Dr. Isabelle Rapin, Modern Autism Pioneer has passed away

29 May

Dr. Isabelle Rapin, noted clinician, scientist, scholar, and teacher has passed away. She was gentle, warm and empathetic.She was my son’s first neurologist, referred to us through Dr. Oliver Sacks. Both are now gone. It was 1982, she told me my son Mikey had pervasive developmental disorder and treated him effectively for his seizure disorder. Discouraged me from trying out untested autism "cures", despite my insistences. She encouraged me (Lirio Covey) to prepare him for a life no longer fully in our family household when he would reach adulthood. I thank her for that advice and for her personal touch. Some years into our interactions as clinician and patient’ s mother, she ended telephone conversations calling me- my friend. May she rest in peace. .

Below is the New York Times obituary for Dr. Rapin.​

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http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?pid=185620903

Oxytocin, the “love hormone” and autism

25 May

Why oxytocin could be a treatment for autism.

by Lirio Sobrevinas-Covey, Ph.D.

Prior research has suggested that administration of oxytocin, a natural hormone produced in the brain, could enhance socialization behaviors in persons with autism (see Young & Barrett, Science, Feb 20, 2015).
The article referenced below describes research findings of vast, positive effects of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the love hormone”, in general populations, which could underlie the beneficial effect of oxytocin in persons who experience difficulties in social interactions and relationships, such as individuals with autism.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317556.php
The oxytocin-autism relationship is of interest for a number of reasons – genetic associations between autism and oxytocin have been identified; oxytocin deficiency could be involved in autism; oxytocin receptor activity could identify those at risk of autism, and conversely, oxytocin treatment could confer improvements in socializing abilities. Although several other candidate medications have been examined (sertraline, naltrexone, etc), no conclusive evidence indicating effectiveness of those medications in treating the fundamental symptoms of autism have been observed. Oxytocin treatment could be a possible approach for alleviating difficulties in social interactions, one of the two core symptom that define autism spectrum disorder (the other is repetitive, stereotypical behaviors). Clinical trials testing this possibility are ongoing.

MEET DR. SUSAN SARABIA-REYES, D.M.D., SPECIAL DENTISTRY EXPERT

16 May

​    Oral health is one of the most significant aspects of health living. It is also one of the greatest challenges experienced by persons with autism and their caregivers. The strange smells, loud noises, formidable-looking equipment, and especially the uncommon sensations during a dental visit (much less a dental treatment), make dental visits an especially fearsome experience for persons with autism. Dental visits are often put off for as long as possible, causing significant dental problems that require special expertise of the treating dentist. By the time some persons with autism first see the dentist, they have already developed serious dental problems that may even require surgery and hospitalization.

Dental care and treatment of persons with autism and other special conditions are areas of specialization that have been nurtured in her practice by Dr. Susan S. Reyes, D.M.D.  Dr. Reyes has accepted an agreement with AAAP to establish and maintain a Special Dentistry Clinic for A Special Place, the upcoming residential and work community to be located in Alfonso, Cavite, spearheaded by AAAP. Dr. Reyes’ background makes her uniquely positioned for this role. She is a passionate advocate of persons with special needs and that personal quality is buttressed by her training as a Doctor of Dental Medicine (Centro Escolar University, Manila, 1995), completion of a Master of Arts in Special Education (2011), and several years as a Dentist III and Training Officer with the Department of Hospital Dentistry at the Philippine Government’s Eastwood Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. She is one of a very few dentists in the Philippines who practices Special Care Dentistry. Recently, she traveled to North Carolina where she presented a workshop on the topic of “Dental Rehabilitation of Autistic Persons with Anemia and Tuberculosis “ at the 29th Annual Meeting on Special Care Dentistry. Welcome to the AAAP Family, Dr. Reyes!

Grandmothers, granddaughters and risk for autism

5 May

SMOKING WHEN PREGNANT COULD RAISE THE RISK OF AUTISM IN GRANDDAUGHTERS

In a study of 14,500 participants conducted by researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK, which involved three generations of parents and children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), 177 OF 7000 grandchildren with autistic traits were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

An association between autism or autism-like traits and maternal grandmother’s (but not grandfather’s) smoking was seen. The association was not related to the mother’s smoking status. Speculation is that the damage is carried in the mitochondria which are passed down via the mother. But the effect of this process was not seen for grandsons.

Lesson learned? "We already know that protecting a baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things a woman can do to giver her child a healthy start in life. Now we’ve found that not smoking during pregnancy could also give their future grandchildren a better start too." (Professor Jean Golding, author).

