The science – 2

  Autism communication trial

A specific research programme at the University of Manchester, UK.        Six years after parents were trained to understand and interact with their preschool children better, researchers observed improvements.

An autistic child may not interact with his or her parents at all.       In this trial, when a child eventually did offer a toy or made a noise that could be interpreted as a request, the incident was played back on video and the parent encouraged to respond.       Parents parcticed what they had lerned at home every day.       Click icon for article.

 Overlap between ADHD and Autism

Click icon for an introduction.       For a more thorough treatment see this article.

Until as late as 2013 a joint diagnosis of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not permitted by the most influential psychiatric handbook.       But both conditions are increasingly found to occur together.       In addition mechanisms in the brain that are involved in the overlap of these conditions have been identified.

Evolutionary brain benefit

Genetic variants linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have been positively selected during human evolution because they also contribute to enhanced cognition, a new Yale study suggests     See:  Independent article         Yale article

 Autism Camouflaging

There’s such a thing as “autism camouflaging” and it might explain why some people are diagnosed so late.       Across the whole sample, higher camouflaging scores were associated with higher levels of depression, but not anxiety.            Click icon for article.

  Early detection

Brain scans can detect autism long before any symptoms start to emerge, say scientists.       Click icon for article.

 Cause of Dyslexia

Scientists have discovered what appears to be a fundamental reason why people are dyslexic based on MRI scans.       What is particularly interesting is that better reading skills in adults and children with dyslexia were associated with greater repetition-induced neural adaptation,        Click icon to view article.

 Logical Decisions

People with autism make more logical decisions, study suggests.       ‘Listening to your heart and being in touch with your emotions – usually seen as positive things – may lead to decisions that are not so rational’.       Click icon for article.

Mothers on the spectrum

This is a study released in Baltimore, USA, comparing the experiences of autistic mothers with typical mothers.       It specifies additional difficulties that autistic mothers face.      See study for more information.

New brain study

A new study adds an intriguing, unexpected, and sure-to-be controversial finding to the mix:       It suggests the brains of children with autism contain small patches where the normally ordered arrangement of neurons in the cerebral cortex is disrupted.      “We’ve found locations where there appears to be a failure of normal development,”  said Eric Courchesne, a neuroscientist at the University of California.       See article.

Drama & Performance activities

Children with autism who take part in drama and performance activities may be able to improve their communication and interpersonal skills, a study has found.      See newspaper article.

Oliver Sacks

According to his website he was, A physician, best-selling author, and professor of neurology.      He contributed quite a bit to the scientific understanding of the nature of autism.

For the book worms amongst us Awakenings might make for an interesting and uplifting read.      This is an account of a group of patients who were woken from sleeping sickness in 1969 by Dr Sacks using a drug that was new at the time.     

See also   Library record.

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