22 August, 2006

Autism linked to delayed brain development - health - 21 August 2006 - New Scientist

Autism linked to delayed brain development - health - 21 August 2006 - New Scientist
Autism may be the result of a delay in neuronal development in the first year of life, despite the fact that autistic children have larger brains, a new study suggests.

The findings challenge a previously held theory that brain abnormalities characteristic of autism were due to faster development.

Brain scans, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that children with autism have brains that are enlarged by around 10%. However, although the children’s brains are larger in size, they appear to lack the neuronal development of healthy children, the researchers say.

Stephen Dager at the University of Washington School of Medicine, US, and colleagues examined the brains of children aged three and four. They compared the brain development of children with autism to children with normal development using a technique known as T2 relaxation, which measures the water properties of brain tissue. As the brain develops, water gets incorporated into neurons and changes from being mobile to tightly bound.

During normal development, this process occurs at a dramatic pace for the first six months, and then continues at a slower pace until 18 months.

Critical stages
Surprisingly, they found that water was more mobile in autistic brain tissue, suggesting that there is actually a delay in neuronal development. This delay was found to be more specific to grey matter distributed at the surface of the brain.

The delay could be cause by inflammation in the first year of life, Dager suggests. “If you’ve got inflammation, it can affect connectivity at a critical stage of brain development.” This may lead to learning difficulties as the child develops, he suggests. “For example, a child has certain key developmental stages for learning language and if you miss those it can be harder to learn that language.”

Some children may have a gene that makes them more likely to produce an inflammatory response early in life, Dager speculates.

Gene hunt
“I think these results are an interesting development, but most research still has no direct link to treatment,” says Matthew Belmonte, senior research associate at the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“Until we know exactly what it is that causes the abnormal development of grey matter we cannot develop drug treatments,” he adds.

Current research has focused on finding candidate genes that might cause rapid early development, but Dager’s study suggests that other avenues of research could be more appropriate. “One might look at genes that cause a susceptibility to inflammation instead,” he says.

Journal reference: Neurology (vol 67, p 632)

21 August, 2006

First Grade makes Me Cry

I remember first grade. I remember

Jake started first grade today. and I cried last night as I was packing his lunch. I cried because I remember the school play, and losing my teeth and sitting next to Kristin Gunnerson. And I remember wearing a 'dickey' to school because my mother made me, then slipping it off in the bathroom because it itched, and Mrs. Geiser asked if I had left my sweater on the bus (because she could not imagine that my mother had sent me to school without a shirt under my jumper.)

So I cried because Jake is there. He is where I begin to really remember my life. And I am not quite sure why it makes me so sad, except that he is experiencing these things and we can't really even talk about them. Then when he is older, will he remember too? Does he remember things like I do? Does he look forward to things like the first day of school? Was he worried this morning? Was he scared on the bus? Is that why he cried? Oh how he cried this morning.

Bonnie from Tower Road, she told me that I would mourn over and over. That I would be able to get it together in between,but that I would probably notice a loss again when we reached different milestones. She forgot to mention first grade. I thought I wouldn't feel it again until junior high school.

My wonderful husband hugged me in the kitchen until I stopped sobbing.

Jake had a great day at school today. He told me he did.

16 August, 2006

Bad Moms Never Wonder at All

So at OUR house... at 5am Lucy wakes up and makes all sorts of grumping noises for about an hour. Then at 9am if Jake is in "an episode" he cries and whines from 9:05 until 9:45. So I guess the increase in Zoloft has helped him get over most of the panic attacks, but it has not made the episodes go away completely..
and has anyone ever heard of lymphoid hyperplasia? I am not getting much information except it seems painful and cyclical... hmmm like my child's episodes? My God. What if it is some thing more than a biochemical issue? What if he has some very painful inflammation every six weeks.

I just doled out the advice that if you are wondering if you are a good mom, then you probably are. Bad moms never wonder at all.

I think I will take my own words of wisdom. I am doing the best that I can right? I picked a splinter out of Jake's foot this morning, do you know how hard it is to get an autistic monkey to sit still?...and I gave him his medicine in bed in some yummy vanilla whole fat yogurt. I am trying everything.

Autism -- an evolving concept -- BERNEY 176 (1): 20 -- The British Journal of Psychiatry

Autism -- an evolving concept -- BERNEY 176 (1): 20 -- The British Journal of Psychiatry: "In the absence of a cure, the implementation of ideas will continue to outstrip factual evidence. Clinicians are challenged by the availability of information (and misinformation), particularly on the internet. "

15 August, 2006

Alexander Pope Solitude: An Ode

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Solitude: An Ode

I
How happy he, who free from care
The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
Contented breaths his native air,
In his own grounds.

II
Whose herds with milk,
whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

III
Blest! who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide swift away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

IV
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

V
Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.

14 August, 2006

Yay for Adderall

I think we have figured out Jake's dosage of Adderall. We actually went to breakfast this morning and we all FOUR of us sat at Stacks and ate breakfast together.
Jake is now able to sit through a meal in a restaurant again. This might seem silly, but our family.. well, one thing we actually do together is we eat. It's something everyone can do. It makes us feel safe.
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