Comment: The finding suggests a role of an environmental factor, tobacco smoking, as an epigenetic risk factor for autism.

Reference: Golding J, Ellis G, Gregory S et al, Grand-maternal smoking in pregnancy and grandchild’s autistic traits and diagnosed autism. Scientific Reports, Article Number 46179, 2017.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317146.php

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHY THE AUTISM GENDER RATIO FAVORS BOYS

14 Apr

​GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN BOYS AT MASKING SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM​

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/316738.php

RESEARCH NEWS

19 Feb


A POTENTIAL GENE-BASED TREATMENT FOR SOCIAL/BEHAVIORAL IMPAIRMENTS IN AUTISM

 

EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS FOR THE VARIOUS PERIPHERAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ASD (AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER) , THOUGH STILL FEW, HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED IN THE LITERATURE.

ALTHOUGH IT HAS NOT BEEN FOR A LACK OF RESEARCH EFFORTS, EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS FOR THE CORE SYMPTOMS OF ASD REMAIN UNKNOWN.

A RESEARCH TEAM FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA HAS PUBLISHED THEIR FINDINGS REGARDING THE POSSIBILITY OF TREATING SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL IMPAIRMENT IN AUTISM.

THE TREATMENT INVOLVES ADMINISTRATION OF AN ANTIBIOTIC, ALREADY FOUND TO ALLEVIATE ANXIETY AND TO TREAT TUBERCULOSIS.

BASING THEIR APPROACH ON THE KNOWN ROLE OF GENETICS IN THE CAUSAL PATHWAY TOWARDS AUTISM AND USING MICE AS THE RESEARCH SUBJECTS, THE RESEARCHERS TESTED THE EFFECT OF THE ANTIBIOTIC D-CYCLOSERINE ON THE FUNCTIONING OF A GENE (PCDH10) LINKED WITH REDUCED SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL IMPAIRMENTS.

THE RESEARCH WAS CONDUCTED ON MICE WHO HAD BEEN ENGINEERED TO LACK A GENE LINKED WITH SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL FUNCTIONING. FOLLOWING TREATMENT WITH THE ANTIBIOTIC, APPLIED TO THE NEURONS IN THE AMYDALA OF THE MICE (IN WHOM ONE COPY OF THE TARGETED GENE (PCDHI10) WAS DELETED),

THE RESEARCHERS OBSERVED AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE SOCIAL BEHAVIORS OF THE MICE.

THE STUDY IS EARLY AND MANY QUESTIONS REMAIN TO BE ANSWERED.

THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED IN MICE, RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS IS NEEDED.

THE ANTIBIOTIC D-CYCLOSERINE HAS BEEN PRESCRIBED FOR THE TREATMENT OF ANXIETY AND URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS. LABORTORY STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT THE ANTIBIOTIC D-CYCLOSERINE BOOSTS NMDA GLUTAMATE FUNCTION WHICH IS AN INDICATOR OF DISRUPTED CONNECTIVITY IN NEURAL CIRCUITS. THE LATTER PHENOMENON, IN TURN, HAS BEEN FOUND TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE AUTISM

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS RESEARCH IS THAT DATA FROM THE STUDY ARE EXPECTED TO PROVIDE FURTHER INSIGHT ON HOW GENES IMPACT AUTISM. FURTHERMORE, IF SHOWN TO BE EFFICACIOUS FOR HUMAN SUBJECTS WITH AUTISM, TREATMENT WITH D-CYCLOSERINE WOULD BE EXCEPTIONAL IN ITS POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF PERSONS WITH AUTISM WHOSE PROMINENT IMPAIRMENT IS IN THE REALM OF SOCIAL ABILITIES.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, volume 81, Issue 3 (2017). Authors: Hannah Schoch, Arati S. Kreibich, Sarah I Ferri, et al.

Growing Up with Autism: Journeys of Love, Devotion, and Love Book Review

25 Jan


A review of "Growing Up with Autism" has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 25, 2017. The reviewer is Olive H Tripon. The review article is entitled – Parents of autistic childfren: ‘Hope is the air we breathe".
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/251878/parents-autistic-children-hope-air-breathe/

The hard-bound copy is available at Vico’s Artism Gallery in Pasig City, Manila. For orders call: 638-7976

The book is also available as an ebook on amazon.com.

We hope you read the book, it’s a short read, and let us know your thoughts about the book, autism, and parenting for autism.

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