read more…

Genetic Factors Account for the Majority of Autism Risk

downloadStudies have found that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aggregates in families. In a previous study, ASD heritability was estimated to be 50 percent. To define presence or absence of ASD, the study used a data set created to take into account time-to-event effects in the data, which may have reduced the heritability estimates. Using the same underlying data from this study, Sven Sandin, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and colleagues used an alternate method (used by previous studies in the field) to calculate the heritability of ASD.  Read more…

1, 2, 3’s of Basic Backpack Wearing


Happy Back to School!  Get tips about the proper ways to wear a backpack, provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association!


CLICK HERE to learn more!!






This workshop will provide participants with an evidenced based introduction to simple sign language skills meant to improve communication in children of all ages and abilities. Course participants will learn more than 100 key words that can be incorporated into their child interactions to improve both expressive and receptive language skills. Improvements in communication and interaction, in turn, serve to enhance a child’s ability to participate in meaningful activities. Skills learned in this course are appropriate for use in pediatric clinical practice, the school environment as well as in the home environment. Course format includes lecture, as well as small and large group activities.

To view the full course flyer:  click here




Brain Patterns at 6 Months Predict Autism in High-Risk Infants

20170607Neuroimaging844Patterns of brain activity in 6-month-old babies accurately predict which of them will be diagnosed with autism at age 2. The findings hint that brain scans may one day help doctors detect autism in infants.

The study is small, and its findings need to be replicated before they can be used clinically. But researchers were nearly unanimous in their praise of the study’s promise for early diagnosis of autism.

“This is a game-changer for the field,” says Kevin Pelphrey, director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the work.

The study was published today in Science Translational MedicineRead more here….

Virtual Reality a Game Changer for Psychiatry

virtual-reality-1You may be familiar with virtual reality technology from the VR goggles that are increasingly popular for entertainment and games — a headset display, stereo sound and head motion tracking provide an immersive virtual reality experience. Virtual reality technology is also used in simulators for training and it is increasingly being used to help people with mental illness. While it has been used for some time treating people with phobias, advances in technology and greater availability are facilitating expanded use in mental health treatment. Read more here…

Prenatal, Early-Life Toxin, Nutrient Exposure Tied to Autism

170601082239_1_540x360Using evidence found in baby teeth, researchers from The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory and The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai found that differences in the uptake of multiple toxic and essential elements over the second and third trimesters and early postnatal periods are associated with the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a study published June 1 in the journal Nature CommunicationsRead more here….

Brain differences in ADHD


Largest imaging study of ADHD to date identifies differences in five regions of the brain, with greatest differences seen in children rather than adults.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with the delayed development of five brain regions and should be considered a brain disorder, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

The study is the largest to look at the brain volumes of people with ADHD, involving more than 3,200 people. The authors say the findings could help improve understanding of the disorder, and might be important in challenging beliefs that ADHD is a label for difficult children or the result of poor parenting.  Read more….

Detecting Autism in the Very Young: The Tell-Tale Signs of Babbling, Crying, and Trunk Control

download (5)Pediatricians and nurse practitioners are on the front line with their patients. The parents who come to you have the most experience with you and you have the history that will help to define whether a specialist evaluation is needed. You are crucial to this whole endeavor. We know that we track physical, motor, and language development very well in young children. What might be missing in some cases is tracking social development, particularly the subtle signs.

Parents and practitioners are good at tracking the very obvious signs of ASDs. Those include such behaviors as flapping, spinning, and flagrant disinterest in social engagement. We know that those exist and that we’re really good at picking those up. What tends to fall by the wayside are the more subtle behaviors. Our research from early detection and diagnosis of ASD has shown that tracking these behaviors leads not only to early detection, but also to early diagnosis and access to early intervention, which have very important downstream effects for global development as well as for ASDs. Read more…