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US Autism & Asperger Association
November 28, 2012

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


House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing On Autism Live Stream tomorrow, November 29 at noon ET

committee logoThe House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing will be streamed live tomorrow, Thursday, November 29, on rising autism rates and the federal government's response. The meeting is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (D-Calif.), and the panel has invited witnesses from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and advocacy groups. It was reported that "this is the first time in 10 years that Congress has provided oversight of autism activities".

Live stream of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing On Autism tomorrow, Thursday, November 29

By Anne Dachel, media editor of Age of Autism: "We’ve had over a decade of Congress looking into autism. Back in 2000, the rate was one in very 500 children. Today it’s one in every 88 children, one in every 54 boys. Officials still can’t tell us anything substantial about autism. It’s time we addressed autism as the health care emergency that it is."

Parent comment about the rise in autism: "....I watched a documentary about the Dust Bowl on the devastating drought that struck the area around Oklahoma in the 1930's resulting in loss of life, livestock, family farms. People in New York had no clue about the extent of the problem in Oklahoma until one day the dust blew into New York City. Rather than relying on third party reports or "studies", President Roosevelt got on a train and then a car and traveled to the drought stricken area to see the devastation for himself. He talked to farmers who lost everything. The reality of the crisis was daunting. He immediately created programs to assist those farmers. Statstical analysis, reports and studies are nothing compared to actually getting out and seeing the problem yourself-- Roosevelt got that. He faced reality. People who rely on reports need to get out and see the crisis first hand. What held true for Roosevelt with the drought in the 1930's holds true today-- get out and see the crisis for yourself."

Live Stream tomorrow, November 29 at 2:00 pm ET

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Can a Baby's Cry Be a Clue to Autism?

By Bonnie Rochman, Time Magazine

Researchers have analyzed brain scans and eye movements as harbingers of autism. Now they're listening to babies' cries. Scientists at Brown University think it's possible that infants' early cries might provide a clue to whether they're at risk of developing autism, based on a small study they conducted on about 40 babies. They compared the cries of one group, considered at risk of autism because they had older siblings with the disorder, to a second low-risk group. When the babies were six months old, they were videotaped in order to collect a vocal sampling. At some point during the 45-minute filming, the infants cried.

What's more, the three babies with the highest-pitched cries went on to receive an autism diagnosis, according to the study published in Autism Research.

Researchers isolated the cries and conducted computerized acoustic analysis on the recordings to isolate different frequencies. They also separated out the cries based on whether they were related to pain - if a baby fell in the video, for example, then started wailing - and compared the two groups' pain - related vocalizations.

Full Story

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Traditional and non-traditional treatments for autism spectrum disorder with seizures: an online survey

By Richard E Frye, MD, PhD

seizuresIndividuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a 3 to 22-fold increase in the risk of developing epilepsy as compared to typically developing individuals and up to 25% of individuals with ASD will experience a clinical seizures at some point in their life [1,2]. However, the relationship between epilepsy and ASD is complex [3]. For example, a significant number of individuals with ASD manifest epileptiform abnormalities on electroencephalograph (EEG) despite a lack of clinical seizures, and many of these epileptiform abnormalities do not meet criteria for electrographic seizures [4].

"In general, AEDs [antiepileptic drugs} were perceived to improve seizures but worsened other clinical factors for children with clinical seizure."

Despite the high prevalence of seizure, epilepsy and abnormal EEGs in individuals with ASD, there is little information regarding the relative effectiveness of treatments for epilepsy, seizure or subclinical epileptiform discharges in this population

To learn more about seizures in individuals with autism, visit the USAAA Conference video downloads. Dr. Richard Frye presented "Seizures and Mitochondrial Disorder" at the USAAA 2012 World Conference. The video presentation is USAAA 2012: 13 "Seizures and Mitochondrial Disorders" Richard E. Frye, MD, PhD.

Research Article: Traditional and non-traditional treatments for autism spectrum disorder with seizures: an online survey research article.

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After starting programs for autistic students, Lisle Library worker is honored with state award

By Alex Keown - Suburban Life correspondent

library kidsLife at the Lisle [Illinois] Library isn't all about books and periodicals. For Vicki Rakowski, it's also about ensuring that children feel like they belong at the library - including those with autism and other developmental challenges.

"The library is about more than books, it's about community engagement and making them feel like they're involved," she said. "It's important for children with autism and their family members to see someone is thinking about them and making them feel welcome."

Rakowski, 32, works as the assistant director of youth services, which means organizing reading times and craft projects for the library's youngest patrons. But she also organizes outreach activities for special needs children, including a developmental program at Tate Woods Elementary School and Giant Steps, a Lisle-based organization that provides educational programs for autistic children.

Rakowski said making sure children with autism and other developmental issues feel like they’re part of the library is one of her primary goals.

Full Story

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In this issue:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing On Autism Live Stream tomorrow, November 29 at noon ET

Can a Baby's Cry Be a Clue to Autism?

Traditional and non-traditional treatments for autism spectrum disorder with seizures: an online survey

After starting programs for autistic students, Lisle Library worker is honored with state award


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