Tag Archives: Autism spectrum disorder

Autism Scientists seek public assistance to detect, measure and prevent Autism and major psychiatric disorders


You may want to visit and contribute your experiences at the  Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force  site and inspire them in their public – private effort to achieve their goal. Their vision is to get the desired outcome in three to five years as a result of the work laid out to implement the Minnesota Autism Spectrum Disorder strategic plan. Help them in your own, unique creative way.

You may also contact the Science Department Leadership at various autism foundations, such as Autism Speaks, and Autism Support Network with your personal experiences, hunches and suggestions on which public – private large scale database efforts to fund.

Autism rates continue to rise at an alarming rate
Tomorrow the autistic child could be someone born in your family – 1/50 to 1/80th chance of happening today, with more boys being born with autism than girls. States are drowning with the rising numbers of autism cases. The role of environment cannot be ignored which you may read by clicking “Why is Autism observed in America and not in underdeveloped countries?“, although dyslexia and mild communication disorder is rising worldwide (Read more). The role of shared family genes is not being ignored but so far, no clear association has scientific merit. You may call it the Geek syndrome but as Steve Silberman describes, if the autism spectrum genes were eliminated from society, it would be disastrous for the evolution of society. He also adds here that Microsoft recently became the first major US corportion to offer its employees insurance benefits to cover the costs of behavioral training for their autistic children. The number of autistic children among their employees were high enough to justify that – a fact that did not exist even over a decade ago. And their numbers continue to rise.

History of Autism
John Hopkins Neuroimmunopath has a FAQ site on their “Focus on Autism“.  They are researching the role of the immune system in Autism.  You might want to visit their site to consider what unseen factors inside the body control the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  After all, the first cases of Autism in USA were diagnosed at John Hopkins by Dr. Leo Kanner and published in 1943 to alert the public.  Dr. Hans Asperger of Austria described a similar group of patients around the same time and the distinctive sypmtoms got a diagnostic name.

Although historical accounts point to the existence of what could be isolated cases of autism, the mid 20th century is the first time clusters of patients with distinct ASD symptoms began to be diagnosed.  Unfortunately, ASD cases are rising at a rate that we find alarming, even if we allow for a certain threshold of misdiagnosis.  There is no known cure for ASD.  Since we do not know a cause we cannot begin to prevent onset of ASD, which usually strikes suddenly and without warning around the age of 18 months, according to parental reports.  Although there is no doubt that genetics or inherited family factors plays a role in susceptibility to ASD, scientists cannot rule out a potential major role for non-heritable risk factors.  A strong supporting reason for this is an observation by parents of Somali origin, which you may read by clicking “Why is Autism observed in America and not in underdeveloped countries?“. Scientist urge for more research on the important role of Vit D, as a possible environmental risk factor in Autism Spectrum Disorder. You may read their review by clicking here. Research studies on gene x environment are identifying which pesticide, herbicide, fungicide classes are of greatest concern in susceptible populations.

What is Autism
Sceptics abound (Read Forbes magazine article here).  Many do not know what is Autism.  Just like in the early 1980s the average person had no idea what HIV and AIDS was; similarly, the average skeptic today is unacquainted with autism and untouched by the daily adversities of living with autism.  Those who have never seen or been in the same room, let alone family, of an autistic individual, will not have any empathy for this discussion. Take your autistic child to public museums, movie theaters, enclosed botanical garden exhibitions. Tell every skeptic who frowns with displeasure that this disruptive individual is a healthy, autistic person. Your job is educational in nature and to reach as many skeptics as you can. If you believe that Autism research needs more believers, then you will have to leave a skeptic alone in the same room with a severely autistic child. Then, leave the skeptic alone in the same room with simply a misbehaved child. The skeptic will realize that there is a difference. Then, to justify urgency, you can show evidence as to how the numbers of autistic children are growing, and soon to become a growing burden on society as they age and their parent – caretakers die. Who will take care of them? Additionally, society is losing 1/50 of every young male or 1/80 of every young child who could contribute gainfully to social security or medicare. Can society let such monetary contributors get lost without a question? In 1960 there were 4.9 workers paying into the social security system for every beneficiary collecting (click here for Time magazine article). In 2035 there will be 1.9 workers for every social security recipient. With rising autism rates, how many of these 1.9 workers will be unable to contribute to this social equation and instead require social care as their caretaker parents die?

AutismIt is possible that part of the reason why no other risk factors have been identified may be that genetic and non – genetic factors need to be studied together in order to get a complete ASD profile.  What factor/s changed globally in the developed world around mid 20th century?  The scientists need the assistance of the public to solve this mystery as observant team members.  You may click here to learn more about facts of ASD and the Autism Fact Sheet of John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The origins, detection, measurement and prevention of conditions that affect behavioral, socioemotional and/or cognitive development are specific to Autism and ASD and are discussed here.

