Researchers recently discovered that an inhibitory brain receptor triggers synaptic pruning in adolescence. Now, a new article shows that drugs that selectively target these receptors can alter synapse number, with possible implications for the treatment of autism and schizophrenia.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. In 2013, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. The prevalence of autism in the US has increased ten-fold in the last 40 years (partly due to improved diagnosis and awareness). Currently, around one in 68 U.S. children are on the autism spectrum; 3 million people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide currently suffer from autism.
According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, autism spectrum disorder and anxiety often show themselves in similar ways, causing social avoidance or fear of change, so diagnosing anxiety is “inherently challenging.”
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have linked mutations without a single gene to autism. The gene, also associated with a rare tumor syndrome, is found in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).
A parent-led intervention is the first to have lasting benefits for children with severe autism. That’s the message from a study following up on a trial to see whether expert feedback could improve social communication in young children with autism.
Serial bus-and-train thief’s Asperger’s syndrome won’t land him placement in mental health court, lawyer says
Darius McCollum, the notorious bus and train thief who is suing the city for $15 million for not receiving proper mental health treatment while in jail, was denied placement in Brooklyn’s mental health court.
A new study showed improvement in the social and communication skills of children with autism using a signature approach pairing the recitation of Shakespeare’s rhythmic language with physical gesture.
Now De La Cruz and other parents — who say their children with autism are legally entitled to such treatment — are butting heads with Texas officials. And without Medicaid coverage, they must either forgo the therapy or find a way to pay for individual insurance plans that help pick up the costs.
“Autistic people are cold and feel no empathy.” True? It is a pervasive stereotype, but when analyzed through the lens of science, reality turns out to be quite different. According to a study at SISSA, carried out in collaboration with the University of Vienna, when autistic people are placed in “moral dilemma” situations, they show Read more
“Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say,” read the flat and emotionless voice of the computer. The author of these words, Tracy Thresher, is a 42-year-old man living with autism.
Part of the reason misinformation and rumors thrive about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the insidious way the condition manifests itself. All of which brings us to an article in Spectrum, a site devoted to covering autism research, about a placental test for autism that is gaining a lot of attention — and not in Read more
Typing expands communication horizons for people with autism.
“Switched On” is an eye-opening book with a radical message, but because Mr. Robison is who he is (logical, direct), he addresses even the most provocative questions unprovocatively.
The Navy is paying for research into an app to screen for autism in the hopes that it could eventually be tweaked to look for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Matthew Garnett was sent to a secure unit for six weeks. He stayed there for half a year as mental health services struggled to cope.
Manuel Diaz always knew he was different. Diagnosed with autism at 16, Diaz’s transition into college was marked by depression as he searched for a place where he could belong.
Most major insurance carriers in the state have done away with PPO plans and have replaced them with options that provide no coverage for out-of-network care, such as HMOs. The new, narrower networks often mean families are losing access to therapists and providers they have used for their autistic children.
This is where we, at the MHD Editor’s Blog, will be recapping the past month’s policy updates, news and trends. So let’s get started! In early January, President Obama passed gun control measures, including additional background checks and a $500 million investment to increase access to mental health. In an impassioned announcement for this executive Read more
In early January, as political pundits picked up where they left off after the holiday, analyzing the ins and outs of the primary races, the Huffington Post published an article praising the language used in Hillary Clinton’s Autism initiative. Huffington Post contributor Emily Willingham makes note of the basics outlined in the briefing, including an Read more
Better detection rates for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) mean the chances of having a colleague with the diagnosis, or being diagnosed yourself, have never been so high. But what’s it like to be “working while ASD”?
Hillary Clinton’s got an autism plan, the only candidate so far to release one.
Hillary Clinton wants to require Florida and other states to require insurers to cover autism treatment, part of a plan to address the disorder she will unveil Tuesday in Iowa.
Ryan’s reputation arrived before he did: brilliant, oppositional, angry, a general pain in the butt, and autistic. Ryan’s intelligence is remarkable, but much of the time it opens him up to the turmoil of knowing far more than he can manage emotionally.
Society’s failure to embrace the idea of neurodiversity and accept people who think differently might be limiting human potential, says a new book.