Research Articles

April 30, 2020

Improvement from 6 Month Probiotic/Prebiotic Treatment for Autism

A new study [1] confirms differences in gut microbiome composition between autistic children and typically developing children, and has reported improvement in autism symptomatology with a probiotic/prebiotic treatment. Improvements were seen in gut microbiome diversity, metabolites and function, as well as autism behaviors and neurotransmitters.

April 30, 2020

Pets May Help Autism Families Alleviate Stress

New research out of the University of Missouri has discovered that pet ownership can be a positive experience for families with a member on the autism spectrum. Researchers from the university surveyed 764 families using the Interactive Autism Network about the benefits and burdens of pet ownership. Data extracted from the survey showed that the added responsibility of caring for a pet was well worth the effort. Children in homes with dog(s) and/or cat(s) were able to form bonds with their pet(s) which, in turn, provided the child with more comfort and less stress.

April 20, 2020

Autistic Aggression & Self Injury Helped by Common Drug

The common hypertension drug propranolol has been found to decrease aggression, self-injury and severely disruptive behavior in children and adults with autism if given in high doses. These behaviors afflict up to 68% of those with autism, with self-injurious behavior (SIB) alone affecting 42%. Among the study participants, the vast majority – 85% – were rated much improved or very much improved in their challenging behaviors, with 4% slightly improved and 11% not improved or worse.

April 20, 2020

Study Finds High Rate of Psychiatric Disorders in Autism

Wide Gaps Seen in Identification & Care – A new comprehensive review of scientific studies from the past 15 years has confirmed the extensive burden of psychiatric conditions that accompany a diagnosis of autism. The review found high rates of anxiety, depression, bipolar and mood disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, suicide behavior, eating disorders, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders in autism populations.

April 20, 2020

COVID-19 Shuts Down Portions of Important Autism Research

Scientists Adapt to Changes in the Workplace: In mid-March, Spectrum Autism Research News alerted the autism community to a troubling new problem with potentially long-term consequences. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists across the nation began to scramble figuring out ways to either continue or alter their research projects as colleges and universities were shutting down, sending their students home in order to transition to remote learning. These actions, intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, established situations where autism research was either halted or hindered, setting back promising projects including clinical trials.

April 10, 2020

Is Disclosing an Autism Diagnosis a Good Idea? There’s No Clear Answer

Results are mixed when it comes to disclosing a child’s autism diagnosis to other people. Generally, being transparent about the disorder is considered a good idea. However as a researcher at the University of Alberta (U of A) has found, it doesn’t always point to better inclusion or reduced bullying. Unfortunately, in some instances, the admission can lead to reduced expectations at school and an obstacle to participating in team sports.

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