Role of Dirt/Microbial biome in Allergy, Asthma and ASD?

A variety of Hookworms

A variety of Hookworms

A blogger, summarizes a recent research study and it’s conclusion that dirt may be necessary to prevent allergies in “Dirt Prevents Allergies“. The researchers, headed by Professor Bisgaard, followed a cohort of asthma patients for several years to identify what factors might have triggered their disease. While these researchers are still looking for asthma trigger factor/s in early childhood, they did find that there was a connection between lack of diversity of bacteria in the intestine and allergy and have published their results in the journal of allergy and clinical immunology in 2011. The “microbial biome” is the term used to define all the bacteria that a healthy intestine supports. You may click here to read “Worm Theory: to improve the immune system to fight asthma, multiple sclerosis and more”. Several families have reported the presence of a parent with multiple sclerosis and children with autism and/or allergy. There apparently is a age – related connection. A younger family member presents with autism while an older family member has symptoms of multiple sclerosis. neuron

Since, researchers are finding that the immune system is involved in both Autism – which is on the rise recently, and in food allergy – which too is on the rise in recent decades and often in the same family, we have to wonder if it is correct to ask, “Is Autism an immune reaction with an allergic profile?” However, why did the recent study of Bisgaard and colleagues not find a common factor in allergy and asthma yet?  Multiple sclerosis, a nerve disease, is also on the rise in recent decades, and often reported in families with autism and severe allergies.

Babies with no autism or allergy

Babies with no autism or allergy

When is the earliest trigger for the diseases that are on the rise in recent years? Why is the first symptom seen not at birth but a few months, several months or years later? What factors control later symptoms? Is it an age – related control? You may want to read a popular article “How I gave my son autism” by Thinking Mom’s Revolution, which lists eight things this mother would change given a change to move time back.

Health Analyses of Families with Autism using the internet

Health Analyses of Families with Autism using the internet

No single gene appears to control autism. Studies indicate that the main immune mechanism in autism is an innate immune reaction. Contrast this to adaptive immune response seen in diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis. What is the difference between innate and adaptive immune system? A simple biological explanation is given by the Univesity of Arizona researchers here.

The Autism Genome Project
The Autism Genome project(AGP) is a large-scale, public – private collaborative, genetics research project initiated by the National Alliance for Autism Research and the National Institute of Health and is aimed at sifting through the human genome in search of autism susceptibility genes. The vision is to identify predisposition to Autism and to identify the causal mechanisms.  A new born screening mechanism would allow for early intervention. AGP has identified a dozen autism related genes researched by 120 scientists from 11 countries. They indicate that two important gene networks in the central nervous system contribute to the susceptibility to autism, leading to impairments in social and communication skills. The estimated prevalence of autism in siblings is about 10%, while it is a whopping 90% in twins. However, although heredity plays a definite role, such children with autism are born only under certain environmental conditions, underlining the fact that unknown life-style changes trigger autism.  The role of lack of exposure to enough Vit D in autism is being researched, especially in countries like Sweden. AGP has also revealed that Autism shares risk genes with major psychiatric disorders. Which leads to the question, whether searching for a cure for autism might lead to an early diagnosis of major psychiatric disorders, prevention and cures? It appears that the diagnosis of dyslexia is more common in underdeveloped countries. However, when this same gene pool is exposed to the life – style changes of a developed country the diagnosis of moderate to severe autism is observed.

Innate and Adaptive Immunity
There is a growing body of evidence linking Vit D to various immune related conditions including allergy and auto-immunity, but none show a convincing link, meaning there is a connecting missing link which remains to be discovered. Lack of Vit D would normally not cause diseases like autism but, given the presence of this missing link, lack of Vit D or specific life-style changes, one becomes predisposed to diseases like autism.  Various diseases involve the innate and/or adaptive immune system:

Dr Belbedos and colleagues want to modulate the innate immune reaction in allergy and asthma therapy in young children.

Lyme disease is an innate immune reaction.

Measles suppreses both innate and adaptive.

Pertussis or whooping cough involves both innate and adaptive.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is different – see fatal tuberculosis , where an acquired immunity is not enough but an innate immune response additionally, is required. The MyD88 pathway is crucial to protect against this disease. 90% of infected people do not show any symptoms. What protects them?

Vitamin D initiates an innate immune reaction. Apparently, its role in adaptive immune response has been known, but not in innate immune response. Too much Vit D is bad.

