Category Archives: Autism

New Clues into the Cause of Autism

 

Recently published results of researchers at Yale University, studying the brain and autism, have highlighted the value of turning stem cells from autistic and “normal” patients into “organoids.”

Flora Vaccarino, MD, a professor of child psychiatry and neurobiology is the head of a team of researchers at Yale University, which took stem cells from patients and “grew” them into “organoids.”  These stem cells were actually grown into brain cells so that the researchers could compare those with “normal” brain cells.

brain_organoidsx519

Brain organoids made of stem cells from an autistic patient (right) contained more proteins (red and green) associated with a particular type of neuron than did organoids made from the patient’s father’s cells (left).

This research could help determine what causes autism in one out of 68 births.

Organoids grown from stem cells have been used to study the heart, the intestines, etc.  It is a very interesting new science, and which has been and will be used more frequently, to find that perhaps the diseases of today may not be the diseases of tomorrow.

[The organoid images for this post are from BioMedicine News.]

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

14 Wonderful, Unique and Funny Ways Kids Have Explained Disability

My granddaughter has Asperger’s on the Autism Spectrum. This post is a celebration of her and all the other kids who have what are known as “disabilities.” But, these kids DO NOT believe they are disabled. You will laugh at their senses of humor! 🙂

kraftycatcreations

-Fern

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http://themighty.com

At The Mighty, we know that sometimes kids can offer us a brand new perspective on the world. So, we decided to ask our readers who are parents to share some of the wonderful, unique and funny things their kids have said about their disability.

These were your answers:

1. “‘I’m not Autistic, I’m Cara.’ My now 9-year-old daughter said that when someone called her autistic instead of saying she had autism. Well played, baby girl. Well, played.” – Kim Vivanco

2. “My cousin says she has ‘Up syndrome’ because she’s happy, not sad.” – Cassie Collins

3. “My oldest son is in fourth grade…

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Important Brain-Immune System Link Discovery

“They’ll have to change the textbooks.”  This statement, by Kevin Lee, PhD, Chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience, is the result of a study at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.   The study, awarded to the UVA Health System and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has shown there are heretofore undetected lymphatic vessels connecting the brain to the immune system.

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA's discovery.

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA’s discovery.

Researchers knew there was a connection between the brain and immune system, but the vessels were completely hidden.  Now, there are many new angles to exploring neurological disease.

This is a stunning discovery.  It is difficult to explain how these vessels in the brain were overlooked when the lymphatic system was explored.  New avenues of discovery are now possible and beneficiaries might be MS, Autism, Alzheimer’s and maybe even ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)!

kipnis

Professor Jonathan Kipnis

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, stated, “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role.  [It’s] hard to imagine that these vessels would not be involved in a [neurological] disease with an immune component.”

Click here to read the complete report.

[image credit:  University of Virginia Health System]

[image of Dr. Kipnis from bingdotcom]

Vaccines cause autism, says confidential document from corrupt drug company

Where there’s smoke, there’s most likely fire.

Michael Whary, Autistic – Eagle Scout Project

Sixteen-year-old Michael Whary is an honors student taking advanced classes, plays the piano and trumpet, and is a member of his school’s track team.
And, as Michael readily acknowledges, he’s been diagnosed with Autism; in fact, the doctors told his parents he would never ride a bicycle nor drive a car.
Take a look at Michael now, at age 16!

 

Brain Inflammation – Its Similarity In Autism and ME

I follow “Onward Through the Fog,” a blog on blogspot, authored by Erica Verrillo, a talented person who suffers from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).  Her reports and research are top notch.

In this particular posting, Erica reports on the similarity of some findings affecting Autism and ME/CFS.  These findings have to do with brain inflammation.

A John Hopkins study acts as confirmation that excitotoxicity caused by chronic inflammation is central to autism.
activated microglia
Excitotoxicity has been put forth as a mechanism of ME/CFS by a number of clinicians and researchers, including Drs. Paul Cheney, Jay Goldstein, Morris and Maes, Martin Pall, and, most recently, Jarred Younger.

 

 

Leaning into my Hypocrisy

Being an autistic, especially an Aspie, can be very frustrating to that person and to all around who are experiencing frustration also. This post gives a little perspective.

Thirty Days of Autism

Leaninginwatermarked.jpgSometimes the things I know to be right and true, the things I aspire to, do not come easily to me in the tired-out end-of-the-day moments.

Those are the times when I may not be at my best: my patience may be worn thin, and I may feel the tempting lure of what seems like a shortcut… one that ends up just making things more complex and unruly.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I was rushing H to get to bed – and he was yelling at me for rushing him. It did not go particularly well…

But H called me on it:

I am trying to advocate for myself here. I need you to listen to me.

I am having a hard time listening because you are yelling at me and I don’t like to be yelled at.

Well, I feel I have to yell because you are…

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Does Autism Begin Before Birth?

Autism is a growing problem among toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults and older adults.  It can be during any of these life stages that symptoms are recognized for the first time.  Many times, symptoms are apparent, but if the people close to the autistic individual are not familiar with symptoms, and the professionals who are treating that person for things other than Autism, due to ignorance, the individual will not get the treatment necessary.  By “treatment necessary,” I mean the professional testing for diagnosis, and psychological assistance needed to help the autistic person cope with his/her surroundings, heightened sensitivities, and people and environment in general.

