Monthly Research Updates

researchScientists 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. I thought I would share on a monthly basis stories that caught my eye.

 ~ Maureen

Epilepsy in family members raises risk of autism

A study in Sweden states that people with epilepsy are at eight times the risk of autism as the general population. Siblings and children of individuals with epilepsy are also at an increased risk. The findings, which appeared in June in Neurology, lend credence to the idea that autism and epilepsy share genetic roots. Among some individuals with epilepsy and their relatives, a second genetic ‘hit’ or environmental trigger may tip the balance toward autism.

Read the full article here.

 Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses

                More U.S. children are getting diagnosed and treated for autism in states that require commercial health insurers to cover these services, a new study finds. Fifteen years ago, Indiana was the first state to mandate that commercial health insurers cover behavioral treatments for autism. Since then, 43 other states have also made autism treatment more accessible to families that couldn’t afford it.

Read the full article here.

 Diabetes drug counters weight gain associated with autism medicines

In a small new study, a commonly used diabetes drug curbed the troublesome weight gain that is a common side effect of the only two medicines approved for reducing agitation in children and teens with autism. The promising results of the study appear in the latest issue of JAMA Psychiatry. Risperidone (brand name Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilify) are the only medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for reducing agitation and irritability in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These medicines become important when serious agitation – including aggression – does not respond to non-drug, behavioral therapy. However, both risperidone and aripiprazole commonly produce significant weight gain – a worrisome side effect given obesity’s many associated health risks.

Read the full article here.


Tune in next month for an update on autism research!

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