The National Institute of Health has explained immunity and the immune response in an article and include a video on immune response and a video on vaccines. The definitions of innate, acquired and passive immunity are followed by a video; if you scroll down, you will see the videos.

Related Video
Watch a video of a Pro-surfer, a father of an autistic son, and founder of a non-profit foundation school of Surfing for Autistic kids and how it makes them smile. Volunteers are pro-surfers.

Related Articles
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G proteins: the connector proteins that try to prevent Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Could “brain to brain” via internet communication research help autistics?


Researchers at University of Washington plugged the wirings of a human brain into the most advanced computer known by man – another human brain. They predict such “brain to brain” communication research might help people with disabilities communicate their needs for food, water or a game better. Amazingly, brain signals between these two human beings might work even if they spoke different languages, thus signaling the age of unification via grey matter.

This research was conducted at University of Washington between two human researchers located at opposite ends of the same campus. One human researcher wearing a brain cap contraption controlled via the internet the action of another human researcher wearing a wired contraption over the motor cortex area. Similar research has been done between rats or a human and a rat at Duke University and Harvard University.

Such research requires intereactions between mechanical engineers, bioengineers, neuroscientists, robotics experts, and computer scientists. Bringing them together are visionary leaders with a long – term approach to results and possible applications. Those who expect immediate economic impact will naturally not fund such research. University of Washington has been fortunate to have been funded with patient, visionary leaders. Their research is helping build a dynamic computer and robotics campus exploring the last frontier – the brain.

Read more in this Forbes article by Jennifer Hicks explained after interviews with researchers and accompanied with pictures and diagrams.

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Regain memory by Regenerating your brain cells


The simple flat worm may reveal a method to treat memory loss. Gardeners dislike these flat worms because they eat their valuable earthworms. However, memory scientists adore flatworms. Consider the fact that the non parasitic flatworm, Planarians planarians, has the ability to retain all memory when it regenerates a severed brain within 14 days – yes, these worms can routinely regenerate a severed brain or any other severed body part. This ability is because the worms have a very high percentage of pluripotent stem cells which can develop into any cell type, when required. But how does it retain the memory lost in the severed brain cells? Quoting CBS News :

Apparently losing your head doesn’t have to mean losing your mind. At least, not if you’re a worm.

photo-5
Brain, Stem cells and Memory – a worm’s role?
You might ask what memory can a lowly worm have? For over two decades Scientists have trained flatworms to show memory traits that can be measured.  An environmental familialization protocol can be measured automatically.

The Flat worm can regenerate any lost body part

The Flat worm can regenerate any lost body part

A trained decapitated worm can exhibit memory retrieval after regenerating a new head. The time limit for memory retrieval is about 14 days. They needed a lesson but the memory returned once stimulated said Dr Levin of Tuft University. This allows scientists to study the relation of the brain and the body in memory. The worm does not automatically lose it’s memory when it loses it’s brain. Where does the worm store it’s memory if not in it’s brain? There is obviously a connection between brain, unknown body cells and memory loss since there is a 14 day window of memory retention in these flatworms.

The unlimited possibilities of severed brain research
Are you thinking what Pursue Natural is thinking? If you are suggesting that perhaps this worm offers the opportunity to study brain regeneration and memory therapy in humans, then yes. Is it possible that the aging Alzheimers Dementia person has a hope that they could regenerate memory – that is if worm research can reveal how pluripotent stem cells in worms retain memory lost in a severed brain. Where and how is memory stored in a worm – if not in the brain?

The answer might help not only aging humans but also any memory loss patients such as athletes, who lose memory during a sports concussion. Pursue Natural hopes it might assist the Autistic individual regain their lost communication skills, which are apparently controlled by an interconnection between the brain and the immune system, in an unknown manner.  Could similar research reveal how communication skills are controlled by the brain and might be “lost” from an unknown environmental trigger/s? Perhaps if these worms could be trained to communicate in a manner that can be measured, then the loss and regain issues related to brain – body may be revealed.

Pluripotent stem cells are obtained from the human donor in need of therapy, can self renew, and largely mitigates any immune reaction. Ethical questions are skipped since these stem cells are not derived from an embryo but the patient’s own cells and can produce specific specialized cells instead of an entire human being.

Quoting Dr. Levin of Tufts University,

“The implications are that learned information can be stored in tissues outside the brain, and that this information can be imprinted upon newly regenerating brains. We do not know how much of this extends to humans, although these worms are not primitive creatures — they have a true centralized brain and many similarities to the human body-plan and genome”.

Memory Regeneration
Who is working on regenerating severed brains?
Scientist around the world are working on this problem since it is a hot topic in biologial research.  Naturally, parts of the world which are uneducated about the positive implications of stem cell research are either behind or unable to participate in this growing biological field.

