Autism Health Policy Forums

SafeMinds is forming Autism Health Policy Forums that address four potentially life-threatening, commonly co-occurring conditions with autism. They are:

The purpose of the forums is to identify current research findings that may have clinical application for patients with autism today—but are not yet being used in most settings. The forums will also identify gaps in research that are necessary for providing the safest and most effective treatments for people with autism.

SafeMinds research committee members are developing the parameters for each forum, and are identifying the most appropriate researchers and clinicians for them. We are also seeking funding sources, from both public and private sources, to implement the forums. If you are interested in supporting the forums, consider a donation to SafeMinds.

February 03, 2020

Potential Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by impaired social interactions and communication. 1 ASD affects about 1 in 59 children  2 and is estimated to reach 1 in 40 children in 2025. 3 The complexity of the factors involved in the clinical picture of ASD, along with the lack of reliable biomarkers 4 and specific pathogenesis 5 has prevented the development of effective treatments.

May 24, 2018

Autism Prevalence – Examining the Myths and Truths

SafeMinds interviews the New Jersey investigator for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) autism prevalence report of 1 in 59 children, examining the truths and myths behind the latest numbers from the Federal Government. The big news for May was the release of new autism prevalence numbers from the Federal Government. The CDC study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that 1 in 59 children have autism, up from the 1 in 68 they reported just two years ago. This alarming increase compelled SafeMinds to call for an emergency meeting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Along with other autism organizations, SafeMinds is demanding a Federal Autism Strategic Plan that address the urgent crisis of autism.

May 24, 2018

Autism & Mental Health: Problems & Solutions

Two new studies point to higher and growing healthcare costs for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) across the lifespan, particularly in the area of mental health. A new model program in New York might have an answer to this critical problem. A new study reports that children with autism were up to 30 times more likely to use emergency departments (ED) than youth without ASD. Many of those visits were for non-urgent ED visits, which is a costly way to provide routine healthcare. Up to 13 percent of visits were for behavioral or psychiatric problems, far more than for children without autism, for whom less than two percent of visits were for psychiatric problems. Youth with ASD were also likely to have repeat visits to the ED and more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric unit or medical floor. The study was a review of the literature published between 1985 and 2016.

May 24, 2018

Why We Can and Should Focus on Autism Prevention

In light of the recent increase in autism from 1 in 68 to 1 in 59 children in just two years, a new video by scientist Bruce Lanphear it worth watching and sharing. The video makes the case for preventing chronic diseases like autism rather than chasing down genes or finding cures. In “Cause or Cure. Is the relentless pursuit of a cure hazardous to our health?”, Dr. Lanphear says that more health and science dollars need to be directed to prevention. His approach to prevention is identifying environmental exposures that promote disease and then investing in removing these exposures.

April 23, 2018

Two Treatments with Positive Results and the High Cost of Autism

Two abstracts being presented this week at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurology report positive outcomes from two treatments for autism. A third article on healthcare utilization reports double the cost for adults with autism. A MitoCocktail was tested in eleven children with autism and mitocondrial (mt) dysfunction. Mt dysfunction is common in autism. The MitoCocktail contained carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid. Investigators Craig Newschaffer and colleagues at Drexel University conclude: “This small pilot study supports the hypothesis that in ASD MitoCocktail may have a therapeutic benefit, improving mt function and maladaptive behavior and speech. Larger placebo-controlled trials are needed to demonstrate efficacy.”

April 13, 2018

Help Find the Causes of Autism through the National Birth Defects Registry

The non-profit Birth Defect Research for Children maintains a registry of thousands of children with birth defects. Through a questionnaire completed by parents, the organization is helping to link pre-conception and pre-natal exposures of parents with disabilities in their children. Autism is one condition they focus on. Parents of a child with autism can help identify pre-birth risk factors for autism by completing a registry questionnaire. Autism parents may not think of autism or a developmental disability as a “birth defect”, and some parents may feel that the cause of their child’s autism happens from exposures after birth, i.e., in early childhood, or is due to genetics. However, the research from this registry is applicable to autism and to cases that might have a genetic or a childhood exposure component.

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