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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Childhood Toe-Walking: Prevalence and Links to Developmental Problems

Idiopathic Toe-walking refers to children who habitually walk on their toes rather than using a typical gait and for whom no specific cause has been found.  It has been a traditional red flag to clinicians and parents alike for developmental problems including autism.  There is little systematic study, however, of the phenomenon and its predictive […]

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Autism Under the Proposed New DSM-5 Criteria

As the DSM5 moves closer to its anticipated release next year, several areas are generating widespread debate and discussion both in the public and in more academic circles.  One diagnosis certainly getting its share of attention is Autism.  Under the proposed new guidelines, a single Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will replace the different sub-diagnoses of […]

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Rising Rates of Autism and ADHD: What are We to Make of This?

Several recent studies have reported continued increases in the rates of both ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders. For Autism, a new study from the CDC found an overall rate of 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls).  This rate is much higher than the 1 in 155 reported in […]

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Autism – Tools and Questions

by Jeremiah Dickerson, MD Autism and related disorders (autism spectrum disorders [ASDs]) are characterized by a constellation of impairments in the domains of communication skills and reciprocal social interactions that are accompanied by the presence of repetitive and inflexible behaviors.  Children who exhibit these impairments and behavioral changes also may demonstrate challenges in a variety […]

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