Author Interviews, Autism, Cannabis, JAMA, Pediatrics / 28.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daimei Sasayama, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Psychiatry Shinshu University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing worldwide. A 2016 US survey reported a prevalence of 1.85% in 8-year-olds, and a birth cohort study in Denmark reported that the future cumulative incidence of ASD could exceed 2.8%. Our recent regional cohort study in Japan reported an even higher cumulative incidence of 3.1%. So we examined whether the cumulative incidence in our regional cohort represents the nationwide incidence in Japan.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 08.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kevin Lu PhD Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences College of Pharmacy Medical University of South Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: It is documented that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing in the past few years. However, no information on potential racial and ethnic disparities in ASD diagnosis can be found in the literature. Most recently, the possible structural racism and health inequities have been a concern for the public and policy makers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Pediatrics / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrey Vyshedskiy PhD Boston University, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of ImagiRation? https://imagiration.com/ Response: ImagiRation is a Boston-based startup with links to MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. ImagiRation has developed a highly innovative adaptive language therapy application for children with autism, Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). MedicalResearch.com: How is the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism program delivered? Response: MITA language therapy is administered by parents at home. MITA application works on all smartphones and tablet devices and is designed for children ages 2 to 12 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics / 05.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Kogan, Ph.D. Director of the office of Epidemiology and Research Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This was a study led by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, along with researchers from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard, Drexel, and George Washington Universities.  We used the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally representative survey of over 50,000 children that examines the health and well-being of US children, to examine the prevalence, treatment, and health care experiences of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We found that 1 out of 40 children in the US were reported by their parents to have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We also found that children with ASD were significantly less likely to receive services like needed care coordination, referrals to other services, and mental health counseling – even compared to children with other emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders (EBDs).  Parents of children with ASD were also significantly more likely to report being usually or always frustrated in their attempts to get services, again compared to families of children with other EBDs. Finally, we looked at treatment patterns for children with ASD and found that 64% had received behavioral therapy in the year before the interview, and 27% had received medications to treat symptoms of irritability.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Cairo Air Pollution with less smog - Pyramids1" by Nina Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0Lief Pagalan, MSc Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University Research Trainee, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pregnant women more heavily exposed to air pollution had higher chances of having children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The causes of ASD are not fully understood, but this study adds to the growing evidence that environmental risk factors have a role to play. Our study found an association between autism spectrum disorder in the children of women more heavily exposed to air pollution. We observed these results using well-defined cases of ASD and in Vancouver, Canada, which typically has lower air pollution. These findings are consistent with studies done in the U.S., Israel, and Taiwan, which have also found an increased risk of ASD from exposure to air pollution.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, OBGYNE / 01.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Magdalena Janecka PhD Department of Psychiatry Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our paper explored the association between maternal use of medication during pregnancy and the rates of autism in a large cohort from Israel. This followed on from a number of earlier studies reporting that the use of certain medications - for example antidepressants - during pregnancy is associated with higher rates of autism in children. However, rather than test the effects of any particular drug, or a set of drugs aggregated based on maternal condition, our large dataset allowed us to group all medications prescribed to pregnant women based on their drug target, and in the subsequent analyses focus on over 50 groups that included drugs with neurotransmitter-relevant targets - for example agonists and antagonists of their receptors. (more…)
Author Interviews / 20.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Juergen Hahn,  Professor and Department Head Department of Biomedical Engineering Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) encompasses a large group of early‐onset developmental disorders that are collectively characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication as well as the expression of restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests. ASD is currently estimated to affect 1 in 59 children in the US. Despite this high prevalence, relatively little is know about the pathophysiology of ASD. The result of this is that no lab test exists for ASD and the diagnosis is based upon observations of the child. The average age of diagnosis is 4 years of age, but it is generally acknowledged that diagnosis at 2 years of age is possible and desirable. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics / 14.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Driving” by Martin Alvarez Espinar is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristina Elise Patrick, Ph.D Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, OH 43205 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many families of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are concerned that they may have difficulty acquiring driver’s licenses and driving safely because of symptoms of ASD. However, the ability to drive opens the door to a variety of social, occupational, and educational experiences. We aimed to assess differences in simulated driving behaviors of young adults with ASD and those with typical development and to evaluate whether differences depended on level of driving experience and complexity of the driving task. On average, young adults with ASD had more difficulty regulating their speed and position within their lane compared with typically developing individuals even on a very basic rural route. After completing the basic route, drivers were required to engage in more complex tasks such as changing the radio or engaging in conversation while driving, driving through a construction zone, and following behind a truck. On complex driving tasks, drivers with ASD who had acquired licensure drove similarly to typically developing drivers who had acquired licensure. However, novice drivers with ASD had more difficulty than typically developing drivers regulating their speed and position within the lane. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, Pediatrics / 10.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies indicated a possible link between immunologic dysfunction and autism. The current study, based on nationally representative large-scale surveys, showed that food allergy, respiratory allergy, and skin allergy, all relevant to immunological dysfunction, were associated with autism spectrum disorder among US children. