In the developing brain, scientists find roots of neuropsychiatric diseases

By Bill Hathaway The most comprehensive genomic analysis of the human brain ever undertaken has revealed new insights into the changes it undergoes through development, how it varies among individuals, and the roots of neuropsychiatric illnesses such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. The multi-institutional analysis of almost 2,000 brains integrates the complex choreography of brain development and function and was published Dec. 14 in 11 studies appearing in a special edition of the journal […]

Loving Someone With Epilepsy

When Zayan first told me that he has epilepsy, I didn’t believe him.  “You mean seizures, right?”  I was embarrassed at how much I didn’t know. Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that triggers recurrent seizures. It can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy when they have had two or more seizures that are not caused by another medical condition such as a high […]

Another study finds no link between autism and measles, mumps and rubella vaccine

By Reuters A large new study finds kids who got no childhood vaccines were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine isn’t associated with an increased risk of autism, even among kids who are at high risk because they have a sibling with the disorder, a Danish study suggests. Concerns about a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism have […]

Two Possible New Ways to Treat Silent Seizures in Children

By Julie Langelier As early as 3 months of age, infants with a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome start having convulsive seizures, during which their arms and legs jerk repeatedly. As they become toddlers, another type of seizure begins to appear. These seizures do not cause obvious convulsions, but disrupt consciousness and can occur more than 50 times every single day. A challenge to detect and difficult to treat, these non-convulsive seizures often […]

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 […]