Tuft University researchers T. Shomrat and M. Levin shed light on the fundamental interface between body patterning and stored memories and published their results in the Journal of Experimental Biology in the summer of this year, 2013.

Many genes have been identified for brain regeneration. Click here for the detailed review of process in 2008 by which the brain is regenerated or the genes involved in brain regeneration by Kiyokazu Agata and Yoshihiko Umesono of Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.

The worm CNS or central nervous system has been analyzed by the team including K. Agata as early as in 1998 when at  Kobe University, Nada, Kobe, Japan.

The proteins and genes involved in relevant stem cell maintenance are being researched and beginning to be identified. Click here for  the team led by Vittorio Gremigni of Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy in 2005.

Other science sites discussing the phenomenon of worm brain regeneration.

Scientific Forefront

Neuroxia

ZME Science

i09 we come from the future – has a photo of a decapitated worm’s progress to a new head in 7, 10, and 14 days.

CBS News – which has an illustration of the a decapitated worm’s progress to a new head in 7, 10, and 14 days along with a pictorial suggesting what memory is lost with decapitation and how this memory gradually returns.

If you appreciate such research, do encourage these researchers around teh world to continue their work.

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Role of “love hormone” and fresh infant food in autism and allergy


Adding to thirty years of research, scientists have discovered a potential role and mode of action of oxytocin, a naturally occuring brain hormone commonly called the “love hormone”. Neuropsychopharmacologists study the effect of chemicals in the brain and behavior. A team consisting of Dr. Tsien (Stanford University, CA), his graduate student Scott Owen, Dr. Gord Fischell (NYU Langone Medical Center, NY), his graduate student Sebnem Tuncdemir, and collaborators Patrick Bader, and Natasha Tirko resolved how oxytocin increases signaling to neurons and published their findings online on August 4, in the Journal Nature. This hormone can quiet background noise and enhance brain circuits. Individuals with autism lack the ability to filter desirable information processing signals. How this hormone can modulate fast spiking interneurons will continue to be researched, in addition to it’s therapeutic potential in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To read the original article in nature click here.

…Neuromodulatory control by oxytocin is essential to a wide range of social1, 2, parental3 and stress-related behaviours4. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with deficiencies in oxytocin levels5 and with genetic alterations of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR)6. Thirty years ago, Mühlethaler et al.7 found that oxytocin increases the firing of inhibitory hippocampal neurons, but it remains unclear how elevated inhibition could account for the ability of oxytocin to improve information processing in the brain….

Research in repetitive behavior in ASD
With rising rates of autism spectrum disorder, especially among boys, there is a sense of urgency to find answers. We must not ignore the years of research effort by countless scientists working on how to reduce repetitive behaviors in individuals in the autism spectrum. For example, a 2003 article in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology was published by a team of Neuropsychopharmacologists suggested

….Repetitive behavior in autism spectrum disorders may be related to abnormalities in the oxytocin system, and may be partially ameliorated by synthetic oxytocin infusion…

which you can click here to read.  The problem lies in the fact that a cure is still elusive.  Some parents find that keeping individuals with ASD active in a repetitive sport helps ease the symptom of repetitive behavior, with a regulated repetitive movement resulting in enjoyment rather than frustration. However, it is a challenge getting an ASD individual to concentrate on such a sport.

Role of a love hormone in ASD
Why is it called the “love hormone”? Several articles explain that which you might enjoy reading in eurekalert, by Craig Andrews, by clicking here. What is the role of this hormone in conception to pregnancy and how is it involved in autism spectrum disorder? Researchers will labor on to find the answers.

Role of infant food in allergy
With the observation that certain diets reduce the risk of allergy in infants, one begins to wonder about the role of introduction of chemicals during conception and pregnancy that might interfere with hormones like the love hormone involved in development of normal brain circuits. To read the article on role of processed food and infant allergy click here by the scientist Kate Grimshaw (University of Southampton, UK).  In this article, the scientist published results of research on correlation between infant dietary pattern in first year of infancy and development of food allergy by age two.  Babies brought up on fresh food, presented lower allergy rates.

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Autism in pristine Phu Quoc island of Vietnam – is the rise in numbers simple overdiagnosis?


Phu Quoc is a pristine, mountainous, Vietnamese island, surrounded by sun-drenced beaches and clear, blue water, about 70 miles off the coast of Cambodia.  Most of the island is covered by Phu Quoc National Forest. The main industries are plantations and fish sauce. It hosts the annual Vietnam Kennel Association (VKA) Phu Quoc National Dog Show. The Phu Quoc Ridgeback is a native dog breed with web feet, an island treasure that has thrived on Phu Quoc Island since the 19th century. Yet, Aeir Talk, an App for a communication device for autistic kids, believes that this island would benefit from knowledge that a device to assist Autistic kids exists (Click here for advertisement, by scrolling below to a post by Jav123 on Mar 2012). Why should this remote island be interested in an Autism device? Read about the naval history of this island in Vietnam by clicking here.

