Today’s office workers have the tendency and ability to be more sedentary than ever before thanks, in part, to advancements in technology, transportation, and entertainment. This sedentary lifestyle can have some negative health implications. A New York Time article, “Work. Walk 5 Minutes. Work“ written by Gretchen Reynolds highlights the importance of getting up and moving during the workday.
The following are Autism Speaks’ “Top Ten” 2014 stories in autism research based on readership and social media shares.
A meta-analysis of ten studies involving more than 1.2 million children affirmed that vaccines don’t cause autism. The analysis found that immunization with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was associated with a slight decrease in risk.
Researchers found a common pattern of disruption in the prenatal brain development of children who had autism. Their study, supported in part by Autism Speaks, analyzed the donated post-mortem brain tissue of 11 children with autism and of 11 unaffected children. In 10 out of the 11 ASD cases, they found recurring patches of abnormal development in layers of the cerebral cortex that form during prenatal development. By contrast, they found these patches in just 1 of the 11 children unaffected by autism. The researchers propose that early intervention may help the brain “rewire” around these disturbed areas.
This historic collaboration between Autism Speaks and Google is queueing up 10,000 anonymous autism genomes and making the data freely available for research anywhere, anytime. “We don’t know enough about autism. MSSNG is the search for the missing answers.”
In a small placebo-controlled trial, sulforaphane supplements eased autism symptoms in nearly half of 29 participants affected by autism. Experts called the results “promising” but cautioned that larger studies were needed to determine effectiveness and safety.
In a review of published studies, Princeton researchers said they found strong evidence that injury to the cerebellum during pregnancy or birth may be the leading nongenetic cause of autism. A small but crucial brain region, the cerebellum sits near the base of the skull and is best known for coordinating movement. During brain development, it plays a crucial role in directing cross wiring to other brain regions.
Researchers analyzing donated postmortem tissue from children affected by autism found that their brains had a significant surplus of connections between brain cells. These excess synapses appeared to result from a slowdown in the normal pruning process that occurs during brain development. The investigators then used a mouse model of autism to show that they could restore normal synaptic pruning and reduce autism-like behaviors with an experimental medication. They called for further research that might advance to a clinical trial involving people with autism.
Researchers linked a specific gene mutation to a newly identified subtype of autism. Experts hailed the finding as a crucial step toward using genomic testing to develop individualized treatments for autism spectrum disorder.
Another Autism Speaks “Baby Sibs” study found that even earlier differences in social attention – this time at 6 months – flag high risk for autism. The researchers called for the development and testing of very early interventions that engage at-risk babies in enjoyable activities that involve shared attention.
Researchers with the Autism Speaks Baby Sibling Research Consortium used eye-tracking technology to discover that babies who begin showing decreased interest in facial expressions at 8 months go on to develop more-severe autism symptoms by age 3. The authors expressed hope that this early red flag signaled an important window of opportunity for early intervention that improves outcomes.
The first meta-analysis of all peer-reviewed research on autism and gastrointestinal conditions showed that children with autism have four times the rate of GI problems as do other children. At the forefront of this research, Autism Speaks launched an unprecedented initiative funding major investigations into autism’s gut-brain connect.
Readers will find autism research news at: http://www.autismspeaks.org/research.
Six ways for parents to help their ADHD children enjoy holiday celebrations without behavior problems, family conflict, or ADD symptom flare-ups. Dr. Carol Brady’s article provides several tips to help children have a happy holiday season.
This article is available at http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/900.html
Happier Mornings for ADHD Households: Make-over your morning! Our expert tips can help ADHD adults, children, and even their parents get up and out the door on time, every time. Dr. Patricia Quinn’s article provides a number of helpful tips for those of us who struggle with getting out of the door on time in the morning.
This article is available at http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1019.htm
According to a recent research study in APA’s online journal, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, teens who play rated Mature, risk glorifying video games are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors (e.g., tailgating, speeding), be stopped by the police, experience increased rates of automobile accidents, and are more willing to drink and drive that than teens who do not play these games.
The study found that playing video games such as Spiderman 2, Grand Theft Auto III, and Manhunt was associated with increases in sensation seeking, rebellious behaviors, and self-reported risky driving. Higher ratings of sensation seeking and rebelliousness was more directly linked to risky driving habits, automobile accidents, police stops, and a willingness to drink and drive.
The study abstract is available at http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ppm/1/4/244/