Telehealth is Efficient for ASD (Source: Science Daily)

Mice Study Sheds Light on Angelman Syndrome
There are a variety of disorders and conditions on the autism spectrum, as well as several that have overlapping symptoms with ASD. A new study focuses on an autism-related genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome.
The study focused on the seizure aspect of the disorder, as ninety percent of children with Angelman Syndrome experience seizures.
A mutated or complete lack of a specific group of neurons, called UBE3A, is linked to the disorder. The researchers aimed to pinpoint how the neurons, or lack of, can influence the brain network, which could be resulting in the seizures.
“If we can home in on how UBE3A loss is altering circuitry, I think that will give us more clues as to what therapeutics will help,” said lead researcher and professor of neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Benjamin Philpot.
Using mice as test subjects, Philpot and his fellow researchers found that the rodents that lacked the gene also had a dwindling level of inhibitory activity. The mice were put into sets based off how the scientists deleted the gene from their neurons, those that increase brain activity, and those that decrease it. Seizures from the inhibitory neurons, the ones that decreased activity, were triggered in the mice by specific convulsant drug or loud noises.
 A sleeping drug was shown to improve the motor coordination problems in the mouse with Angelman Syndrome.
The mice with the mutated inhibitory neurons were also shown to have issues in brain activity, evident from electroencephalography. This resulted in seizures that were more severe than those that completely lacked the neurons. Fifteen percent of the mice with these mutated neurons died before they were ever three months old.
For more information, check out the source for this blog post, Spectrum News.

With today’s technology, we are able to do remarkable things. It used to be unheard of to get an accurate medical diagnosis on the computer, and now it’s a growing trend. Telemedicine had been the focus of a recent study that highlights the benefits of ASD patients connecting to health care specialists through their computer or smartphone.

The University of Iowa did a study to show how parents with children on the autism spectrum could discuss their child’s symptoms with a specialist through the computer.

Telemedicine is not only a more cost-efficient choice for ASD families than in person visits, but it also allows families without easy access to a doctor’s or specialist’s office, like in rural areas.

The study was done by 107 participants with autism spectrum disorder, or other developmental disabilities, between the ages of 21 months to 6 years, who were diagnosed and treated between 1996 and 2014. Fifty-two children were treated by a consultant in their home between 1996 and 2009, and twenty-three  participants who were treated between 2009 and 2012 were examined using telehealth at a clinic. The remaining thirty-two children, treated between 2012 and 2014, used functional communication training, referring to telehealth coaching at their house.

The researchers were able to conclude that the parents using telehealth were efficiently trained in ABA procedures, applied behavior analysis, and were able to pass their knowledge on to other family and friends. This is due to the fact that the child was comfortable in their home and where their symptoms were most potent.

The study was led by Scott Lindgren, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and he emphasized why telehealth was so vital to the future of ASD.

There are a limited number of professionals with the training and expertise needed to work with these children, which means a lot of families can’t get access to the services they need,” Lindgren says. “That’s the situation we have in Iowa.”



For more information, visit the source for this blog post, Science Daily.

Written by Nichole Caropolo

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