Should men be more careful about protecting their sperm before they begin to make babies? Fathers provide the sperm and the mother, as you know, provides the egg and when the egg is fertilized by the sperm the baby results. There is increasing evidence that the father or grandfather may contribute a new genetic change that might be inherited; such a new genetic change when perhaps exposed  to an otherwise harmless environmental pollutant becomes a “toxin” to this child carrying this new genetic change. The grandfather may even pass this new genetic trait through his daughters. Fathers have been cautioned against excessive coffee drinking three months before making babies. Perhaps fathers need to avoid exposure to environmental triggers too? Maybe, strategic research would help to pinpoint such triggers and help prevent more autism related to exposures of potential fathers in the future. History cannot be changed but our society is quite capable of taking action when inspired. Read Lynne Peeple’s Huffington Post article (May 2012) on the rising rates of autism by clicking here.

Rise of Autism in some countries

Here is an article detailing and discussing the rise of autism in Vietnam. Among Asian countries, this country appears to have far higher rates. Is it simply a matter of higher diagnosis? You may click here to read this brief article (March, 2013) in a China Weekly newspaper, on the city of Hanoi, Vietnam. This may be of interest to international researchers of Autism. Why Hanoi? Hopefully, even searching for an answer in Hanoi will lead researchers closer to factors that might trigger ASD.

Is the rise of Autism simply overdiagnosis?

There is no doubt that some cases of ASD are simply over diagnosed. However, once you have been in the same room, train, class room, event with a kid (mostly boys) with even an average level of ASD or worse autism, even as a non – psychologiist you will know that the child needs help. The uneducated citizen might request that this child be punished for “misbehavior” or request this child “shut-up” or “stop shuffing people or yelling”. Those aware of ASD will realize this is a child with autism or aspergers and intervene on behalf of the child. As those educated about this growing issue of ASD know, this child’s mind is fully knowledgeable and understands but cannot control his/her actions. Give the child an ipad and this child will communicate to those in the room and may even apologize but unable to stop the movement or noise causing the discomfort to the public. As a society, together we can help prevent future suffering. We are losing our boys and some girls. Your opinion matters. If you suspect any factor that could be contributing to the growing rise of autism/asperbers/allergy/ASD do not hesitate to share. None of us want to lose the advantages of modern conveniences. We cannot imagine life without cars, trains, and automobiles, aeroplanes and modern industry, modern agriculture and green lawns without weeds. Yet, since progress must come with side effects, let’s discover how to live together safely, among these industrial advantages. We are quite capable of dealing with and preventing side effects.

Which other countries have higher rates of Autism than their neighboring countries?

Which countries have similar health and hospital facilities and yet have higher levels of Autism? There have been indications that areas with higher automobile oil manufacturing chemical waste, may have higher rates of autism or childhood leukemia. Some elementary classrooms in such locations have several children arriving to school in wheelchairs with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or many parents waiting together outside a local pediatric hospital which had not timely diagnosed their infants with childhood leukemia; four year olds were dying. Autism aids are in many such classrooms. Is there a connection? Can some action steps put in place protective and preventive features perhaps in the local water system or the herbicide spraying system in home lawns to protect possible harm to the sperm and egg? Would there be a connection with such chemical waste and a carrier of the new genetic inherited trait? If you have answers or suggestions do share. 

Related Article:

Why is there little Autism in under-developed countries?

The G-proteins, the connector proteins that try to prevent autism spectrum disorder.

Phu Quoc – Vietnam’s largest island and home of the Phu Quoc National Forest

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Do Anorexics and Autism Spectrum Disorder share any common characteristics?


Yes, say scientists in the journal, European Eating Disorder Review, published in 2011. Read the article by clicking here. They speculate if anorexia nervosa (AN) a version of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?

Quote: ….

There are reports of disturbed processing of oxytocin (Odent, 2010) and dysdiadochokinesis (a neurological soft sign associated with developmental disorders) in both AN and ASD (Råstam, 1992; Råstam, Gillberg, & Wentz, 2003; Tchanturia, Morris, Anderluh, Collier, Nikolaou, & Treasure, 2004). Furthermore, AN and ASD appear to co-exist within families (Gillberg, 1985; Comings & Comings, 1991; Steffenburg, 1991) indicating that these observed similarities may reflect a direct genetic link.

….

