Welcome. This our third issue of our newsletter
"Spectrum" that is being provided on quarterly basis
to update you information on the activities of
the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research
Program under the direction of Dr. Antonio
Hardan. We appreciated the feedback that we've
received after our first issue and will look forward
to hear your input about this and future issues.
We are hoping that you will find this newsletter
helpful and informative. Please feel free to forward
it to families and friends.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Educational Series for Parents
The Stanford Autism Center at LPCH is offering a 10 part program, focused on diagnosis, treatment, and services, for parents of children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Sessions are held at 401 Quarry Road on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:00pm for $5 per meeting. Sessions are on a drop-in basis and parents may join at any time for individual sessions.
Register at http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu
Issue 3, january 2010
Blood Mercury Concentrations in CHARGE Study Children with and without Autism (Hertz-Picciotto et al., 2010; Department of Public Health Sciences).
Higher blood mercury (Hg) levels in persons with autism have been reported. This study compared blood Hg concentrations in children with autism or autism spectrum disorder (AU/ASD) and typically developing (TD) controls, and determined the role of fish consumption in differences observed. The Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study enrolled children 2-5 years of age. After diagnositc evaluation, three groups were analyzed: AU/ASD, non-AU/ASD with developmental delay (DD), and TD controls. Mothers were interviewed about household, medical, and dietary exposures. Fish consumption strongly predicted Hg concentration. AU/ASD children ate less fish. After adjustment for fish and other Hg sources, blood levels in AU/ASD children were similar to those of TD children. DD children had lower blood Hg concentrations in all analyses. Dental amalgams in children with gum-chewing or teeth grinding habits predicted higher levels. After accounting for dietary and other differences in Hg exposures, total Hg in blood was neither elevated nor reduced in CHARGE study preschoolers with AU/ASD compared with unaffected controls.
Randomized, controlled trial of an intervention for toddlers with autism: the Early Start Denver Model (Dawson et al., 2010; University of North Carolina).
This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), a comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention for improving outcomes of toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Forty-eight children diagnosed with aSD between 18 and 30 months of age were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (1) ESDM intervention, which is based on developmental and applied behavioral analytic principles and delivered by trained therapists and parents for 2 years; or (2) referral to community providers for intervention commonly available in the community. Compared with children who received community-intervention, children who received ESDM showed significant improvements in IQ, adaptive behavior, and autism diagnosis. Two years after entering intervention, the EDSM group on average improved 17.6 standard score points compared with 7.0 points in the comparison group relative to baseline scores. The ESDM group maintained its rate of growth in adaptive behavior compared with anormative sample of typically developing children. Children who received ESDM also were more likely to experience a change in diagnosis from autism to pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, than the comparison group. This is the first randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate the efficacy of a comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention for toddlers with ASD for improving cognitive and adaptive behavior and reducing the severity of ASD diagnosis.
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