Autism Symptoms

You can observe some Autism symptoms in a person as young as two years old and sometimes even younger. Here are the main Autism symptoms that will allow you to identify or wonder if your a member of your family, a friend or anyone else might be affected by this disorder. The severity of these Autism symptoms may vary as each individual is unique. That is why it is evaluated on a spectrum.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Treating Autism Symptoms with chiropractics?

Treating autism symptoms with chiropractics?
The College of Chiropractors, in study results released in its publication, "Clinical Chiropractic," found that adjustments to the spine can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with autism, which afflicts 1 million to 1.5 million Americans. One in every 166 American children is born with the condition, the Centers for Disease Control reports.
Now, according to some chiropractors, including Kerry Woods of Whittier, their spine-adjusting techniques can improve the nervous system, which in the case of people with autism can help improve their reflexes, increase the range of motion in the neck and improve other health problems.
"Most people think chiropractics treats pain and it doesn't," he said. "It improves the nervous system."
A complex developmental disability, autism can impair an individual in areas of social interaction, communication and understanding of emotional expression. The disorder affects each person differently and has varying degrees of severity, according to officials.
While Woods stressed that chiropractic care is not a cure for autism, he believes that spinal adjustments, especially upper cervical adjusting, could

help children with the disorder.
"It gets the nervous system to improve, which could help their situation," Woods said. "The most basic thing we're trying to do is get their nervous system to be less irritated."
Although Pico Rivera parent Ruth Villaneda is not completely sold on that idea, she believes it might help in some cases.
"I would assume it has something to do with the child feeling more relaxed after a session," said Villaneda, 33, whose 8-year-old son, Nicolas, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. "That would be something parents would have to observe over time in order to reach an educated conclusion."
She recommends parents of autistic children research their options for early intervention, whether or not those options include chiropractic therapy. In her own case, Villaneda said, she found early help for her son through speech therapy and muscle dexterity therapy.
Nicolas also attended an autism-focused preschool program at Maizeland Child Development Center in Pico Rivera.
Since then, Nicolas' degree of autism has improved, she said.
"He understands directions like any other student. He is extremely articulate, and he's able to express his needs and wants with his peers and here at home," Villaneda said. "Where he has challenges is when it comes to the pragmatics of speech. Every now and then he may start a conversation with you assuming that you know what he's talking about."
Each case is different, Villaneda said, and requires a program tailored to the child's needs.
"There are some interventions or therapies that will be successful with some children, but not with others," Villaneda said.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Can Autism Symptoms be reduced by diet?

London researchers have found a link between food and autism, a discovery that's creating a buzz in the world of medical research.
Their study is giving clout to a long-held claim by many parents who say they can alter their children's behaviour -- and lessen autistic symptoms -- by altering their diets.
"What parents are telling us about the digestive system complaints of these children has a great deal of merit," research director Dr. Derrick MacFabe said yesterday from Atlanta.
"But I want to show that there is some hope. This study allows us to examine things which have the potential to reduce the risk of the disease and possibly treat it.
"There is something common to diet, digestive system, immune system, behaviours and to brain function of autistic children."
The neuroscientist is director of the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group at the University of Western Ontario.
Named after the 10-year-old autistic daughter of David Patchell-Evans, the team was established three years ago to search for causes of the disease affecting one in 166 children.
Autism is a mental condition characterized by failure to communicate, difficulty in learning and self-stimulating or aggressive behaviour.
"I'm excited because for a long time, parents have said that what their kid eats makes a difference," said Patchell-Evans, the chief executive of GoodLife Fitness who established the research team with a sizable donation.
"Now we've moved from gossip to science and when you stop gossiping and move to a scientific foundation . . . then you can start some real progression because the medical community needs a scientifically rigorous study."
Like many parents of autistic children, Patchell-Evans took his daughter off wheat and dairy about a year after she was diagnosed on the basis of anecdotal evidence that it could help.
The difference, he said, was "night and day. She learns better, she pays better attention, her hyperactivity decreases, her sociability increases . . . and she sleeps through the night."
The research team began looking into a possible link between autism and diet after hearing many accounts from parents claiming their children had digestive problems.
Patchell-Evans' findings were similar to those of thousands of parents, said MacFabe, who studied whether digestive upsets could worsen autistic symptoms such as repetitive behaviours, social isolation and poor impulse control.
The team focused on a compound called propionic acid, present in some foods such as refined wheat and dairy products.
The acid is also produced by many types of digestive bacteria, particularly those associated with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, MacFabe said.
Scientists put the compound into the brains of lab rats, which became hyperactive and repetitive, showing signs of social impairment that resembles that in autistic patients.
Repeated exposure showed worsening behavioural effects, said MacFabe, and brain changes that resemble seizures that often co-exist with autism.
Then analysing the brains of these animals, researchers showed an inflammatory response closely resembling those found in a recent John Hopkins study on autistic brain material.
The UWO research team includes MacFabe, psychology chair Dr. Klaus-Peter Ossenkopp, Dr. Donald Cain, Dr. Martin Kavaliers, Dr. Elizabeth Hampson and Dr. Fred Possmayer.
MacFabe and other team members are in Atlanta to present their study at a major neuroscience conference.
Soon to appear in the prestigious biomedical journal Behavioral Brain Research, the study is garnering international attention for the team.
Some of the team's work has already been well received at a Montreal conference, the International Meeting of Autism Researchers.
The paper has also attracted the attention of the Brain Development and Disorders Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"We need this kind of integrative research to understand what is going on in autism and how the gut-brain axis is involved," said project director Dr. Martha Herbert, who will be collaborating with MacFabe to further examine this in human patients.
The next step for the UWO group is to work with Queen's University's Dr. Jeanette Holden, director of the Canadian-American Autism Research Consortium

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dr. Jennifer Elder, Autism researcher explains early Autism Symptoms

One in 166 kids born today will have autism, but some autistic children don't show signs as a baby. Many times, the child is 2 or even older before signs of the disorder are noticeable.
Little Trevor Schwarzkopf loves to swing just like any other 4-year-old. But Trevor isn't like every other little boy. He has autism.
"Trevor couldn't hold his own head up until he was 10 months old," his mother, Lin, said.
Just months after Trevor was born, his mother knew something was wrong -- she saw the signs early.

