Epilepsy study points to promising new uses for existing drugs

Drug repositioning—taking known drugs and identifying new applications for them—is an attractive concept for speeding up the process of bringing drugs to human testing for unmet medical needs. In a new study, published online in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, University of Iowa researchers led by Alexander Bassuk, MD, PhD, UI professor of pediatrics and neurology, use a multidisciplinary strategy that combines gene expression profiling and bioinformatics to identify a list of around 90 drugs, all of […]

2,000 Human Brains Yield Clues To How Genes Raise Risk For Mental Illnesses

Artificial intelligence model improves prediction six-fold It’s one thing to detect sites in the genome associated with mental disorders; it’s quite another to discover the biological mechanisms by which these changes in DNA work in the human brain to boost risk. In their first concerted effort to tackle the latter, 15 collaborating research teams of the National Institutes of Health-funded PsychENCODE Consortium (link is external) leveraged statistical power gained from a large sample of about […]

Autism Mutations Make the Brain Less Flexible

Summary: Study sheds light on how SETD5, a gene associated with ASD, alters behavior and may lead to less flexibility in the brain. Source: Institute of Science and Technology Austria. About 1% of patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability have a mutation in a gene called SETD5. Scientists have now discovered what happens on a molecular level when the gene is mutated in mice, and how this changes the mice’s behavior. This […]

Parent’s rights over children in medical care: myths debunked

Being responsible for your babies often feels like a lifelong, full time job, whether they are two or thirty two. While the responsibilities tend to be obvious and overt, in some situations, your rights as a parent or guardian are a little more mystified. In recent, high profile brain injury cases, the rights of a parent and their wishes have been the subject of conversation and debate. With much misinformation flying around, here is some […]

Exceptional Healthcare

by Rose Warman Establishing exceptional healthcare teams for people diagnosed with severe/profound intellectual developmental disabilities (S/PIDD) in critical care facilities can be difficult. A diagnosis of S/PIDD can severely complicate recovery, specifically due to the individual’s inability to verbally communicate and/or behavior challenges. My son, Derek, diagnosed with S/PIDD, landed in the hospital when his community home manager Mary noticed he wasn’t eating or walking, appeared uncomfortable when seated and was overly agitated. He had […]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Connie Anderson, Ph.D. IAN Community Scientific Liaison Many behavioral therapies have been used to treat young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including Applied Behavior Analysis and Pivotal Response Training. Older children, teens, and adults with ASD may benefit from another intervention with a behavioral component: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Beyond behavior Therapies based on the science of behavior have been effective for people of all ages, and are an essential item in any mental […]

Understanding Tourette Syndrome

The more people know, the better equipped they are to improve the lives of everyone living with Tourette. People living with Tourette syndrome (TS) often face challenges, such as co-occurring conditions including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), discrimination, exhaustion, bullying, and uncertainty. Despite these challenges, many people with Tourette are high achievers, resilient, and lead rich and fulfilling lives. An accurate diagnosis, treatment, and support for individuals and their families are the key to […]

Autism prognosis: Parental genes ‘incredibly useful’

By Catharine Paddock PhD While one main risk gene may make an individual susceptible to autism or another neurodevelopmental disorder, it is the whole collection of associated changes in their DNA that decides whether they develop it and how severe it becomes. This was the conclusion that researchers arrived at after analyzing developmental, cognitive, and genome sequencing data of hundreds of people with known risk genes together with that of their parents and siblings. They […]

Signs of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The following are considered “red flags” that may indicate a child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months • No babbling by 12 months • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months • No words by 16 months • No […]

Prenatal Tdap Vaccination Not Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Study

A study of women who received a Tdap vaccination during pregnancy found no increase in risk that their children would later be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The study, “Prenatal Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis Vaccination and Autism Spectrum Disorder,” will be published in the September 2018 issue of Pediatrics. Researchers reviewed the records of 81,993 pairs of diverse pregnant women and their children who were born between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2014, at […]