Autism Research: December 22, 2013 Week in Review

adn-icon-298x300Psychosocial interventions to help remedy kids on autism spectrum

 Yale Child Study Center conducted a study to evaluate the effects of psychosocial interventions in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Brian Reichow and team found that numerous children with an intellectual disability or lower functioning autism did not receive such interventions.

Published in PLOS Medicine, the study suggested that training non-specilalists to deliver psychosocial interventions like cognitive rehabilitation, parent training interventions, etc.  Scanning through multiple international databases and studies, the team found 34 relevant papers involving 1305 children that met their stringent criteria.

The team found that non-specialist healthcare providers could deliver good outcomes in children with mentation disabilities. This means that by training non-specialists in delivering training, support, analytical techniques, etc, children on the autism spectrum especially from middle and lower income group countries would be able to access such measures for improving social, family and personal outcomes.

 Sticky gaze: Early sign of autism

 Scientists have observed that babies who were later diagnosed with autism had longer spans of something they have termed as “sticky attention”. Sticky attention is a phrase researchers have coined for the tendency of staring at an object after picking it up. Typically developing peers have this sticky gaze till about 6 months, steadily dropping as they grow older; but after 1 year of age they start looking away immediately before picking up the object or as soon as they touch it. This allows the kids to focus on something new in their environment. However, the study found that children who later get diagnosed with autism have sticky attention even at 12 months age. This delay might be contributing to attention and joint attention.

The study was published in Behavioral Brain Research and studied 10 typical children and 20 siblings of children having autism under the age of 1 yr. The findings could lead to development of newer tests to diagnose and treat autism at an earlier age.

 Autism-conferring CNVs affect cognition even in typical peers

 A new study conducted by Hreinn Stefansson and colleagues has found that CNVs or copy-number variants of genomes that are found to increase risk for autism and schizophrenia affect cognition even in typical peers. The study showed that deletion of the 15q11.2 (BP1-BP2) chromosome affected the brain structure in a manner similar to that seen in the 1st episode of psychosis in patients with schizophrenia and dyslexia. The study found that typical adults having the chromosome had a history of dyscalculia (poor mathematics) and dyslexia (language difficulties).

The study conducted at the Central Institute of Mental Health, Germany found that children carrying high-risk genes manifest cognition difficulties and would do better in life with aid of early interventions. The study published in the prestigious journal Nature this month found that presence of copy number variants (CNVs) could increase the risk of having autism or schizophrenia manifold. Involving over a lac Icelanders, the study concluded that almost 1178 people carried at least one of the 26 genetic variants that are known to increase risk of autism or schizophrenia.

The study prompts for a deeper understanding of psychiatric terms and conditions as what we might be thinking to be a separate entity might be just the tip of a greater psychiatric iceberg.

Minnesota study links Somali population with high levels of autism

As reported briefly by Autism Daily Newscast a study by the University of Minneapolis has found high levels of autism in children born into the City’s Somalian population. The project began in July 2011, and was completed in December 2013.

Changes in the brain precede conditions such as autism and Schizophrenia

A new study as reported by Autism Daily Newscast has found that children with specific genetic variants could be susceptible  to multiple psychiatric impairments where early intervention therapies could be beneficial. The article is published in January’s NATURE journal.

 

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