Highlights from IMFAR 2008:
Saturday, May 17
Prospective Evaluation of Head Growth in Infants at Increased Risk of Autism
Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Autism Research Centre, Glenrose Rehabitation Hospital, Edmonton, AB T5B 0B7, Canada
W. L. Stone, Pediatrics and Psychology & Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203
K. Dobkins, Psychology, UC San Diego, Psychology Dept. Mail Code 0109, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093
R. Urbano, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Peabody Box 0040, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN
W. Lambert, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Peabody Box 0163, Nashville, TN
S. Bryson, Autism Research Centre, Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre, Halifax, ON, Canada
K. Chawarska, Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510
J. N. Constantino, Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine
G. Dawson, University of Washington, Center on Human Development and Disability, Seattle, WA 98195
A. Klin, Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, 40 Temple St. Suite 6B, New Haven, CT 06510
R. Landa, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical School, 3901 Greenspring Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
S. Ozonoff, Psychiatry, University of California at Davis, 2805 50th St, Sacramento, 95817
S. J. Rogers, Psychiatry, University of California at Davis MIND Institute, 2805 50th St, Sacramento, CA 95817
M. Sigman, Depts. of Psychiatry and Psychology, UCLA, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024
T. B. S. R. C. (BSRC), Autism Speaks/NICHD
Background: Increased head circumference is the most consistently replicated biological marker of autism since the disorder was first described by Kanner in 1943. Recent analyses of data from medical records have suggested that accelerated head growth has an onset during the first year of life, although the apparent timing of this phenomenon varies between studies. To date, there are no prospective data on whether atypical trajectories of head growth are predictive of ASD.
Objectives: To assess prospectively whether children with ASD identified from a cohort of high-risk infants (siblings of children with ASD) exhibit accelerated head growth relative to non-diagnosed high-risk infants and low-risk comparison infants (no family history of ASD).
Methods: Head circumference (HC) was measured prospectively on a total of 761 high-risk and 400 low-risk infants from 11 sites across North America and supplemented by data from health records (25% of total dataset). Analyses compared head growth between high-risk infants diagnosed with ASD at age 24 months (DSM-IV clinical best estimate based on developmental history and symptoms observed on the ADOS) to non-diagnosed high-risk and low risk infants. Growth trajectories were assessed using mixed longitudinal models, assessing change in HC as a function of time (linear growth) and time-squared (acceleration/deceleration), including sex as a fixed covariate, and height as a time-varying covariate.
Results: Mean HC at birth (model-based estimates) did not differ significantly between the three groups (p=0.08). However, there were significant differences between the ASD and both non-ASD groups in HC growth rate (growth rate 0.06 cm/month faster in ASD group compared to non-diagnosed high-risk and low-risk infants; p=.021 and p=.017, respectively), and in deceleration rate (deceleration rate 0.002 cm/month higher in ASD group; p=.018 and p=.021, respectively).
Conclusions: Prospectively measured head growth rates differentiate infants subsequently diagnosed with ASD from non-diagnosed high-risk and low-risk infants.
Early detection and diagnosis of autism help ensure that affected children begin effective interventions as early as possible. Current early detection efforts focus on behavioral signs. However, the search for early biological signs could complement these efforts, and provide clues about the mechanisms underlying atypical development in children with autism.
Previous reports, based on a retrospective analysis of growth records, suggest that a proportion of children with autism experience rapid brain growth early in life, with average size head size at birth, and enlarged head size by the preschool years. Based on these reports, we hypothesized that increased rate of head growth in the first 2 years of life may be predictive of autism. Our group, the international ‘Baby Siblings Research Consortium’, followed 819 infants at increased risk of autism (each with an older sibling with the diagnosis) and 623 low-risk infants (no family history of autism).
This study is the first to directly examine head growth as a predictive marker in high-risk infants. We found that infants who were later diagnosed with autism had a more rapid rate of head growth in the first 2 years of life than infants who did not develop autism. Rapid head growth may help health care professionals identify infants at increased risk of autism.
Highlights from IMFAR 2008:
Saturday, May 17
Keynote Speaker Presentation
John N. Constantino, Associate Professor, Psychiatry (Child)
Washington University School of Medicine
Title: The Broader Autism Phenotype and the new genetics of familial and non-familial autism
Overview: New discoveries in molecular genetics are changing the landscape of our understanding of the causes of autism. In familial autism, it is common (significantly more so than in the general population) for clinically-unaffected male family members to exhibit features of what is known as the broader autism phenotype (BAP). This may not be true for females or for non-familial autism. The implications of the BAP for understanding the biology of autism are potentially profound. This presentation will cover recent scientific findings on the clinical, genetic, neurobiologic and epidemiologic features of the BAP, how it relates to other autism endophenotypes, and how quantitative characterization of the BAP can aid in the search for core genetic and neurobiologic components of autistic syndromes.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.