Monthly Research Updates

Although it may not always seem to be the case, scientists and researchers are constantly uncovering more information related to autism, offering insights into the origins, possible causes and even at times potential cures. I come across dozens of articles on a weekly basis, some of which seem more important than others.

Below are five stories that caught my eye this month, including a study just published by the WSJ today. I hope you find them as intriguing as I did!

~ Maureen

researchResearch Suggests Toddlers Who Have Poor Motor Skills May Be Bad in Math

While kids are introduced to math in their early years, it can be challenging for the teachers of small children to gauge children’s mathematical levels. The researchers hope to address this gap by establishing a correlation between mathematical skills and motor function. According to the study, there were big differences in mathematical skill levels between the children with the strongest and poorest motor skills. Children with good motor skills were more mathematically advanced in all areas studied.

Read the full article here.

Mindfulness Training for Parents and Their Children With ADHD Increases the Children’s Compliance

Children with ADHD are often non-compliant with parental instructions. This study shows that providing mindfulness training to parents, without a focus on reducing problem behaviors, can enhance positive interactions with their children and increase their satisfaction with parenting.

Read the full article here.

Low Doses of Anti-Anxiety Drugs May Alleviate Autism-Like Symptoms

A long-standing theory posits that autism may arise from an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory signals in the brain. The research team collected mounting evidence over the past five years, which suggests that benzodiazepines — a class of drugs prescribed for anxiety — may help restore this balance in some instances. In a study with mice, a very small dose of one of these drugs boosts inhibitory brain signals and alleviates autism-like symptoms.

Read the full article and watch a webinar from the leading researcher here.

ADHD Symptoms Can Delay Autism Diagnosis for Years

A new study finds that the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can significantly delay the recognition of autism in children. Because early intervention is so important with autism, the researchers urge doctors and others who screen for such disorders to carefully evaluate autism in children with ADHD.

Read the full article here.

Gluten-Free Diet Has No Benefit for Children with Autism, Study Finds

The new work, conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, examines the gluten-free, casein-free diet. Popular as an alternative treatment for autism, the diet doesn’t appear to improve behaviors or symptoms of the condition, according to a small but rigorously conducted study published this month in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Many experts in the field say perhaps the highest-quality evidence to date that eliminating proteins found in wheat and dairy doesn’t improve autism symptoms.

Read the full article here.

Tune in next month for an update on autism research!

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