Based on the proposed similarities between the cognitive profiles of the disorders, it was hypothesised that ASD and AN groups would not perform differently across tasks.

…Unquote

Read the article by clicking here.

What were the authors results?
Cognitive profiles of the groups were statistically similar, except for differences in the relative patterns of empathy scores. Interestingly, the scientists note that the triad of behavioural impairments (social impairment, communication impairments and restrictive and repetitive behaviours) are noted to cluster together and co-occur above chance expectations, even outside of a diagnosis of autism (Happé & Ronald, 2008; Wing & Gould, 1979). Yet, this clustering of all three cognitive features within a disorder appears fairly specific to Anorexics(AN) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The scientists add: There are, in fact, significant differences between the disorders. Whilst AN has more recently been described as a developmental disorder (Connan, Campbell, Katzman, Lightman, & Treasure, 2003), there are differences in age, gender and developmental stage of onset and there can be an association of low IQ and learning difficulties with ASD that is absent in AN.

Limitations The scientists list several limitations to this study.

Read more

What is Anorexia?

A severely Anorexic young woman


For those of you who do not know the current crisis of the eating disorder of young women and recently, young men, you might find this review very informative. I must warn you that some of the photos are quite disturbing. It includes a historical narrative of the changing image of the female body and shows the modern ‘anorexic’ women photos, some of whom have crossed the extreme and are dying. Now, it is happening to young men. I have no photos of young men here since it is a newer trend, probably. To see the photos and read the article on anorexia click here.

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
An autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also called a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). The Massachussetts General Hospital says ASD is a biological brain disorder that significantly affects an individual’s ability to understand people, interpret events, communicate, and interact with others. These disorders are described as occurring on a spectrum because of the wide variability of impact they may have on everyday functioning. The scope, variety, and severity of symptoms differ in each individual, but in general, autism spectrum disorders are characterized by:

Difficulty with communication
Impairments in social skills and understanding of how to engage and interact with others
Unusual behaviors and interests (such as attachments to unusual objects or speaking in cartoon or movie scripts)
Read more.

 

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Why is there Autism in Developed countries and not in underdeveloped countries?
Autistic child and multiple sclerosis parent
G protein – the connector protein that try to prevent autism spectrum disorder

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Research on why link gays or lesbians and autism?


An irate reader, Felix, commented on our article “Are there any gays and lesbians who are autistic” saying it was biased towards unhappy, bisexual women. So, this article addresses our reader Felix’s criticism and delves further into articles that answer the question we asked, well, “Are there any gays and lesbians who are autistic?” and why is it so difficult to get an answer to the question? This article is for our reader, Felix.

We found two articles:
(1)Co-occurence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in individuals with Gender Dysphoria. This is not a rare phenomenon, notes this article in what was a poster presentation in a conference in Chicago in 2009 by a group of psychologists from Netherlands. To know their names you may click here. They noted that only case studies have been published by authors with very different views. Yet, their clinical experience suggested that the co-existence of gender dysphoria (they explain that it is individuals unsure of their sexual orientation or not specified gender orientation or a not otherwise specified diagnosis) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not a rare phenomenon. They found that the developmental trajectory of individuals with the two disorders vary considerably and each requires a special clinical approach. They found that 6% of 233 children and adolescents could be diagnosed with this. You may click here to read this article’s 2009 abstract in more detail.

(2)An exploration into dual citizenship – homosexuality and autism, and changing the work environment.

By Terry Walker.tiggerworld1 at earthlink.net, on 2003 October 2. You may click here to see the articles and the slides. They also have a links for the impatient to quickly read the relevant details.
You may directly reach their link to a summary for the human resources department by clicking here.
Terry Walker presented as an autistic in the GLTB “dual citizenship” workshop of the “Out & Equal” with suggestions for workplace changes to an audience of 600 people focussed on improving the workplace environment. He emphasized that he could speak only from his own experience and it in no way represented all autistics or all queers (his words), but felt this was the proper venue to record his observations. Terry says: Quote

Why link autism advocacy with gay advocacy?

The short answer is that I’m certain both communities would benefit from the association.

The experience of being gay is not the same as the experience of being autistic. I am both, and I recognize this difference. The experiences, however, do have similarities in both their fundamental nature and their historical background. (I’ll explain those two points in a moment.) Furthermore, I think that these ties could and should be strengthened as part of the emerging Neurodiversity movement. GLBT, Autistic, and Allied people would make a strong force for change in social attitudes and business practices concerning “differently-brained” employees. I encourage these communities to interact in pursuit of that goal.

Fundamental similarity

Both communities share the “minority experience”, the frustration of feeling compelled to adjust to social expectations in a larger world that was designed for different norms. We share a need for restructuring society in a way that will allow us to participate fully. Unquote.

