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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Unique Brain Pattern Could Predict Autism in Youngest Children

Genetic changes are almost certainly behind many cases of autism, and the latest research suggests that some of those alterations may be contributing to more densely connected networks of brain nerves. A highly interconnected brain could mean that signals zooming from sensory nerves to other networks become too overwhelming to parse apart and process, which researchers believe is a hallmark of the autistic brain. And in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, Stanford University researchers report that this pattern of hyperconnectivity in some brain areas could provide a fingerprint for autism that helps doctors to recognize the condition at its earliest stages

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Monday, June 24, 2013

A recorded archive of the LEAD Center webinar "Promoting Employment -Introduction to Customized Employment and Customized Self-Employment"is now available.










View the archive on YouTube

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Camel milk works ̉·onders' with autistics

Camel milk, the white gold of the desert, has been shown to alleviate allergies and boost the immune system — but now Dubai scientists have conducted research showing it can improve the condition of autistic persons. In preliminary research published by a group of seven scientists from Dubai in the Journal of Camel Practice and Research, subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) drank 500 millilitres of camel milk each day over eight weeks — leading to improved behaviour, alertness, social interaction and less hyperactivity. “(The parents) loved it! Imagine their kids were more alert, had better sleep patterns, bowel movements — all this was improved,” said lead researcher Renate Wernery, from Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.

 Read more here. 

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Just In: Aspergers Prevalence Predicted To Fall To Zero

Today, I was one of four people speaking on Forum with Michael Krasny, on KQED (Northern California Public Radio; listen here). The big news and the show’s focus is that Aspergers (and the less-mentioned, PDD-NOS [pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified) will no longer be diagnostic entities in the DSM-V, the guide clinicians theoretically use to diagnose these developmental conditions. As the show’s site says: The American Psychiatric Association voted this weekend to remove the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome from the so-called bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. People with Asperger’s will now more likely be diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder. The APA says the change will lead to more accurate diagnoses for people with autism — but critics say removing the diagnosis may result in fewer people getting the services and care they need.

 Read more here. 

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why Kids With Autism May Avoid Eye Contact

Children with autism often have difficulty making eye contact, and now a new study suggests this may be due in part to how their brains process visual information, rather than being purely a social deficit. In the study, children with autism showed activity over a larger area of the brain's cortex when an image was placed in the periphery of their visual field, compared with when the image was placed in the center of their visual field. The opposite was true in children who did not have the disorder. When a child with autism avoids eye contact, "we are very much inclined to interpret this as a social deficit," said study researcher John Foxe, a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "But it may be a much more fundamental issue," stemming from a reduced ability early in life to control the muscles that govern eye movements, he said.

Read more here.

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