"The children just don't seem to be developing normally," Autism researcher Dr. Jennifer Elder, of University of Florida in Gainesville, said.
Elder says the younger the child, the harder the diagnosis. Early warning signs include if your 1-year-old doesn't babble or coo. And if they don't gesture by then, that's also sign. Children should say single words by 16 months and two-word phases by 24 months.
"There is another group that starts to develop normally and for some reason its like the light switch is turned off," Elder said.
That's what happened to 13-year-old David McCormac. He was 3 when his parents noticed something wrong.
"I noticed him saying certain words, and then he wouldn't say them anymore," his mother, Virginia, said.
Loss of language is one of the primary warning signs of autism. More red flags: If the child doesn't respond to their name and can't explain what they want.

Autism researcher Dr. Jennifer Elder says the younger the child, the harder the diagnosis.
"Rather than asking the parent for something, will take the parent's hand and use it like a tool to get something," Elder said.
Other signs: If your child can't follow directions, if they walk on their toes, avoid eye contact, and don't smile when smiled at.
"Go with your gut feeling," Elder said. "If they feel like something is wrong, get the help."
Children can be diagnosed as early as 6 months old, but normally autism is detected closer to 18 months of age.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Risperdal approved for Autism Symptoms in children and teens

Johnson & Johnson won U.S. approval to market its best-selling schizophrenia drug Risperdal for autism symptoms in children and teens.
The medication can be prescribed for children ages 5 to 16 to relieve signs of autism including aggression, temper tantrums, deliberate self-injury and rapid mood swings, the Food and Drug Administration said today in an e-mailed statement.
Risperdal, which had worldwide sales of $3.55 billion last year, is the first medication approved in the U.S. to treat autism symptoms, New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J said. It cannot cure autism. The market for antipsychotic treatments also includes Eli Lilly & Co.'s Zyprexa, AstraZeneca Plc's Seroquel, Pfizer Inc.'s Geodon and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Abilify.
``Having FDA approval means more physicians will have clear instructions on the label for how to use Risperdal for autism symptoms,'' said Peter Bell, president and chief executive officer of Cure Autism Now. ``It also means some patients who haven't been able to get insurance to pay for the treatment will now have an easier time getting the drug covered for autism.''
Doctors have been using Risperdal ``off label'' to treat autism symptoms in children for more than a decade, said Bell, whose Los Angeles-based advocacy group funds autism research.
Health insurers often limit prescription-drug coverage to uses of medications specified in FDA's approvals, which define how companies can market a treatment. Before, Risperdal was only approved for use as an antipsychotic and patients with autism didn't get coverage, Bell said.
Previous Approvals
``Insurance companies had argued that efficacy was not proven,'' Bell said. ``Now that Risperdal is approved for autism, they can't keep doing that.''
Shares of J&J fell 5 cents to close at $65.06 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They've risen 5.7 percent in the past 12 months.
Risperdal has been approved since 1993 for the short-term treatment of adults with schizophrenia, and since 2003 as a short-term therapy for adults with acute manic or mixed episodes associated with extreme mood swings. Once the FDA grants approval to a medicine for one use, doctors can prescribe it for other, so-called off-label indications.
The most common side effects of the use of Risperdal include drowsiness, constipation, fatigue and weight gain, the FDA said.
The antipsychotic medication can also reduce mood swings in autistic children, as well as tendencies toward self-injury and temper explosions, said James McCracken, professor of child psychiatry at the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a telephone interview today.
Prospective Remedies
``There is active interest in exploring other antipsychotics for this use,'' said McCracken. ``There have been some studies on Zyprexa and I have seen some reports of research starting on Abilify.''
About 1.5 million Americans have autism, a developmental disability that often appears in the first three years of life, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Children and teens with autism typically have difficulty with communication and social interaction.
Between three and six of every 1,000 children have the condition, and boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with it, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Most therapies and interventions for autism are designed to address specific problems, such as improving speaking and other communication skills or breaking obsessive and repetitive routines.
Research Results
Risperdal eased aggression by more than 50 percent in a study published in the Aug. 1, 2002, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. No drugs are approved in the U.S. for calming children with autism, and their behavior can make it difficult for them to benefit from educational and therapeutic programs, the researchers said.
The drug helped children who tried daily to harm themselves, as well as those with symptoms such as severe tantrums, agitation, unstable moods and aggression. The drug didn't treat the autism itself.
Doctors often prescribe an antidepressant medication to handle symptoms of anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Anti-psychotic medications are used to treat severe behavioral problems.
Other Treatments
Seizures can be treated with one or more anticonvulsant medications. Stimulant drugs, such as those used for children with attention deficit disorder, or ADD, are sometimes used effectively to help decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity.
``This approval should benefit many autistic children as well as their parents and other care givers,'' said Steven Galson, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. ``Our agency strongly encourages the development of appropriate pediatric labeling for adult drugs, and Risperdal is a welcome addition to the growing number of such products that have been shown to have an appropriate risk-benefit profile when tested in children.''