You may read further by clicking here. It is really poignant reading. Please, tell us your views here. We want to hear how you are adjusting in this society with “dual citizenships” and what suggestions you have for a better, more inclusive society.

Related Post
Are there gay and lesbian autistics?

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List of Autism 2012 Events in USA: Walk or Speak for Autism


Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S. – we need more volunteers
Whether this is your first walk or the 10th, take the first step and register today.
Every 11 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder. Help us change that! Start fundraising today. Whether you strive to join our new “Grand Club” (walkers that raise $1,000 or more) or sell lemonade to boost your total or create your own unique event, you become a part of the solution! Don’t wait another minute – start a corporate, school or family team today!

The Autism 5K, May 19th, 2012:

Run/Walk

Lake Calhoun, in Minneapolis, MN – open to all.

2012 Autism 5K race proceeds will benefit local families affected by autism

2012 Chicago Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Saturday, May 12, 2012
You will not only raise funds, but you will become a part of a fun and supportive family-focused community.

Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu on Saturday, April 21st, 2012 for the 7th annual Hawaii Walk Now for Autism Speaks

2012 Cincinnati: Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Please check back soon for more information on how YOU can register for the first annnual Autism Speaks Puzzle Run on Saturday, October 20!

Add your 2012 Autism event in comment section and it will be uploaded here.

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National TV channel PBS asks two prominent scientists in six series – why is Autism rising?
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Studies linking Autism to Obesity during pregnancy – limited to Autoimmune disease?

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G proteins: the connector proteins that try to prevent Autism Spectrum Disorder


Prof Mark Rasenick’s team in Chicago, Dr Gunner Schulte team in Sweden, and teams of experts all over the world like Dr Robert, Dorsam and Dr Silvio Gutkind, in Universities and industries are studying the G proteins in the developing and degenerating brain. They have a theory that if they understand how the G proteins work, they can cure a number of brain issues. In G proteins may lie an answer on how to cure Autism Spectrum Disorder and also, how to prevent it in the future.

G proteins are made of three proteins named alpha, beta and gamma. There are many different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma proteins and they can combine in many different ways. So, how many kinds of G proteins can there be? Many and more are being discovered. What is the function of the G proteins? They are connectors.

The G protein made up of alpha, beta and gamma proteins

Everyone knows that a connector is either a person who knows a lot of people who know lots more people or a connector is a valve that interconnects two tubes. Similarly, a G protein is a connector. It makes things happen within people. A person is made up of many, many cells, carrying genetic information. Inside each cell, in addition to genes are many different kinds of G proteins. When the cell gets a signal, its genes respond. Well, how does a signal outside the cell get to the genes inside the cell to tell it to respond? The G proteins. They interconnect the protein that receives the signal with the protein that activates the gene.

Now, let’s imagine the human gene receives a signal to die, because the signal was a severe toxin. Does the human being die? No, because survival is a crucial cell behavior. So, for a human being to die, many genes in many cells have to receive a signal to die. Which means, when the human is stimulated by a specific combination of signals rather than a single signal acting alone, only then does the cell collect the information coming from separate signals, integrates this information, and then makes a proper response – to die. The cell may also receive a similar integrated signal for another important human event – to grow and divide and to live. This integration is equivalent to microprocessors in a computer.

G protein connected receptor: When a human smells something or gets an infection or touches a chemical, a signal is received and processed ultimately by the brain. The human responds by “liking” the smell, or “succumbing” or “resisting” the infection or getting a chemical reaction. How does a signal in the environment reach the brain? Signals are received by proteins on the cell surface, called receptors. Within the cell are G proteins which connect these receptors to their target enzyme or ion channel, which ultimately tell the genes how to respond. You would expect a defective G protein to mess up a signal pathway. This is prevented because there appears to be “back up” G proteins which can take care of connector functions to keep the cell’s crucial functions going smoothly. To view a schematic in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer by Drs Robert T. Dorsam and J. Silvio Gutkind click here. It beautifully illustrates how G proteins integrate several receptors receiving many signals through several secondary messengers.

This schematic will also explain why answers to question “which signal causes 1 in 88 or 100 children have autism today” cannot be answered by just one factor like obesity or SHANK gene mutation or An aging father or a G protein mutation.

Second Messengers: Most G protein connected receptors activate a chain of events that alters the concentration of one or more small signaling molecules inside the cell. These second messengers in turn, pass the signal on by altering the behavior of selected cellular proteins. One very widely used second messenger is Calcium, stimulated by a distinct G-protein connected pathway. Another widely used second messenger is Cyclic AMP.

