Autism Diagnosis Made Later For Children with ADHD

Autism and ADHD can share many common features, and both disorders are being diagnosed more frequently compared to previous decades.  Making matters more complicated is the accumulating evidence that the two disorders may share some underlying genetics and neurobiology.  While autism is optimally diagnosed when children are around two years of age, many are not […]

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Study Questions Reasons Behind the Rise in Autism Diagnoses

The question is no longer if the diagnosis of autism is rising but why.  Over the past 40 years, the rate has increased from around 1975 of 1 in about 5,000 children to, most recently in 2012, a rate of 1 in 68 , the CDC now estimates that 1 in 68. The explanations for […]

No Link Between Assisted Reproduction Techniques and Autism Related Genetic Events

(Editor’s note:  I’m very pleased to be able to present this guest post by one of our new child psychiatry fellows, Sean Ackerman, who recently published this important study – DR). These days autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and assisted reproduction are both medical issues that frequently wind up in the media and are becoming ever […]

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Patches of Brain Disorganization Identified in Autism

Characterizing the precise pathology in autistic spectrum disorders, let alone other psychiatric disorders, has remained challenging. Postmortem studies of actual brain tissue are rare but have the potential to provide important clues regarding specific abnormalities in neurodevelopment that are not detectable through other means such as neuroimaging. This major study published in the New England […]

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Autism Screening – What Will Happen with the New M-CHAT?

When it comes to autism screening for toddlers, the Modified Checklist for Autism (M-CHAT) is one of the most widely used and studied instruments available (and it’s free and dowloadable).   While it’s been shown to have both good sensitivity and specificity, there is always room for improvement.  Thus was born the M-CHAT Revised with […]

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Autism Linked to Maternal Antibodies Reacting to Specific Antigens

While there is quite strong support to view autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder, the precise mechanisms that underlie this spectrum remain elusive.  A research group from the University of California at Davis previously found evidence for autism specific antibodies that were able to recognize fetal proteins.  They now turn to the specific targets or antigens […]

Increaed Brain Connectivity Found in Childhood Autism

While there have been many findings in the literature demonstrating that the brains of those with autism differ from non-autistic individuals, the results often do not agree.  This study used neuroimaging techniques to examine the degree to which the level of brain connectivity was a distinguishing feature of autism. The study compared 20 rigorously diagnosed […]

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Autism Assessment Clinic Has Openings for Vermont Medicaid Families

by Jeremiah Dickerson, MD Director, VCCYF Autism Assessment Clinic As you may know, the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, & Families, in partnership with the State of Vermont, has established an Autism Assessment Clinic to serve the needs of Medicaid supported children and families throughout Vermont.  Over the past two years, we have worked hard […]

Study Documents Previously Autistic Individuals Who No Longer Show Impairment

Autism is generally considered to be a lifelong condition.  While treatment can certainly be effective, the goal is often described more in terms of symptom reduction rather than a true recovery (in which no criteria of the disorder are met).  A small but intriguing study by Fein and colleagues, however attempts to document  a group […]

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New Autism Criteria Unlikely to Cause Many Individuals to Lose Diagnosis

Concern has been raised that the proposed DSM5 changes to the criteria for autism may reduce the number of individuals who meet criteria for the diagnosis and are thus entitled to services.  You can see a previous blog posting from April that looks at some of those concerns.  The new criteria reduce the number of […]

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