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US Autism & Asperger Association
January 13, 2012

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

Study Finds that Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Symptoms Have Altered Expression of Genes Involved in Digestion
These changes may also affect the mix of bacteria present in the digestive tract

columbia university logo harvard medical school

Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and at the Harvard Medical School report that children with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances have altered expression of genes involved in digestion. These variations may contribute to changes in the types of bacteria in their intestines.

Full study findings are reported September 16, 2011 in the journal PLoS One.

These variations were also associated with changes in the bacterial composition of the intestine.

Autism, which is defined by impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, affects approximately 1% of the population. Many children with autism have gastrointestinal problems that can complicate clinical management and contribute to behavioral disturbances. In some children, special diets and antibiotics have been associated with improvements in social, cognitive and gastrointestinal function.


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Previous Findings of GI Problems in Autism Validated

Commentary, by Phillip C. DeMio, MD
Chief Medical Officer, US Autism & Asperger Association

phillip demioSalt Lake City, UT, January 13, 2012 - A recent study of gastrointestinal problems in autism, published in the Fall of 2011, and done by authors at Harvard and Columbia Universities has reaffirmed previous dogma regarding gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities in persons affected with autism: dietary carbohydrate digestion is abnormally low, there are abnormal bacteria in the GI tract, and this is associated with the symptoms of autism. This reaffirms the published findings in autism from more than a decade ago of such groundbreakers as Wakefield, D'Eufemia, and Horvath, all of whom the authors reference.

"This work makes an important point: many individuals with autism, (children and adults), have abnormal digestion and abnormal bugs in their GI tracts, and this is a big player in the way they manifest autistic symptoms."

The recent authors made observations of the gene expression of both the bacteria and the human subjects, as a probe into carb digestion and types of bacteria present in the subjects. This does not mean our affected kids & adults have abnormal genes; rather state of the art understanding says (and the authors discuss) that remnant (undigested) carbs from poor digestion are a bad combination with bad-guy bacteria. This leads to adverse chemical and immunologic influences on the brain, and therefore it at least worsens and maybe causes autistic symptoms.


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Rebuilding the 'Grammar Machinery' in Autistic Children, Part 1
An interview with Harry D. Schneider, M.D.

By James Ottar Grundvig

schneider interviewIn January 2009, my son Fridrik was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and underwent an active MRI scan in a Columbia University Study on children with low-functioning language. At that time, Dr. Harry Schneider started his long-term treatment program on Fridrik.

Columbia University is one of the leading centers using Functional MRI/DTI to investigate language decline in children with low-functioning autism.

Schneider developed the treatment using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). The goal was to repair Fridrik’s neural pathway, while teaching him language vis-à-vis “implicit learning” techniques.

“Dr. Harry,” as his spectrum [autism spectrum disorder] patients call him, does not work alone. Besides teaming up with Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) on the MRI Study, his office in Plainville, N.Y., is co-run by his wife, Debra Schneider. Together, with her business efficiency to schedule clients in the New York City metro area, North America, and the world - sometimes seven days a week to accommodate the “out-of-towners - they form a formidable, but approachable team. They are adept at connecting not only with their clients, but with the parents of the children as well.

"The long-term goals of the language protocol are to have children re-acquire functional language: the ability to initiate and maintain a meaningful dialogue."


more on Dr. Harry D. Schneider, MD, Brain Research Scientist

New Frontiers in Language Restoration

tDCS for depression - The British Journal of Psychiatry

Aberdeen University to explore the potential of tDCS as an intervention for autism and, as such, is ground-breaking work.

Can Direct Brain Stimulation Boost Performance?

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Researching the effects of music on language for individuals with ASD

univ of roehamptonAdam Reece is a PhD candidate at Southlands College, Roehampton University, London, UK, undertaking research into the impact of music and language in children and young people with autism.

Research to have a better understanding into the effects of music and language for individuals with ASD

The following is a link to a survey and with your help, the researcher will be able to have a better understanding into the effects of music and language for individuals with ASD.

Take the survey now.

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