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 08.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ali Khashan, PhD Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology School of Public Health & INFANT Centre University College Cork Cork, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is some evidence to suggest an increased likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders in relation to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, however consensus is lacking. Considering hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are among the most common prenatal complication, we decided to synthesise the published literature on this topic by conducting a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis. Our main findings suggest that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are associated with about 30% increase in the likelihood of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and ADHD in the offspring, compared to offspring not exposed to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Dental Research, Mineral Metabolism, Pediatrics / 31.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “baby teeth” by Thomas Ricker is licensed under CC BY 2.0Christine Austin PhD Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that some metals (nutrients and toxicants) are absorbed and metabolized differently in children with autism spectrum disorder compared to neuro-typical children. However, it is not known when this dysregulation occurs and it is incredibly difficult to study prenatal metal metabolism. Teeth, which begin forming prenatally, grow by adding a new layer every day, much like the yearly growth rings in trees. Each layer formed captures many of the chemicals circulating in the body at the time. We have developed a method to measure metals in these layers to build a timeline of metal exposure during the prenatal and early childhood period. We found that the cycles of copper and zinc metabolism were disrupted in children with ASD and used this feature to develop a method to predict the emergence of autism spectrum disorder with 90% accuracy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pharmaceutical Companies, Roche, Vanderbilt / 16.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Kevin Sanders, MD Principle Medical Director-Product Development Neuroscience Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics Vanderbilt University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement?  Response: The FDA has granted Roche Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its investigational oral medicine balovaptan (previously known as RG7314), a vasopressin 1a (V1a) receptor antagonist for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for balovaptan is primarily based on efficacy findings in the VANILLA (Vasopressin ANtagonist to Improve sociaL communication in Autism) study, a Phase II trial of balovaptan in adults with ASD. Trial results were first presented at the International Congress for Autism Research (IMFAR) in May 2017. Treatment effects were observed on the Vineland-II (secondary endpoint) and also demonstrated that balovaptan was safe and well tolerated by the subjects in the study. The Vineland-II is a scale that measures socialization, communication and daily living skills. This data was presented to the FDA and is part of the basis of the Breakthrough Designation.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Nature / 20.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Di Wu, Msc PhD candidate at Indiana University Graduate Research Assistant Department of Physics Indiana University Bloomington Linked-in: www.linkedin.com/in/di-wu-3a197373  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current clinical diagnosis and evaluations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). has remained subjective in nature. There is a need to have objective assessments for the disorder. We discovered in this study an important motion feature that was unknown before. This feature provides a clear screening of ASD. It gave a remarkable quantitative connection between the way children with ASD move and their psychiatric scores, like the IQ score and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale. This connection we captured suggests that the motor feature may be an essential core feature characterizing ASD deficits, as well as neurodevelopment in general. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH Professor and Interim Chair Department of Population Health Sciences University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children in the U.S. have found two consistent patterns.  One is a higher prevalence among white non-Hispanic children than among black non-Hispanic or Hispanic children.  The other is a positive socioeconomic gradient, meaning that ASD prevalence in the U.S. is found to increase with increasing income and other indicators of socioeconomic status. One of the findings of this new study is that the racial and ethnic differences in autism spectrum disorder prevalence are not explained by socioeconomic factors, because even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors, ASD prevalence was found to be significantly lower in black and Hispanic children than in white non-Hispanic children.  Another finding is that the gap in ASD prevalence between children of high and low socioeconomic status did not change over time between 2002 and 2010, though the overall prevalence of ASD more than doubled during this period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, JAMA / 27.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sven Sandin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2014, we estimated the heritability of autism to be approximately 50%. Motivating us then was the lack of studies in autism heritability using population based and the findings from a twin-study in California finding the heritability to be substantially lower than the 80-90% estimated in previous studies. Since then continued efforts working with the questions on heritability and environmental factors for autism we found differences between different methods and different samples. When we went back to our previous data we found the heritability of autism to be higher than previously estimated. We found that our previous result was due to a methodological artifact where the adjustment for differences in follow-up used in that manuscript underestimated the heritability. Using methods used in other heritability studies the heritability is now estimated to 84%. Importantly, as previously concluded, there is no support for any ‘shared environmental factors’ in the etiology of autism, e.g. environmental factors shared between two siblings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Environmental Risks, OBGYNE, Toxin Research, UC Davis / 12.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca J. Schmidt, M.S., Ph.D.  Assistant Professor, Public Health Sciences UC Davis California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Maternal folic acid taken near conception has been linked to reduced risk for autism in the child in previous studies. Separate studies show that exposure to pesticides during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for autism. Animal studies demonstrate that folic acid and other B-vitamins can attenuate effects of certain environmental contaminants, including pesticides. This case-control study examined combined maternal folic acid and pesticide exposures in relation to autism in the child. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Gastrointestinal Disease, Psychological Science / 05.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Q. Beversdor MD Center for Translational Neuroscience University Hospital University of Missouri Health System Columbia, MO 65212 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Altered stress reactivity, alterations in cytokines and a high incidence of gastrointestinal disturbances have all been observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We wished to examine the interactions between these factors. What we found was that patients with greater stress reactivity, as indicated by cortisol response in the testing environment, had greater symptomatology involving the lower gastrointestinal tract, which was predominated by constipation. (more…)