By Cindy Pierson, Director of LearningRx Alpharetta-Johns Creek*
Ask the average person on the street what they know about autism and you’ll likely get something along the lines of, “Kids with autism are good at math,” or, “Autistic teenagers aren’t good at socializing.” Mix in something about Hollywood fundraisers and the vaccine controversy and you’ve got a pretty typical summary of media coverage over the past few years.
But that’s media coverage for the general population. Dig below the surface of autism research and you’ll uncover a treasure trove of exciting and insightful new findings on the causes, symptoms and treatments for a variety of diagnoses on the autism spectrum. Here are 15 lesser-known pieces of research:
CAUSES & PREVENTION
1. To reduce their risk of giving birth to children who later become diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s recommended that women take folic acid four weeks BEFORE becoming pregnant and during the first weeks of pregnancy. (SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256301.php)
2. Although autism is the most inheritable neurodevelopmental disorder, it appears that no single gene or gene mutation contributes to all cases, making it difficult to identify every specific genetic cause.(SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/255810.php)
3. Maternal diabetes and obesity during pregnancy are now being linked to a higher chance of giving birth to a child with autism.(SOURCE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120409103942.htm)
4. Catching the flu while pregnant or running a fever for more than one week while pregnant increases a woman’s chance of giving birth to a baby with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. (SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252683.php)
5. Children exposed to traffic-related pollution while in utero or before 12 months of age appear to have a higher risk for autism.(SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253272.php)
SYMPTOMS & DIAGNOSIS
6. It’s common for children with autism to suffer from more gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea.(SOURCE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502080234.htm)
7. Seizure disorders, including epilepsy, are found in nearly 39 percent of people with autism, though it’s more common in those with an intellectual disability.(SOURCE: http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/symptoms#physical)
8. High-risk babies who were later diagnosed with autism showed significant differences in brain development at just six months old. (SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/241876.php)
9. Children whose parents completed the 63-item First Year Inventory questionnaire may be identified as at risk for ASD sooner, leading to earlier interventions than those who received a “traditional” diagnosis years later.(SOURCE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120713122806.htm)
10. A blood marker has been found that may help create blood tests for early screening of autism. (SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255637.php)
11. In a recent study, 75% of autistic children experienced less sever autism symptoms when they were given diuretics to reduce their intracellular chloride levels.(SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/254003.php)
12. Many parents report success through elimination diets, such as those that exclude gluten and casein.(SOURCE: http://www.autismfile.com/diet-nutrition/diet-for-autism-food-allergens-sensitivities-substitutes)
13. One-on-one customized brain training has been found to strengthen the weak cognitive skills often seen in those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially attention, long-term memory, working memory, logic, and processing speed.(SOURCE: http://www.LearningRx.com)
14. Studies show that children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can benefit greatly from certain behavioral therapies, including pivotal response treatment.(SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252463.php)
15. Weekly music therapy sessions improve inattentive behaviors in autistic children.(SOURCE:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219140100.htm)
To find out more about Autism Spectrum Disorders, visit www.AutismSpeaks.org.
*LearningRx brain training centers provide cognitive skills training that empowers anyone of any age to learn faster and easier. Tutoring and other programs reinforce WHAT students must learn (information). LearningRx brain training centers identify and strengthen the skills behind HOW students learn. We provide testing and life-changing training for students of all ages who desire to learn and read better for life. LearningRx Atlanta-Buckhead opened in March 2008 and expanded to the Alpharetta-Johns Creek area in October 2012.