Spectrum Newsletter - Issue 6

Issue 6 - March 2011

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, the sixth issue of our newsletter, Spectrum, is being sent to provide you with updated information on the activities of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research Program at Stanford University. The research program is under the direction of Dr. Antonio Hardan. We appreciated the feedback that we received about our previous issues and look forward to hearing your input on this and future issues. We hope that you will find this newsletter helpful and informative. Please feel free to share this newsletter with family and friends.



Autism Conference: 4th Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Update, April 2, 2011

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 event is designed to provide parents, teachers, and care providers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with the latest findings on research and clinical care, spotlighting innovative clinical approaches to treating autism. The conference will be held on Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 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 6, March 2011


Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and MRI Reveal No Evidence for Brain Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Corrigan et al., 2011; University of Washington).

Brain mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed as an etiologic factor in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging ((1)HMRS) and MRI were used to assess for evidence of brain mitochondrial dysfunction in longitudinal samples of children with ASD or developmental delay (DD), and cross-sectionally in typically developing (TD) children at 3-4, 6-7 and 9-10 years-of-age. HMRS is a non-invasive novel neuroimaging technique that allows the measurement of brain metabolites. A total of 239 studies from 130 unique participants (54ASD, 22DD, 54TD) were acquired. (1)HMRS and MRI revealed no evidence for brain mitochondrial dysfunction in children with ASD. Findings do not support a substantive role for brain mitochondrial abnormalities in the etiology or symptom expression of ASD, nor the widespread use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment that has been advocated on the basis of this proposed relationship.

A randomized controlled trial of Hanen's 'More Than Words' in toddlers with early autism symptoms (Carter et al., 2011; University of Massachusetts; University of Miami; Vanderbilt University).

This randomized, controlled trial compared Hanen's 'More than Words' (HMTW), a parent-implemented intervention, to a 'business as usual' control group. Sixty-two children (51 boys and 11 girls; M age=20 months; SD=2.6) who met criteria for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their parents participated in the study. The HMTW intervention was provided over 3.5 months. There were three measurement periods: prior to randomization (Time 1) and at 5 and 9 months post enrollment (Times 2 and 3). Children's communication and parental responsivity were measured at each time point. Children's object interest, a putative moderator, was measured at Time 1. There were no main effects of the HMTW intervention on either parental responsivity or children's communication. However, the intervention yielded noteworthy effects on residualized gains in parental responsivity from Time 1 to both Times 2 and 3 (Glass's ? = .71, .50 respectively). In contrast, there were treatment effects on child communication gains to Time 3 that were moderated by children's Time 1 object interest. Children with lower levels of Time 1 object interest exhibited facilitated growth in communication; children with higher levels of object interest exhibited growth attenuation. In summary, the HMTW intervention showed differential effects on child communication depending on a baseline child factor. HMTW facilitated communication in children with lower levels of Time 1 object interest. Parents of children who evidence higher object interest may require greater support to implement the HMTW strategies, or may require different strategies than those provided by the HMTW curriculum. 

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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.

Typically Developing Children Needed

Many of our studies compare children with autism to children who are typically developing. We are currently recruiting for a variety of studies.

We are looking for children:

  • Between ages of 8-13 years old
  • Who are in good medical health
  • Who do not have a neuropsychiatric disorder
There is no cost to participate in this study. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

Pivotal Response Treatment Group Study

The goal of this study is to examine the effectiveness of pivotal response treatment group in targeting language skills in young children with autism.

We are looking for children:

  • Between the ages of 2-6 years old with an ASD diagnosis
  • Who meet inclusion based on behavioral screening assessments.
  • Who are willing to complete a 12 week research treatment program and a 3 month follow-up visit at Stanford University.

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

Editorial Staff:
Mrigendra Steiner, MA
Antonio Hardan, MD

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

Send feedback to autismdd@stanford.edu.

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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