I refer to Autistic people as “Autistic people.”  They are not people “with Autism,” as you would refer to a person who has MS or AIDS or ME, as “with MS” or “with AIDS” or “with ME.”  Generally speaking, Autistic people do not have a medical or physically-disabling disease.  There are exceptions when the symptoms are severe; however, it all starts in the brain.

There is reason for me to believe that there might be some genetic influence in the development of Autism.  C’s onset is not the only one in my family on my daughter’s father’s side.

This subject is personal.  My granddaughter is an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is included in the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) list.  It used to be, until recently, recognized as a distinct and separate part of Autism, but has now been brought into the ASD fold.

It is not easy for me to be in my granddaughter’s company.  I will refer to her as “C.”  It is stressful for her and for me.  I don’t see her often.  My daughter is the only person in whose company C feels comfortable.  She was diagnosed at the age of 21.  She was not initially diagnosed by a professional.  She was diagnosed by my daughter, C’s mom!!  A few years ago, an article in the Reader’s Digest on Asperger’s listed the symptoms, and every one of the symptoms pointed to my granddaughter.  Up until then, she was “in the care of professionals” who thought she had emotional problems, and she was thus treated.

Treatment for autism needs to be very intensive, and so, early diagnosis and treatment are vitally important.  Given how complex the brain is, it can be very difficult to correct differences in brain development and function that start so early in life, especially when symptoms are not recognized and treated early enough to make an important difference in the individual’s, or C’s, life.

Autism Awareness Ribbon

Autism Awareness Ribbon

“We hear so much about autism risk factors during pregnancy and delivery.  But our kids aren’t born with autism, they develop it later, [don’t they?]  I don’t get it.”

Developmental-behavioral pediatrician Paul Wang, Autism Speaks senior vice president for medical research, gives his take on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), while attempting to correct misconceptions, including the statement above.

Dr. Paul Wang

‘ Dr. Paul Wang

“ ‘When does autism start?’ is one of the most profound questions we face in our field.  At present, autism can’t be reliably diagnosed until around 2 years of age. However, parents often notice symptoms before then. In fact, analysis of videotapes from children’s first-birthday parties shows that signs of autism are already present for many children at that age, even when parents don’t become concerned until months or years later.

‘Is it possible that autism starts even earlier?’ Research tells us ‘yes’.

In most medical conditions, the underlying processes are triggered before their signs and symptoms become obvious. Consider arthritis. The joints are breaking down and inflammation is setting in years before the aches and pains appear.  In dyslexia (reading disability), the symptoms aren’t obvious until a child starts learning how to read. But the symptoms are rooted in brain differences that are present much earlier in development.

A similar chain of events occurs in autism.  We know that toxic exposures during pregnancy and complications associated with delivery can disrupt brain processes before birth and shortly afterwards. Mutations in the genes associated with autism can affect how the brain develops and functions, starting well before birth.

Even though the outward symptoms of autism may not be apparent immediately after birth, the underlying brain differences are accumulating.  Sometimes the brain can compensate to make up for the disrupted processes.  Eventually though, if the disruption was sufficiently severe, the compensatory processes are no longer enough, and symptoms emerge.

This may likewise explain many cases of autistic regression, in which a young child seems to be developing normally, only to lose abilities, or regress, into autism. Perhaps the initial disruption in brain development continued worsening. Or perhaps the compensatory processes couldn’t keep up.”

 

Rare Footage of FDR at NIH

Thank you to Circulating Now for the following reblog with my comment:

President Roosevelt, in dedicating the new National Institute(s) Of Health Building, declared, “for research into deadly diseases, recent improvements in public health and health care, and hope that the research conducted at NIH would lead to new cures for and even the prevention of disease.” This declaration is still relevant today. Since I am an advocate for M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and Asperger’s (ASD-Autistic Spectrum Disorder), I am directing this reblog to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health @NIHDirector.

Circulating Now from NLM

By Rebecca C. Warlow

On October 31, 1940, just days before President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be elected to an unprecedented third term as President of the United States, he traveled to Bethesda to dedicate the National Cancer Institute and the new campus of what was then the National Institute of Health (NIH), before it would eventually become known in plural form—National Institutes of Health—as multiple units were established over subsequent years.

President Roosevelt stands at a podium surrounded by american flags at the top of the steps of a colonial brick building. President Roosevelt at NIH
National Library of Medicine #A030309

That late October afternoon, Roosevelt stood on the steps of the new main NIH building, ready to address a crowd of 3,000 people. Still relevant today, in a variety of contexts, are the subjects he discussed: the need for preparedness in light of war and for research into deadly diseases, recent improvements in public health and health care, and hope that the research conducted at NIH would lead to…

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A Word or Two on Autism

The following reblogged post is a beautiful commentary on what love is all about – love between mother and daughter who both suffer from different, daunting, problems. And yet, they find a common and loving ground on which to meet and share beautiful, rewarding moments.

kraftycatcreations

My daughter has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with depression and OCD. We did not learn until she was 21 about the Autism. (Thank you Reader’s Digest for the article that spelled it out for me.) By then, after being unsuccessfully treated for over ten years for anxiety and depression, she felt hopeless. As she stated to me, “None of the meds I have tried ever worked. Nothing changes and I will never be normal.”

Well she was right. She will never be “normal” (whatever that is), but she will always be herself! And that is perfect to me. I wish she could understand how much I love her and love herself just as much.

We work together with a therapist on life skills, and I believe I see glimpses of forward movement – or what the therapist and I see as such. To my daughter, it takes a lot of energy and…

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