February 23, 2018

Diuretic Continues to Show Promise in Autism

downloadA drug used for decades to treat high blood pressure and other conditions has shown promise in a small clinical trial for autism. The drug, bumetanide, reduced the overall severity of behavioral symptoms after 3 months of daily treatment. The researchers say that many parents of children who received the drug reported that their children were more “present” and engaged in social interactions after taking it. The new findings are among several recent signs that treatments to address the social deficits at the core of autism may be on the horizon. Read more here

Blood Test May Lead to Earlier, More Accurate Autism Diagnosis

download (2)Two metabolic biomarkers accurately predict autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children, new research shows.

A multivariate statistical analysis conducted by investigators at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, “provides unprecedented quantitative classification results” that accurately identify children with ASD and neurotypical children.

For the study, investigator Juergen Hahn, PhD, professor and head, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and colleagues measured blood concentrations of two metabolites — the folate-dependent one-carbon mechanism (FOCM) and transulfuration (TS) pathways — in 83 children with ASD, 47 siblings, and 76 age-matched neurotypical peers. The children ranged in age from 3 to 10 years.  Read more…

Autism risk linked to herpes infection during pregnancy

images (1)Women actively infected with genital herpes during early pregnancy had twice the odds of giving birth to a child later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The study is the first to provide immunological evidence on the role of gestational infection in autism, reporting an association between maternal anti-herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) antibodies and risk for ASD in offspring. Results appear in mSphere, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

“We believe the mother’s immune response to HSV-2 could be disrupting fetal central nervous system development, raising risk for autism,” says lead author Milada Mahic, a post-doctoral research scientist with the Center for Infection and Immunity and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Read more…

Extra-axial CSF Predicts Autism Development in High-risk Infants

download (3)NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – An increased amount of extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is associated with a higher risk of developing autism in infants at high familial risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to findings from the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS).

“This potential biomarker at 6 months of age raises the potential for early detection of autism in the first year of life, prior to the onset of behavioral symptoms,” said Dr. Mark D. Shen from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.  Read more….

Autism Linked to Herpes Infection in Pregnancy

170222131515_1_540x360Women actively infected with genital herpes during early pregnancy had twice the odds of giving birth to a child later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.  Read more here…

Preschoolers Who Struggle With Language Need Close Monitoring, Researchers Say

imagesSpeech and language delays affect 6-7% of children at school entry and can result in problems in one or more areas, such as understanding vocabulary and grammar, inferring meaning, expressive language, sound production, voice, fluency and articulation, and the use of language in social contexts.1 For some children, language problems are markers for—and secondary to—conditions such as autism, sensory impairment, or more general developmental disabilities. For others, they are the result of primary delay that cannot be accounted for by low non-verbal ability, hearing impairment, behaviour problems, emotional problems, or neurological impairments. Environmental factors such as limited opportunities for learning language or learning English as an additional language may also overlap with primary and secondary delay. In the linked cluster randomised trial (doi:10.1136/bmj.d4741), Wake and colleagues assess the effects of a low intensity parent-toddler language promotion programme delivered to toddlers identified as slow to talk on screening in universal services.  Read more here….

Perinatal Complications Tied to Increased Autism Risk

download (4)Children exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were 15% more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than were children not exposed to complications, new research indicates.

The relative risk varied depending on the timing of the exposure, according to the Kaiser Permanente study, published online January 31 in the American Journal of Perinatology.  Read more….

Fecal Transplants May Yield Lasting Benefits in Autism

featured-autismIn a study of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) led to significant and lasting improvements in both gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and ASD-related symptoms, researchers report.

“We were hoping for some improvement in GI symptoms but were surprised to see 80% improvement,” Ann Gregory, one of the study’s lead authors and a microbiology graduate student at the Ohio State University in Columbus, told Medscape Medical News.

“Further, we were hoping for some improvement in autism symptoms and were pleased to see about a 25% improvement in only 10 weeks that remained after treatment stopped,” she added. Read more here…

Carrier Dome now offers safety kits for fans with sensory issues

21863059-mmmainThe Carrier Dome will now offer relief for fans with sensory issues at its events.

Friendly Access Sensory Safety Kits are now available at Carrier Dome guest services for individuals with autism, dementia, traumatic brain injury and various sensory challenges.

The kits were provided by a grant from The Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation and Life is Washable, Inc.

Loud noises and bright lights can make it difficult or confusing for individuals with sensory issues to enjoy events.

The complimentary kits are packaged in an orange drawstring bag and include noise-reducing ear covers and ear plugs, anti-glare glasses, sanitizing wipes and tissues.

The foundation says the addition of the kits makes the Carrier Dome the first venue of its size in the United States to offer such sensory accommodations to its patrons.

For more information regarding the kit and availability, fans are asked to contact the Carrier Dome Management Office at 315-443-4634. 

Gastrointestinal Woes in Autism Explained?

downloadA heightened stress reaction may explain the high rate of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, particularly constipation, in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), new research shows.

“One cannot make specific clinical recommendations based upon this study, but it will be of particular interest to see if treatment of constipation in ASD can be augmented by targeting the mechanisms of stress reactivity in future studies, particularly for those least responsive to laxatives and those with the greatest stress reactivity,” study investigator David Beversdorf, MD, of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri in Columbia, told Medscape Medical News.  Read more here