Monday, September 14, 2009
Autism News From Medical News Today
Barrow Scientist Awarded $400,000 Grant To Study Cell Associated With Intuition And AutismA scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation to help study a rare cell type that is believed to play a role in quick decision making and intuition. Abnormalities in this cell type have been seen in people suffering from autism and dementia. Throughout the next four years, researcher A.D.With All Eyes On Swine Flu, Thousands Of Parents Ask President Obama 'How Much Longer' Until Autism Gets Similar AttentionJust since midnight, over 50,000 letters have gone to President Barack Obama and others as part of a new campaign to bring attention to the rising numbers of autism cases.Genetic Variations May Underlie Multiple Psychiatric ConditionsSimilar submicroscopic variations and rearrangements appear in the genetic material of individuals with schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation, suggesting that the three disorders may share a developmental pathway, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.Advancement Made In Automatic Autism Screen Increases Accuracy To 91%, Scheduled For Release This MonthLENA Foundation has increased the accuracy of the LENA Autism Screen (LAS) to 91 percent for children 24 to 48 months. LAS - the first automatic and totally objective autism screen is now as accurate or more accurate than other autism screens currently available to parents and clinicians.Children With Autism Use Alternative Keyboard To Communicate With Their Families And Their WorldAutism can build a wall of poor communication between those struggling with the condition and their families. While a personal computer can help bridge the divide, the distraction and complexity of a keyboard can be an insurmountable obstacle. Using a unique keyboard with only two "keys" and a novel curriculum, teachers with Project Blue Skies are giving children with autism the ability to both communicate and to explore the online world.Children With Autism Use Alternative Keyboard To Communicate With Their Families And Their WorldAutism can build a wall of poor communication between those struggling with the condition and their families. While a personal computer can help bridge the divide, the distraction and complexity of a keyboard can be an insurmountable obstacle. Using a unique keyboard with only two "keys" and a novel curriculum, teachers with Project Blue Skies are giving children with autism the ability to both communicate and to explore the online world.Brain Region Responsible For Our Sense Of Personal Space Discovered By Caltech NeuroscientistsIn a finding that sheds new light on the neural mechanisms involved in social behavior, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have pinpointed the brain structure responsible for our sense of personal space. The discovery, described in the August 30 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, could offer insight into autism and other disorders where social distance is an issue.How The Brain Gets WiredIn a new study, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), McGill University have found an important mechanism involved in setting up the vast communications network of connections in the brain.Autistic Children Struggle With SmilesAutistic children struggle to understand the meaning behind a smile. This is the finding of a study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology online, today, 21st August 2009. Eight boys diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder ranging in age from 5 to 15, took part in the study carried out by Professor Lucy Johnston from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.Genetic Variations Tied To Brain Size By Scripps Research, UCSD, And University Of Oslo TeamUsing advanced brain imaging and genomics technologies, an international team of researchers co-led by Scripps Research Institute scientists has shown for the first time that natural variations in a specific gene influence brain structure. By establishing this link, the researchers have opened the door to a range of potential research efforts that could reveal gene variations responsible for a number of neurological conditions such as autism.Common Brain Defect: Unlikely Genetic Suspect ImplicatedA genetic search that wound its way from patients to mouse models and back to patients has uncovered an unlikely gene critically involved in a common birth defect which causes mental retardation, motor delays and sometimes autism, providing a new mechanism and potentially improving treatment for the disorder.Autism Campaigners Appeal To President Obama On Gary McKinnonAutism campaigners Ivan Corea of the UK Autism Foundation and Kevin Healey Chairman of the Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (who has Asperger's Syndrome) have issued a joint appeal on Gary McKinnon to President Barack Obama at the White House. They have also launched a new online petition in support of Gary McKinnon who hacked into 97 America military computers at the Pentagon and Nasa between 2001 and 2002.Visual Processing 'Hinders Ability' To Read Body Language: Autism StudyThe way people with autism see and process the body language of others could be preventing them from gauging people's feelings, according to new research. With around half a million people in the UK affected by autism, the Durham University study suggests visual processing problems could be contributing to their day-to-day difficulties with social interaction.Financial Secretary Contacts UK Autism Foundation On Autism And The Economic DownturnThe Financial Secretary to Her Majesty's Government, Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms