This week, ASF intern Priyanka Shah provides an 8 minute tutorial on the reading and interpretation of scientific literature. It’s worth the listen. It goes over what to pull from an abstract, what the different sections tell you about the study, where to get the paper if you can’t find it, and what are the most important parts. Here are some additional resources:
On request, ASF summer intern Evan Suzman produced this week’s podcast on new technology and how it is being used for good in people with autism. He looks at Google Glass, wearable biomonitoring devices and a video game that can help teach social skills. These new technologies can complement those like the iPad which are already in wide use. This was a topic that many listeners wanted to hear more about. Some of the technology is still experimental, but promising.
In this week’s podcast we explore autism and autism-esque symptoms in family members, particularly siblings. Siblings can show mild features, called the broader autism phenotype, all the way to an increased risk of mental illness including emotional and behavioral problems, ADHD and tic disorder. This week we revisit the study of a large number of siblings in Finland and a new project looking at milder impairments in a smaller number of siblings with an older brother or sister with autism. Also – as a special treat, highlights from the DUP15 meeting in Maryland this past week.
You asked – our summer intern Priyanka Shah delivered! This week’s podcast is one on a topic suggested by listeners. She describes the risk factors and treatments for aggressive behaviors in autism. Priyanka looked at research and listened to clinicians who have experience treating aggressive behaviors in autism. In this podcast, description of Functional Behavioral Analysis plus pharmacological treatments are provided.
Here are some additional resources:
Last week, the Autism Society (www.autism-society.org) held it’s 48th annual meeting in it’s 50th year of existence. In addition to hearing an update on how people with autism and their families have benefited from autism research over the past decade, participants contributed to panels on experiences of adults, behavioral techniques, technology, the the history of autism. On this week’s podcast, hear about two of the sessions – how to teach social interaction on the iPad and how to be an effective advocate.
This week’s podcast summarizes a new neural stem cell study and a recent review article on IGF-1 treatment in developmental disorders. IGF stands for Insulin Growth Factor and is essential for generation of new neurons, and shaping and health of existing neurons. Patients with autism spectrum disorder are already starting to be treated with IGF-1, and now there is even more evidence validating it as a target. If you are interested in participating in a research trial at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine using IGF-1, call the Seaver Center at 212-241-0961.
On Monday the 1st, a consensus statement from over 50 expert scientists was published that collectively emphasized the link between toxic chemicals and neurodevelopment disorders like autism, learning disabilities and ADHD. In this podcast, we want to help you understand why this is relevant for autism. If you want to learn more about this statement and read about specific actions that can be taken to minimize exposures to these chemicals, go to www.projecttendr.com. We will also be having a live chat about it on July 11th at 2PM EST.
This week’s podcast is inspired by a new study in PNAS thatlooked at the role of methylation of the oxytocin receptor in social behavior in people without autism. Together with studies of the brains of people with autism, it suggests that filling the brains with oxytocin may not be the best approach for treating social impairments. Instead, compounds that turn on or turn off the genes that control oxytocin may be more appropriate, and it also may help explain variability in why some people respond to oxytocin treatment, and why others do not. Also, scientific technology has a new way of studying the influence of the environment on brain development.
Studies looking at interventions in autism have been plagued with issues of what treatments will work best in what people, and use of instruments to detect change that were never designed for use in people with autism. Recently, a new instrument was developed to look at improvements in social – communication in autism. This the first of it’s kind and will lead to better interventions to help people with ASD. Also, new research is using biological markers of autism to look at the effectiveness of interventions. The findings are still early, but promising and will help find out what types of treatment are best in which people.
As college and university semesters come to a close, new research is determining the factors that lead to success in college for the individuals with autism but without intellectual disability. They include: help with time management, relationships (both peer and romantic), self-advocacy and organizational skills. Students, parents and educators agree on what is needed, but institutions are struggling to make sure they are available.