How long do you have to study an intervention to see if it works? Many scientists agree that it isn’t just about what happens in the short run, but if those interventions can be sustained for long periods of time. In the case of very early interventions, it is now clear that treatment for about a year can change the trajectory of symptoms so those improvements are sustained, maintained or lead to even further improvements for 6 years after the initial intervention has stopped. This important finding was hidden by the BBC getting the headline wrong and hiding the true value of the research at the end of the story. This week’s podcast outlines the contribution of parent-implemented intervention and research studying autism even before symptoms emerge in improving trajectories rather than just immediate outcomes. Happy Halloween!
While still rare, there are cases where an autism diagnosis is not made until adulthood. Why have these people been missed and what do they need? How did they go for so long without anyone recognizing that they needed help? A new study from the lab of Dr. Francesca Happe in the UK investigates the characteristics and features of people who were referred for a diagnosis after 18 years of age. Hear more about how they managed in this week’s podcast.
In addition to risks of anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders and other psychiatric issues, people with autism (and their siblings) show increased risk of substance abuse issues. This information comes from a large scandanavian registry study that included over 26,000 individuals with ASD. On this week’s podcast I discuss what this means for people with autism and their family members.
On October 14th, the Autism BrainNet hosted it’s first webinar around how brain tissue findings affect people with autism. First, Shafali Jeste, MD, from UCLA explained what seizures were, how prevalent they were in people with autism, and what the risk factors for them were in ASD. Next, David Menassa from Oxford University described recent findings in brain tissue which showed how glia cells, or the cells of the brain that support neurons, are affected in ASD and how epilepsy affects these changes. The introduction of the webinar is missing but only for a few seconds. Thank you to Drs. Jeste and Menassa for participating in such a great informational event and for everyone that registered.
Two studies recently add to an ever growing literature around undiagnosed siblings of individuals with autism. While in autism features there is evidence of the “broader autism phenotype” in female siblings, there is no evidence of elevated sensory symptoms in those with a brother or system with autism. The more we understand about the psychological and psychiatric features of siblings with autism, the more they can be supported to deal not only with their siblings challenges, but with theirs as well.
Parent training has a number of important uses in autism. For toddlers, parents help provide intervention strategies in a number of settings allowing skills to be generalized. In adolescence, parents can help implement behavioral rules that can manage non-compliant behaviors, aggressive, disruptive or impulsive behaviors. This week, research investigated the role of parent training plus and ADHD medication for ADHD symptoms in autism and the results are promising. Finally, a review of the new NIH funding in understanding the causes of autism is reviewed. You can also read this review at the ASF blogsite.