MP has written to Ivan Corea of the UK Autism Foundation, pledging support for families with autism. The UK Autism Foundation has been lobbying and campaigning on behalf of families with autism who are below the poverty line. UKAF is maintaining that the credit crunch and the recession is driving many families into poverty and they need urgent help.The Sounds Of Learning: Studying The Impact Of Music On Children With AutismIn June 2009, newspapers reported that archaeologists in Germany had discovered a 35,000-year-old flute made of bird bone. It represented, one paper said, "the earliest known flowering of music-making in Stone Age culture." And we have been tapping our toes, humming along, singing and dancing ever since. The power of music affects all of us and has long appealed to our emotions.David Cameron Makes Autism Pledge And Backs Autism Bill Commenting on today's speech by Conservative Party Leader Rt Hon David Cameron MP at the Research Autism Conference in London, Lesa Walton - Care & Development Director of specialist Autism care provider Brookdale Care - said today: "Brookdale Care is delighted that David Cameron chose to draw special attention to the issues surrounding Autistic Spectrum Conditions today.Mindblind Eyes: An Absence Of Spontaneous Theory Of Mind In Asperger SyndromeHighly intelligent adults with Asperger Syndrome still have difficulties in day-to-day social interaction. These difficulties may be explained by 'mindblindness', the idea that they are unable to predict what other people will do by thinking about their mental states, that is, their knowledge and beliefs.New Genetic Study Of Asperger Syndrome, Autistic Traits And EmpathyScientists from the University of Cambridge have identified 27 genes that are associated with either Asperger Syndrome (AS) and/or autistic traits and/or empathy. The research is published in the journal Autism Research. This is the first candidate gene study of its kind. The research was led by Dr Bhismadev Chakrabarti and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen from the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge.By Age 6 Parts Of Brain Involved In Social Cognition May Be In PlaceSocial cognition - the ability to think about the minds and mental states of others - is essential for human beings. In the last decade, a group of regions has been discovered in the human brain that are specifically used for social cognition. A new study in the July/August 2009 issue of the journal Child Development investigates these brain regions for the first time in human children. The study has implications for children with autism.Teens Sensitive To Others' Perceptions Of ThemYoung adolescents care a lot about what others think about them. A new study confirms this using brain-mapping techniques that shed new light on this complex period of social development. The study, published in the July/August 2009 issue of the journal Child Development, is authored by researchers at the University of Oregon and the University of California Los Angeles. Previous research into this area has relied on reports by teenagers themselves.Link Between Social Reasoning And Brain Development In Preschoolers -- Queen's StudyNew research at Queen's University shows that the way preschool children understand false beliefs can be linked to particular aspects of brain development. This landmark research may aid in understanding developmental disorders such as autism. One of the most important ways that preschool children develop socially is by learning how to understand others people's thoughts and feelings."Social Care Reform But At What Cost?": A National Autistic Society Response To The Care And Support Green Paper, UKThe National Autistic Society, urged that new reforms should not be allowed further marginalise people with disabilities, including autism, in a bid to fulfil a black hole in social care funding. Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS said; "Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition and in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that those who are most vulnerable are able to access appropriate help.New Help To Tackle Children's Communication ProblemsA Â£5million package of measures is being rolled out to help improve services for children and young people with communication problems. A new Communication Champion is also being recruited to raise the profile of these issues, Children's Secretary, Ed Balls and Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced today. This is part of a Â£12 million investment to implement the Government Action Plan, Better Communication.Higher Parental Stress, Psychological Distress Experienced By Mothers Of Children With Autism Ask any mother and she'll tell you that raising a preschooler is no easy task. Now imagine what it must be like to bring up a child with autism or a developmental delay. Researchers at the University of Washington's Autism Center asked mothers about their experiences and found that moms of children with autism had higher levels of parenting-related stress and psychological distress than mothers of children with developmental delay.Difference In The Way Children With Autism Learn New Behaviors Pinpointed By New StudyResearchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have collaborated to uncover important new insights into the neurological basis of autism. Their new study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, examined patterns of movement as children with autism and typically developing children learned to control a novel tool. The findings suggest that children with autism appear to learn new actions differently than do typically developing children.