Spectrum Newsletter - Issue 8

Issue 8 - October 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 eighth 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.


VISIT OUR website!!!


We launched our new website within the last few months and look forward to your vis
iting our site.

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 10:00 - 11:30 AM starting September 15, 2011

ASD School-aged Children Series (parents of children/adolescents ages 6 - 18)
Meets Thursday Evenings 6:00 - 7:30PM starting September 22nd, 2011

Register at http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu

other events

Autism Parent Support Group

Parents of children with autism face a unique set of challenges. Connecting with other families can be a valuable form of support. Topics for discussion will include:
  • Advocating for your child
  • Dealing with impact on family
  • Navigating school and learning issues
  • Investigating treatment options and resources
  • Upcoming meetings:
    Thursdays, 7-9pm on 10/13, 11/10, and 12/8 at 401 Quarry Rd. Room 1206 (walk-ins welcome!)

    Please RSVP to Maura Chatwell at (650) 721-6327 or chatwell@stanford.edu

    Issue 8, october 2011


    Distinct Plasma Profile of Polar Neutral Amino Acids, Leucine, and Glutamate in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Tirouvanziam et al., 2011; Stanford University).

    The goal of this investigation was to examine plasma amino acid (AA) levels in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and neuro-typically developing controls. Twenty-seven children with ASD and 20 typically developing age and gender matched controls between the ages of 3 and 12 were recruited to participate in this study. We observed reduced plasma levels of most polar neutral AA and leucine in children with ASD. This AA profile conferred significant post hoc power for discriminating children with ASD from healthy children. Furthermore, statistical correlations suggested the lack of a typical decrease of glutamate and aspartate with age, and a non-typical increase of isoleucine and lysine with age in the ASD group. Findings from this limited prospective study warrant further examination of plasma AA levels in larger cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts to adequately assess for relationships with developmental and clinical features of ASD.

    Safety and tolerability of aripiprazole for irritability in pediatric patients with autistic disorder: a 52-week, open-label, multicenter study (Marcus et al., 2011; BMS, CT).

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety and tolerability of aripiprazole in the treatment of irritability in pediatric subjects (6-17 years) with autistic disorder. A 52-week, open-label, flexibly dosed (2-15 mg/d) study of the safety and tolerability of aripiprazole in outpatients with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of autistic disorder who either had completed 1 of 2 antecedent, 8-week randomized trials or were enrolled de novo (ie, not treated in the randomized trials). Safety and tolerability measures included incidences of adverse events, extrapyramidal symptoms, weight, metabolic measures, vital signs, and other clinical assessments. A total of 330 subjects entered the treatment phase: 86 de novo, 174 prior Aripiprazole studies, and 70 prior placebo. A total of 199 (60.3%) subjects completed 52 weeks of treatment. Adverse events were experienced by 286/330 subjects (86.7%). Common adverse events included weight increase, vomiting, nasopharyngitis, increased appetite, pyrexia, upper respiratory tract infection, and insomnia. Discontinuations due to adverse events occurred in 35/330 randomized subjects (10.6%) - most commonly aggression and weight increase. One patient discontinued from the study due to a laboratory-related adverse event (moderately increased alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase). Nine subjects experienced serious adverse events with aggression being the most frequently reported. Extrapyramidal symptoms, occurred in 48/330 subjects (14.5%) - most commonly tremor (3.0%), psychomotor hyperactivity (2.7%), akathisia (2.4%), and dyskinesia (not tardive, 2.4%). At > 9 months' aripiprazole exposure (n = 220) mean change in body weight z score was 0.33 and body mass index z score was 0.31. The percentages of subjects with clinically significant fasting metabolic abnormalities at > 9 months were 2% for glucose, 5% for total cholesterol, 7% for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 30% for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and 5% for triglycerides. In summary, aripiprazole was generally safe and well tolerated in the long-term treatment of irritability associated with autistic disorder in pediatric subjects. Weight should be proactively monitored during long-term treatment.

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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
    • ADHD 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.

    Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Other Learning Disabilities Needed

    This study is interested in the role of hormones in all people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders or learning disabilities.

    In order to participate you or your child must:
    • Be between the ages of 18 months and 99 years with an autism spectrum disorder or other learning disability diagnosis.
    • Be willing to provide a blood sample and be willing to undergo a lumbar puncture to provide a spinal fluid sample.
    • Be willing to participate in behavioral and cognitive testing

    You will be paid $100 for fully completing the study. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

    New Clinical Trial for Adults with Autism

    This study explores the safety and effectiveness of Pregnenolone, a neuroactive steroid medication to improve behavioral deficits in adults with Autism.

    To be eligible for this study you must:
    • Be between the ages of 18 and 45.
    • Have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
    • Be willing to provide blood and urine samples.

    There is no cost to participate in this research study. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 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.

    To subscribe: send an email to us at autismdd@stanford.edu with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line

    To unsubscribe: send an email to us at autismdd@stanford.edu with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject

    To subscribe or unsubscribe multiple email addresses, send an email from each with a blank message field.

    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