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US Autism & Asperger Association
December 16, 2011

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.

Special Tax Deductions for Special Education

tax deductionsMore than six million children in the U.S. fall into the "special needs" category, and their ranks are expanding. The number of those affected by one developmental disability alone autism grew more than 70% between 2005 and 2010.

The tax code can help - if you know where to look.

"Establish the medical need for the special education or therapy. Note that it must be "primarily" to treat the issue. "
Mike Walther of Oak Wealth Advisors

There are numerous tax breaks for education, but the most important one for many special-needs students isn't an education break per se. Instead, it falls under the medical-expense category.

Although students with disabilities have a right to a "free and appropriate" public education by law, some families opt out and others pay for a range of supplemental therapies.


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Melatonin for Sleep in Children with Autism: A Controlled Trial Examining Dose, Tolerability, and Outcomes

Beth Malow, Karen W. Adkins, Susan G. McGrew, Lily Wang, Suzanne E. Goldman, Diane Fawkes and Courtney Burnette

melatoninSupplemental melatonin has shown promise in treating sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty-four children, free of psychotropic medications, completed an open-label dose-escalation study to assess dose-response, tolerability, safety, feasibility of collecting actigraphy data, and ability of outcome measures to detect change during a 14-week intervention.

Supplemental melatonin has shown promise in treating sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Supplemental melatonin improved sleep latency, as measured by actigraphy, in most children at 1 or 3 mg dosages. It was effective in week 1 of treatment, maintained effects over several months, was well tolerated and safe, and showed improvement in sleep, behavior, and parenting stress. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on supplemental melatonin for insomnia in ASD and inform planning for a large randomized trial in this population.



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Autism may involve disordered white matter in the brain
Imaging of patients with a rare condition associated with autism reveals altered nerve-fiber pathways

brain axonsBoston, Mass.--It's still unclear what's different in the brains of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but evidence from genetic and cell studies points to abnormalities in how brain cells (neurons) connect to each other. A study at Children's Hospital Boston now provides visual evidence associating autism with a disorganized structure of brain connections, as well as defects in myelin -- the fatty, insulating coating that helps nerve fibers conduct signals and that makes up the brain's white matter.

The findings...are consistent with brain MRIs in older, high-functioning individuals with ASDs, showing abnormalities in connectivity in the corpus callosum and in areas of brain involved in language and social skills.

Researchers led by Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology, Simon Warfield, PhD, director of the Computational Radiology Laboratory, and first author Jurriaan Peters, MD, of both departments at Children’s, used advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image the brains of 40 patients (infants to age 25) with tuberous sclerosis complex and 29 age-matched, healthy controls. Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic condition often associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits, including ASDs about 50 percent of the time.


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Taking Just a Little Too Much Tylenol Can Be Deadly

By Dr. Mercola

tylenolIf you use acetaminophen-containing products (such as Tylenol) for minor aches and pains, or prescription drugs like Vicodin (which also contain it), please be very careful about the dose.

Adding to the problem is the fact that acetaminophen is not only in products labeled as "Tylenol." It's also widely used in cold and flu and other over-the-counter medications.

As new research confirms, even a very slight overdose over the course of several days could be deadly.

In fact, a new study, led by Dr. Kenneth Simpson of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, found that you're more likely to die from a "staggered overdose"(taking just a little bit too much for several days or weeks) of Tylenol than from a single large overdose.

Among the people who took a staggered overdose of Tylenol, 37 percent died, compared to 28 percent of those who took one large overdose.


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USAAA Conference Presentation Downloads Holiday Special Offer

All 19 recorded sessions for only $99 or download each individual session for only $10; audio download only $5

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Upcoming Conference

  • 2012 USAAA World Conference - Date and Location TBD

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