New Mapping Method Focuses on Attention Issues For ASD and ADHD

Autism Research
Autism is often linked to Attention Deficit because hyperactivity and repetitive motions and behaviors are common in both ASD and ADHD. Approximately 80 percent of children diagnosed with autism also have ADHD. A new type of charting method shows how attention problems come from brain connection patterns.
 
Researchers used a new type of charts that showed how changed brain connection patterns could result in attention issues.
 
The study was done by taking data from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort from 2011, accumulating the brain scans from 519 people, between the ages of 8 and 22. Twenty-five of the scans came from people with ADHD.
 
The results showed that 15 connection patterns were found throughout the brain scans with various levels of synchrony. These connections make up the intrinsic connectivity networks, which is vital to the growth during a person’s youth. Each scan was scored and put on a growth chart. They were also given a score based off how each pattern was developing for their age.
 
Attention tests were also given to the study participants, by pressing keys according to what letter or number was composed on a computer screen. This allowed to researchers to conclude that have underdeveloped brain connections did not succeed in the test.
 
The researchers’ final conclusions of the study were that young people with 3 out of the 15 underdeveloped brain connection patterns doubled the chance of having ADHD.
 
This study was the first to use this type of charting method to find how the brain networks can link to disorders or conditions.
 
For more information, check out the sources for this blog post, NCBI and Spectrum News. Photo’s source:
Spectrum News.
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ASD and Autism Found New Algorithm Sorting Method

Autism and Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder, commonly abbreviated to ADHD, share similar behavioral patterns, such as repetitive behavior and hyperactivity, as well as similar genes. A recent study, geared toward both autism and ADHD, showed how a new method of finding treatments is taking a different angle on the matter.

A new method for finding treatment centers on a child’s abilities as opposed to diagnosis, allowing for more personal treatments to be found. The method’s source is a computerized algorithm that differentiates ADHD and autism patients, an issue in the past for caregivers. They are separated based off of their cognitive skills such as working short-term memory, self-control, and the ability to change your thought process from task to task, called mental flexibility.

The researchers analyzed the skills of 97 children on the autism spectrum, 86 diagnosed with ADHD, and 139 averagely developing children. All participants were between the ages of 8 and 13. Their skills were found through parental surveys such as the Child Behavior Checklist and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. The researchers looked at the children’s impulsive activity, inattention, hyperactivity, and how they respond emotionally.

Through the computer algorithm, the children were sorted into three groups. One group had low mental flexibility and emotional control, another had low working memory, and the last group had children that were impulsive, hyper, and inattentive. All groups had a mix of ADHD, autism, and control participants.

The study was lead by Chandan Vaidya, professor of psychology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“Diagnostic boundaries don’t work because there is so much overlap [in symptoms]. What if, instead, we start segregating people in terms of their functional properties?” Vaidya said. “All of us have things that we are better at and things that we are worse at. The psychopathology of autism and ADHD is just sitting on top of that normal variation.

The researchers also used a fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging, to compare the scans of children’s brains as their executive functions were used. They analyzed 21 children with autism, 15 with ADHD, and 48 average controls. They found that the brain activity was different for participants in the function based categories or groups.

“Hopefully, the day will come where we no longer have diagnostic categories, and we focus instead on the child’s domain of dysfunction,” Vaidya says.

For more information, check out the source for this blog post, Spectrum News.

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Making Emergency Rooms More Autism-Friendly

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Visiting a hospital can be a traumatic ordeal for anyone, but for an individual on the autism spectrum, it can be unbearably stressful. Many autistic children and adults suffer from high sensitivity to lights and sounds, making an emergency room overwhelming. With the number of autism diagnoses growing, a small but growing number of hospital emergency rooms across the U.S. have begun implementing rooms that accommodate those on the spectrum.

Fareed Fareed, medical director at HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, New York, states, “There’s a growing need. It’s ensuring you’re meeting the needs of a segment of the population”. Accommodations range from better training of personnel, dimmer lighting, quieter waiting rooms, and calming objects for children, such as toys and electronic devices.

Furthermore, some facilities are adapting their treatment procedures. For example, the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando specifically performs their routine procedures in a designated room for children with autism (once approved by their parent). This enables doctors to tailor their approach on how to treat the child. Physicians and nurses utilize photographs and drawings to help the children describe how they feel, the children can write out their feelings, or place their illness/pain on a scale.

Many emergency rooms have seen success with these accommodations, and they are now being made in the radiology department and operating rooms. Research shows that children with autism are more likely to seek health treatment in the ER. Further, the number of autistic adults using the ER as increased in recent years. Edward Jauch, director of emergency medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina states, “People on the autism spectrum utilize the healthcare system more often. They disproportionately are using our services”. From a cost standpoint, it makes sense to breakdown the proper ways to treat these individuals more effectively.

For more information, please click here.

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Mice Study Sheds Light on Angelman Syndrome

(photo: www.angelmanbehaviors.org)

(photo: www.angelmanbehaviors.org)

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.
Written byNicole Caropolo
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Telehealth is Efficient for ASD

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.”

 

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

Written by Nichole Caropolo

Posted in Autism News, Autism News | Comments closed