Spectrum Newsletter - Issue 7

Issue 7 - June 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 seventh 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.


Introducing our new website!!!


We are very excited to announce the launch of our new website and look forward to your visits. Please click on the link above to learn more about us and how you can become a part of our research efforts here at Stanford.

The website contains important information about our research program and staff, details and descriptions on the wide number of research studies currently underway, information on how to participate in our studies, and links to other organizations and resources.

We hope you will visit our site often to stay informed about the activities of our research program and will share this with family and friends. We look forward to your feedback.



Autism Spectrum Disorders: Educational Series for Parents

The Stanford Autism Center at LPCH is offering a parent education 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 a drop-in basis and parents may join at any time for individual sessions.

ASD Early Childhood Series (parents of children ages 2-5)
Meets Thursday Mornings 9:30 - 11AM from May 5 - July 21, 2011
ASD School-aged Children Series (parents of children/adolescents ages 6 - 18)
Meets Wednesday Evenings 6:00 - 7:30PM from May 4 - July 6, 2011

New courses will begin this coming Fall.

Register at http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu

special events

LPCH 20th Birthday Party

This past Sunday LPCH celebrated its 20th Birthday from 10AM - 4PM on June 26th at the intersection of Quarry and Welch Roads on the Stanford University campus. We were pleased to have many visitors at our booth for fun activities, to learn about our programs, and to sign up for research studies.

More info here.

Issue 7, june 2011


Minor physical anomalies in children with autism spectrum disorders (Angkustsiri et al., 2011; University of California, Davis).

There is clinical heterogeneity among the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The presence of dysmorphology (minor physical anomalies; MPAs) is one possible tool for defining a clinically relevant subset in ASD. This study employs an adaptation of Miles and Hillman's (2000) classifications by using photographs to identify a subgroup with significant dysmorphology among children with ASD, typical development (TYP), and developmental delay (DD). Children with ASD, DD, and TYP between 2 and 5 years old were part of the CHARGE Study (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment). Pediatric specialists blinded to diagnostic group classified photographs based on the number of MPAs present: 'dysmorphic' if greater than 3 and 'nondysmorphic' if less than 3 MPAs. Results: Photographs for 324 children were included. Significantly more children with ASD were classified as dysmorphic compared to TYP children (p = .007). In children with ASD, seizures were more prevalent in those rated dysmorphic (p = .005). Frequencies were similar between ASD versus DD (p = .19) after removing those with known syndromes. Conclusion: Photographic assessment can be used to detect generalized dysmorphology in children who are often difficult to examine. This has clinical relevance, as children with multiple MPAs can be identified through the use of photographs and prioritized for investigation of brain abnormalities and underlying genetic disorders.

Plasma cytokine profiles in subjects with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (Suzuki et al., 2011; Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Japan).

Accumulating evidence suggests that dysregulation of the immune system is involved in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of the study was to explore immunological markers in peripheral plasma samples from non-medicated subjects with high-functioning ASD. A multiplex assay for cytokines and chemokines was applied to plasma samples from male subjects with high-functioning ASD (n=28) and matched controls (n=28). Cytokines are small cell-signaling protein molecules that are secreted by the glial cells of the nervous system and by numerous cells of the immune system and are a category of signaling molecules used extensively in intercellular communication. Chemokines are a family of small cytokines, or proteins secreted by cells. Among a total of 48 analytes examined, the plasma concentrations of IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-5, IL-8, IL-12(p70), IL-13, IL-17 and GRO-α were significantly higher in subjects with ASD compared with the corresponding values of matched controls after correction for multiple comparisons. The results suggest that abnormal immune responses as assessed by multiplex analysis of cytokines may serve as one of the biological trait markers for ASD.

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Below we have highlighted just a few of our studies that we are recruiting for. For a complete list of all currently recruiting research studies please visit our new website at autismdd.stanford.edu

Children and Adolescents are Needed to Participate in Research Studies

We are actively recruiting children who are typically developing or who have one of several neuropsychiatric diagnoses for many of our studies. We are looking for individuals who are or who have one of the following:

  • Typically Developing
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis
  • Developmental Disability diagnosis
  • AD(H)D diagnosis
  • Same-Sex Twins
  • Born Prematurely

Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

ICATS - Imaging California Autism Twins Study

This study compares twins with Autism Spectrum Disorder to typically developing twins.
Subjects must be a same-sex twin pair:
  • Where one or both have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Where both are typically developing and in good medical health.
  • Between ages 3-14 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.

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 (typically developing or with ASD diagnosis):

  • 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.

Autism and ADHD Study

Researchers at Stanford University are recruiting individuals with ASD, ADHD, and typically developing children.

We are looking for children who:

  • Are between ages of 2-18 years old
  • Are in good medical health
  • Are willing to provide blood, saliva and urine samples

Each participant will receive $50 upon completion of the 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.

Editorial Staff:
Sean Berquist, BS
Antonio Hardan, MD
Mrigendra Steiner, MA

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
Website: autismdd.stanford.edu Email: autismdd@stanford.edu
Research: 650-736-1235 | Clinical Services: 650-723-5511