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Autism

NEWS
April 28, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Autism treatment works best the earlier a child is diagnosed and begins therapy. A new screening test for babies at their 1-year-old check-up may be reliable enough to be used in pediatricians' offices around the world, said the authors of a review of the method. The screening test was performed on 10,479 1-year-olds in San Diego. The babies were the patients of 137 different pediatricians. Parents or guardians gave their permission for the babies to be screened. Using a checklist that took about five minutes to complete, doctors asked questions about the child's use of eye contact, sounds, words, gestures, object recognition and other forms of communication.
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HEALTH
December 7, 2009 | By Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan >>>
James Coman's son has an unusual skill. The 7-year-old, his father says, can swallow six pills at once. Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, he had been placed on an intense regimen of supplements and medications aimed at treating the disorder. He was injected with vitamin B12 and received intravenous infusions of a drug used to leach mercury and other metals from the body. He took megadoses of vitamin C, a hormone and a drug that suppresses testosterone. This complex regimen -- documented in court records as part of a bitter custody battle over the Chicago boy between Coman, who opposes the therapies, and his wife -- may sound unusual, but it isn't.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
An immune system that ensures survival is one of the earliest gifts from a mother to her child. But sometimes, that gift can be a Trojan horse, sending soldiers that are programmed to attack the body's own antigens into the fetus, where they interfere with brain development. The result is maternal autoantibody related (MAR) autism, which may account for as much as 23% of the cases of that spectrum of brain disorders. Now UC Davis researchers believe they have found the targets of these maternal autoantibodies, a potential step in the path toward preventive treatment for women contemplating pregnancy.
HEALTH
August 7, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Different genes may be responsible for causing autism in boys than in girls, researchers said last week, a finding that may help explain why the condition is more common in boys. And, writing in the journal Molecular Genetics, they said other genes might play a role in the early onset and late onset forms of autism.
NEWS
November 3, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Doctors, researchers, therapists and the general public should reconsider their biases against people with autism, according to a psychiatrist/neuroscientist who studies the disorder. You may not think you are biased against autistics, but you probably are, writes Dr. Laurent Mottron of the University of Montreal in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature . After all, he was too - and he's an expert in the field. Like most people, if he found a difference between autistic people and members of the general population, he assumed the gap represented some sort of defect - even when there was no evidence to suggest that it was. Many of his colleagues continue to think this way, Mottron writes: “For instance, researchers performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
SCIENCE
May 31, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
How an autistic baby's brain fires up in response to words at 2 years of age may predict how well that child will learn language and even think and behave later in life, a new study shows. The research, published this week in the online journal PLOS One, suggests that a “social gateway” based in the brain impedes not only early language processing, but a broader spectrum of cognitive development, including the ability to adapt behavior to circumstances, according to Patricia Kuhl, who studies early language and brain development at the University of Washington's Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences.
NATIONAL
January 11, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Researchers at 11 universities will create a databank of DNA samples from 3,000 autism patients in an effort to identify different kinds of autism and develop treatments. The University of Michigan will lead the three-year, $10-million effort funded by the Simons Foundation, the school announced this week. The New York philanthropic group aims to spend $100 million long-term to find a cure for the disorder that affects one in 200 children.
OPINION
June 15, 2003
Re "Brother's Wish to Help His Sister Is Winning Formula in Essay Contest," June 11: Daniel Boyce has accomplished a great deal toward curing one of the most serious aspects of autism. His story and the picture of him with his beautiful sister Suzie will go a long way to dispel the erroneous notion that persons with autism are not capable of affection or family relationships. Theresa DeBell Beverly Hills
SCIENCE
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
French scientists have identified genetic mutations in a small number of children with autism that could provide insight into the biological basis of the disorder. They sequenced a gene called SHANK3 in more than 200 people with autism spectrum disorders, which include autism, and found mutations in the gene in members of three families, according to the report in the journal Nature Genetics.
SCIENCE
September 20, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A government agency has dropped plans for a study of a controversial autism treatment that critics had called an unethical experiment on children. The National Institute of Mental Health said in a statement Wednesday that the study of the treatment -- called chelation -- has been abandoned. The agency decided the money would be better used testing other potential therapies, the statement said. The study had been on hold because of safety concerns after another study published last year linked a drug used in the treatment to lasting brain problems in rats.
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