When a hormone is the chemical that acts as a signal the response is via second messenger Cyclic AMP.
When G proteins receive a signal to connect to another crucial enzyme – phospholipase C, then it changes the concentration of calcium within the cell, which is a far more widely used second messenger than Cyclic AMP.

In the next article I will reveal how calcium signaling works or as relevant to Autism – does not work.

An expert on G-protein of the brain:
There are many scientists in the world who are working on the G protein. Do reach out to them and request them to speak on their work and explain their focus.
1) Dr Gunnar Schulte and colleagues
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Email: gunnar.schulte@fyfa.ki.se

2) MARK M. RASENICK

Prof. Mark M. Rasenick

Professor

Physiology and Biophysics, and Psychiatry

Director, Biomedical Neuroscience Training Program, U. Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612

Cytoskeletal modulation of neuronal signal transduction

http://www.uic.edu/depts/mcpb/pages/rasenick/rasenick.htm

Related Articles:
Know your G proteins
Studies linking obesity to Autism
Why is Autism observed in America and not in a developing country like Somalia
Autistic child and a multiple sclerosis parent – a connection?

I wish to thank two of my readers:

1)  Everysensory blogger for inspiring me to cover the “whole” picture when the media suddenly focussed on “obesity causes Autism”.

2)  Fitfoodhealthprogram blogger who inspired me to write more information filled articles related Autism.

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Four facts about allergy: parents, children, patients, genes and researchers


One: Pediatrician Stephen Cowan says the gut and the brain are not two separate things but are interconnected.
(From Alison Rose Levy’s article in Huffington post in 2010
Quote:
There’s an experiment going on right now–but it isn’t being conducted by scientists. It’s being conducted by parents. In 30 million kitchens across the U.S. that experiment is called “What Can My Child Eat?” In families with children with autism and allergies, the result of that experiment can either be a day of relative calm and comfort, or it can produce anything from brain fog, digestive discomfort, and mood swings, to pain, seizures, skin outbreaks, and severe digestive distress.

While the debate continues as to whether or not laboratory scientists have successfully isolated a single one of the many factors that a growing numnber of doctors say may contribute to autism, families still have to cope and they still have to feed their children. …
Unquote). 

Two: Dr Harumi Jyonouchi, Pediatric Allergy/Immunology Clinic, reports in 2010 that food allergy is related to asthma, autism and ASD and prevalent in 30% of the population and rising.
quote:
…Abstract

IgE-mediated allergic diseases (e.g., allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic asthma and food allergy) are prevalent (up to 30%) in the general population and are increasing in developed countries. In infants and young children, non-IgE-mediated food allergy is also prevalent. In addition to easily recognized organ-specific symptoms, allergic diseases can cause neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as irritability and hyperactivity, in otherwise healthy individuals. This is also likely to occur in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Moreover, the discomfort….
Unquote.

Three: Just because a food has been eaten in the past for over 2000 years does not mean it is good for you today; it should be better for you but no longer is. Why? Pediatrician Dr S. Lucarelli reported in 1995that ancient foods like milk and wheat may be toxic to the central nervous system.

Our Daily Bread

Quote:
Panminerva Med. 1995 Sep;37(3):137-41.
Food allergy and infantile autism.
Lucarelli S, Frediani T, Zingoni AM, Ferruzzi F, Giardini O, Quintieri F, Barbato M, D’Eufemia P, Cardi E.
Source
Department of Paediatrics, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.
Abstract
The etiopathogenesis of infantile autism is still unknown. Recently some authors have suggested that food peptides might be able to determine toxic effects at the level of the central nervous system by interacting with neurotransmitters. In fact a worsening of neurological symptoms has been reported in autistic patients after the consumption of milk and wheat. The aim of the present study has been to verify the efficacy of a cow’s milk free diet (or other foods which gave a positive result after a skin test) in 36 autistic patients. We also looked for immunological signs of food allergy in autistic patients on a free choice diet. We noticed a marked improvement in the behavioural symptoms of patients after a period of 8 weeks on an elimination diet and we found high levels of IgA antigen specific antibodies for casein, lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin and IgG and IgM for casein. The levels of these antibodies were significantly higher than those of a control group which consisted of 20 healthy children. Our results lead us to hypothesise a relationship between food allergy and infantile autism as has already been suggested for other disturbances of the central nervous system.
PMID: 8869369 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
MeSH Terms, Substan
Unquote.

Four: The CD 14 gene for food allergy has been taken to new heights by Dr S. Goyert, promising real answers for many allergic patients.

Related Article
How to add Calcium in the diets of Allergic and Autistic kids?
G-proteins and their relationship to Autism, Allergy, Aspergers.

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