A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

Browsing Posts published in April, 2012

article from the Wall Street Journal referring to those in the spectrum and their innate ability to solve complex problems that leave neurotypicals running for the exits.  Again, it appears the autistic mind drives change, while the neurotypical can only spend change.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303816504577307491933671470.html

…and how frickin cool would that be?  It’s the CEO of Seaside talking about pills in the work for autism following their success with Fragile X.  There have been some encouraging studies with mice that have effectively reversed autism.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some day you simply gave your child a pill and within minutes, their synapses started connecting, neurons started firing and they began to have spontaneous conversations.  That makes for a wonderful, wonderful, dream!

A study out Wednesday in the journal Neuron found that medication could correct the health and behavior problems of mice with a genetic condition known to lead to autismin people. The drug, which acts on the synapses, or gaps, between brain cells, reversed a vast range of symptoms often associated with autism — including lack of sociability, physical awkwardness, and hyperactivity.

Most surprising, the drug worked on adolescent mice, showing that these symptoms are reversible even after the critical period of early brain development.

“I was thrilled,” said Mark Bear, the MIT neuroscientist who led the research.

http://www.boston.com/Boston/dailydose/2012/04/could-autism-reversed-with-pill/lk78SvP6Dn9qnR0lc3gvIM/index.html

 

Another day, another story on some odd causation implication of autism.  The old dad thing has been floating around for awhile and that makes sense.  This takes into account the likelihood that a man’s sperm can become mutated over time due to whatever the hell is rolling through our environment nowadays.

I just wish we spent more time focusing on potential remedies (get those neurons firing!) and less time assigning blame.

Decent recap in USA Today on the contributing factors that can lead to an autistic child.  Of course, this is all subject to change and what is being called science is mostly directional.  Just take it all with a grain of salt and slightly more confidence than urban legend:

What’s known about contributing factors:

Genes. About 15% to 20% of autistic children have a genetic mutation that causes their disorder, Insel says. Certain genetic disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome and Rett syndrome, are well-known for increasing the risk of autism. Even when genes are the main contributor to autism, however, it’s possible that most children have a unique mutation or set of mutations, says David Amaral, research director of the University of California-Davis MIND Institute.

Family history. If parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child diagnosed with the disorder is nearly 20%, according to a landmark study from U.C.-Davis. Among those with two autistic children, the risk of having a third is 32%, study author Sally Ozonoff says.

Environmental pollution. One California study published last year found that babies whose mothers lived near a highway while pregnant were more likely to be diagnosed as autistic.

Older parents. Both older fathers and mothers are at higher risk of having autistic children, Newschaffer says. Research from Israel and the Harvard School of Public Health also suggests that infertility treatments, which are more often used among older patients, are linked to a higher risk of autism.

Prematurity, low birthweight. An October study in Pediatrics found that, among babies born weighing less than about 4½ pounds, 5% had been diagnosed as autistic by age 21.

Medications. Many studies now show that a seizure treatment called valproic acid can increase the risk of autism in children exposed before birth. A single study published last year found a higher risk among children exposed prenatally to antidepressants. Using prenatal vitamins is linked to a lower risk of autism.

Closely spaced pregnancies. In a 2011 study, children who were born less than one year after an older sibling were three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism, compared with children born three years after their mother’s last pregnancy.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-04-20/autism-causes-researchers/53955958/1

Well, if you’re reading this journal, odds are you’re a dad or a mom of someone with autism.  There is a lingering urban myth that 80% of parents of an autistic child get divorced.  In fact, the divorce rate is only slightly higher than the national average.  That said, autism certainly adds an extra strain to a marriage.  And in today’s economic malaise, who needs extra stress?

The article below by Hannah Brown is from the perspective of a mom who can’t seem to get that 80% statistic out of her mind (if it’s real to you, then it is real).

http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/02/10944696-divorce-after-autism-why-do-dads-leave