Archive for October, 2011
It’s true what they say about “everything in moderation.” Too much sushi can introduce dangerous levels of mercury into the body, particularly if you eat a lot of high mercury fish. The biggest culprits tend to be bluefin tuna, mackerel, yellowtail, swordfish, and sea bass.
It’s best to cut back on sushi intake or at least opt for smaller, less toxic fish. Children should not be exposed to sushi at all because of the elevated risk of food poisoning, which can be devastating for growing bodies. If you fear that you have elevated levels of mercury, then it may be a wise choice to consult with your doctor about undergoing a heavy metal detox.
Autism Speaks is a world-renowned autism science and advocacy organization. Earlier this month they awarded 10 new research grants that will disperse $1,782,934 in funding over the next three years. These grants have been awarded to help researchers to explore and build upon recent findings.
Three of the grant recipients focus their work on low-functioning, non-verbal autism patients. Gottfried Schaug, M.D., Ph.D. is one recipient who is working on an innovative autism therapy called “Auditory Motor Mapping Training.” Schaug will conduct a randomized control trial of the therapy that uses singing, motor activity, and imitation to activate regions of the brain associated with speech. There has been some success using these techniques with stroke victims who suffer speech loss from brain aphasia.
We are exposed to so many different toxins in our lives – most of the time unwittingly. Cleansing the body is advisable. Take the natural route by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and, of course, drinking lots of water.
Another dietary consideration is eating organic foods as often as financially possible. Fertilizers and pesticides can be toxic and will build up in the body over time. If you need a cleansing boost, try an all natural product like PCA-Rx.
A small study out of Yale University has found that baby boys with autism grew taller, weighed more and had a more pronounced head circumference growth by age one than those baby boys without autism. The study’s lead author said, “…atypical overgrowth in autism is accompanied by a similar slope for overgrowth in height and weight.” This indicates that there is a relation between the mechanisms behind rapid brain growth in autistic children and broader neuronal and musculoskeletal abnormalities.
This piece of autism news isn’t exactly ground breaking; in 2003 researchers from UCSD published a study showing a correlation between autism development and rapid growth in the first year of life. This study also does not draw the conclusion that all children who experience abnormally rapid growth in the first year of life have autism. What the study does suggest is that this growth may be an indicator, so if parents notice other unusual behavior coupled with the growth they should consult a doctor to have a behavioral screen administered. After all, the earlier autism is diagnosed and treated with therapy, the better the outcome for the child socially.
The City of Brotherly Love can now add a new title: autism research capital. Five years ago, this statement would not have been true, but now several institutions are attempting to unlock the mysteries of autism. They are studying genetics, environmental exposure, brain imaging, and behavioral interventions.
The autism research is concentrated mainly in two locations: the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital and the Autism Public Health Research Institute at Drexel University. In four short years, Children’s Hospital has cultivated a powerhouse with more than 100 researchers and staff working on two dozen studies. Drexel has an ambitious goal of raising $20 million toward research – a priority of the university president. All of this bodes well for parents of autistic children looking for answers, and someday, a cure.
As we hopefully blogged last week, California indeed has become the 28th state to mandate coverage of autism. Governor Jerry Brown approved a bill requiring health plans to include coverage for autism as a medical benefit. For many parents this brings about great relief, as the federal health care law does not go into effect until 2014.
Before this bill, insurers could deny coverage for autism treatments by citing such treatments as an educational service. Said California Senate president Pro , “The science clearly shows that treating the mind through behavioral therapy is no different than treating a broken arm or a heart condition.” I’m confident that further good autism information is forthcoming in other states.
California state law requires insurers to offer comprehensive autism healthcare coverage. Lawmakers are renewing their commitment to the best interests of the child by putting forth a bill that would require coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy. Not surprisingly, insurers are resisting, despite the fact that ABA has a proven track record.
ABA is a type of treatment for autism. Autistic children don’t interact the same way most children do, which means their brains are not making proper connections. ABA attempts to provide these connections, which can aid in communication. Twenty-seven other states require private health insurance policies to cover ABA; let’s hope California becomes number 28.
Parents of autistic children have a strong need to know what causes their child’s disorder. This is completely understandable; if we know what causes autism, then it stands to reason that we will be able to come up with a cure. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple because it is becoming more evident that there is no single cause of autism.
According to the Mayo Clinic, genetics may be one of the causes of autism. A number of genes make children susceptible to the disorder. Some genes may affect brain development or brain cell communication. Others may determine the severity of symptoms. It has been hypothesized that some genetic problems are inherited while others occur spontaneously.