Wendy Chung is the director of clinical research at the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, which does both basic and applied science to serve people affected by autism spectrum disorders. She’s the principal investigator of the foundation’s Simons Variation in Individuals Project, which characterizes behavior and brain structure and function in participants with genetic copy number variants such as those at 16p11.2, which are believed to play a role in spectrum disorders. Chung also directs the clinical genetics program at Columbia University. In assessing and treating kids with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities, she uses advanced genomic diagnostics to explore the genetic basis of neurological conditions. She thinks deeply about the ethical and emotional questions around genetic medicine and genetic testing. (information from site TED.com)
The story behind a rising star in the music and entertainment world, Ethan is a young musician, composer, and entertainer who has captivated the world one performance at a time. You won’t believe what he has done at age 8.. Just Watch!
Another amazing piano player – superstar musician with autism. A blind severely autistic man, Derek, is known as the Human ipod. By the age of four his family realised that after hearing a song only once he could play it perfectly on the piano. Now, 25 years later Derek has a repertoire of well over 20,000 songs that he can play instantly from memory. In this clip he is taking requests from the audience at a concert set out to give the limelight to some severely autistic people.
Discussions and theories about etiology, diagnosis and treatment approaches of autism may be controversial and debatable, however recent studies in different areas produce some interesting and surprising results. It’s known about involvement of genes (fragile genes and genetic predisposition) of developing autism, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Ecological factors (that may affect developmental processes) are also discussed.
There are less supporters of linking of autism to standard childhood vaccination specially with new method of production of vaccine and one of the latest research conducted by Keely Cheslack-Postava, PhD, MSPH, Kayuet Liu, DPhil and Peter S. Bearman, PhD (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars, Columbia University, New York, New York; and Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York). They conduct a study to determine if risk of autism could be linked to inter-pregnancy interval (IPI) in subsequent births. The results of their research suggest that those children who born after shorter period between pregnancies may have higher risk of developing autism (the highest risk was among children born with less than one year between siblings). Mothers prenatal health status plays very important role in developing a healthy child. Recent pregnancies, stress factors alter mother’s health status, ecology, exposure to hazards, physiological processes, availability of nutrition’s for developing child that causes damage of developmental processes that leads to neurological and other pathological conditions in babies. It’s known that some psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia in younger sibling is linked to closely spaced pregnancy. Higher risk of autism in children born from close spaced pregnancy, genetic factors should increase awareness among health care providers and women planning their families and pregnancies.
This research supports ideas that vaccination has nothing to do with developing of autism in children, however more research should be done to completely unlink vaccines and it’s ingredients from autism (Could it be some unknown component or mix of components of vaccine (even inactive ingredient) affecting fragile physiological process of developing functional interconnection between essential areas of child’s neuro system?).
“I have watched Pete McAlindon grow and change over the last decade,” said Sara Nerlove, now program director for NSF’s Partnerships for Innovation program. “He has taken the concept that he developed as dissertation research, and using his skills as a human factors engineer, turned it into a very creative device to help people with disabilities. The result of his skill and persistence is the evolution of his technology into an ingenious adaptation, one that makes his goal of providing for persons with disabilities a sustainable effort.” McAlindon continues to work with his colleagues to find applications for his approach, most recently applying the system to video game controllers, allowing hundreds of thousands of online gamers to say goodbye to their keyboards using BlueOrb’s Switchblade software. The gaming approach grew exponentially last year when it was paired to the launch of one of the largest online multiplayer games in the world.
However, the finding could help scientists understand how change in the gene structure may work in tandem with other risk factors and to lead to the pervasive developmental disorders and particularly autism.
Researches analyzed the DNA of 1,046 members of families with at least two sons diagnosed with autism. Inside chromosome 17, a hot spot of previous autism studies, these families harbored a variant of CACNAIG gene.