Spectrum Newsletter - Issue 4

Issue 4 - May 2010

Spectrum informs ADDRP Newsletter subscribers about the latest ADDRP activities, reviews recent studies in the field of autism and developmental disabilities, and lists any available educational opportunities through Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford University.


Welcome. This our fourth issue of our newsletter "Spectrum" that is being provided on quarterly basis to update you information on the activities of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research Program under the direction of Dr. Antonio Hardan. We appreciated the feedback that we've received after our first issue and will look forward to hear your input about this and future issues. We are hoping that you will find this newsletter helpful and informative. Please feel free to forward it to families and friends.


Autism Conference

Autism Conference: 3rd Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Update, May 15th, 2010

The Stanford Autism Center at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital is presenting a conference on advances in science and clinical care for Autism Spectrum Disorders. This one day conference is designed to provide parents, teachers and care providers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with the latest findings on research and clinical care, utilizing a lifetime perspective.

The conference will be held on Saturday, May 15th, 2010 at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center at Stanford University.

The registration fee is $100 and includes a continental breakfast and a buffet lunch.

Register at: http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu



Autism Spectrum Disorders: Educational Series for Parents

The Stanford Autism Center at LPCH is offering a 10 part program, focused on diagnosis, treatment, and services, for parents of children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Sessions are held at 401 Quarry Road on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:00pm for $5 per meeting. Sessions are on a drop-in basis and parents may join at any time for individual sessions.

Register at http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu

Issue 4, may 2010


Gender discrimination of eyes and mouths by individuals with autism (Best et al., 2010; University of Pittsburgh).

Evidence remains mixed about whether individuals with autism look less to eyes and whether they look more at mouths. Few studies have examined how spontaneous attention to facial features relates to face processing abilities. This study tested the ability to discriminate gender from facial features, namely eyes and mouths, by comparing accuracy scores of 17 children with autism and 15 adults with autism to 17 typically developing children and 15 typically developing adults. Results indicate that all participants regardless of diagnosis discriminated gender more accurately from eyes from mouths. However, results indicated that compares to adults without autism, adults with autism were significantly worse at discriminating gender from eyes.

Randomized Controlled Caregiver Mediated Joint Engagement Intervention for Toddlers with Autism (Kasari et al., 2010; University of California, Los Angeles).

This study aimed to determine if a joint attention intervention would result in greater joint engagement between caregivers and toddlers with autism. The intervention consisted of 24 caregiver-mediated sessions with follow-up 1 year later. 38 families participated in this trial with 18 randomized to the active intervention and 18 to the waitlist. Compared to caregivers and toddlers randomized to the waitlist control group the immediate treatment (IT) group made significant improvements in targeted areas of joint engagement. The IT group demonstrated significant improvements with medium to large effect sizes in their responsiveness to joint attention and their diversity of functional play acts after the intervention, the maintenance of these skills 1 year post-intervention. These are among the first randomize controlled data to suggest that short-term parent-mediated interventions can have important effects on core impairments in toddlers with autism.

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Linking Autism, Preterm Birth and Hormonal Status

We are interested in the relationship between hormones and sex steroids in children with autism.

We are looking for children:
  • Between the ages of 3-12 years old.
  • Born preterm or full term.
  • Willing to provide a blood sample and complete IQ testing.

Participants receive up to $50 for completing the study. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

Study of Memantine in Pediatric Autism

This study is focused on whether the medication mematine can improve social responsiveness and communication skills in children with Autism.

We are looking for children:

  • Between ages of 6-12 years old.
  • With a diagnosis of autistic disorder.
  • Who are verbally fluent (can form at least three-word phrases).
There is no cost to participate in this study. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

Same-Sex Twins with Autism

This study compares pairs of twins with Autism Spectrum Disorder to typically developing twin pairs.

We are looking for children:
  • In a same-sex twin pair.
  • Between ages 6-14 years old.
  • Willing to complete behavioral testing and a brain-imaging scan.
  • Each twin will receive $100 for completion.

Parents also have the option to enroll their child in the open-label version of this study, in which all participants receive the active medication.

Please contact us at (650) 723-7809 if you are interested.


Brain Imaging Research on Math Abilities in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The goal of this study is to understand the structure and function in children with autism..

We are looking for children:

  • Between ages 7-12 years old.
  • With a diagnosis of high functioning autism (HFA)
  • Who are verbal and meet behavioral questionnaire guidelines.

Participants will be paid $150 upon completion of this study.

Please contact us at (650) 736-0128 if you are interested.

Editorial Staff:
Mrigendra Steiner, MA
Antonio Hardan, MD

Let us know what you think!
Comments and suggestions are welcome. 

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Autism & Developmental Disabilities
Research Program
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA | 94305-5719
Research: 650-736-1235 | Clinical Services: 650-723-5511