Thank you to Sonia Agarwal, smart, efficient and eloquent ASF summer intern for putting together a summary of resources and services and rights for adolescents and young adults with autism, focusing on those who are not intellectually disabled. They include resources for transitioning into college and support programs at college, with tips and hints along the way. Sonia has a younger brother with autism and is committed to helping families access the help they need.
Every time you turn around there is another study contradicting the last on antidepressant use and autism risk. An answer on why there are differences across different studies may be found in a new analysis published by University of Washington and SSM Dean Medical Group in Wisconsin this week. They showed that autism severity (not risk) is increased only with both a likely gene disruption AND following antidepressant exposure in pregnancy together. This suggests a double hit model similar to other complex neuropsychiatric disorders like depression. It also suggests that findings from other chemicals, like PBDE’s, may be dependent on gene / environment interactions too. After all, a new systematic review showed PBDE’s during pregnancy are bad for the IQ of the child. This provides insight on ASD risk and subtype given the multitude of possible genetic / environmental combinations out there.
This week’s podcast is a throwback from a few months ago which highlighted research using brain tissue of individuals with ASD. To understand the brains of people with autism, researchers need to look at the brains of people with autism. This means people with autism and their families need to learn more about this option so they can be prepared when the time comes. Listen to the podcast to hear how brain tissue research is helping scientists understand autism better, and making a difference in the lives of people with autism now.
Parents of children with seizures are desperate to find something that will at the very least reduce the frequency of seizures in their kids. Answers came in an unlikely place two months ago with the publication of a randomized clinical trial showing that seizures could be reduced with use of cannabinoids in kids with a condition called Dravet’s Syndrome. Cannabinoids are one of the chemicals found in marijuana, and there are anecdotal reports on the use of marijuana or cannabinoids to treat autism. Unlike THC, CBD (cannabinoids) do not cause euphoria or any psychoactive effects and are used exclusively for medicinal reasons. This podcast summarizes current literature and also explains why it is so hard to study cannabinoids, including federal and state regulations and what needs to happen to open up this field of science