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Study Says MMR Vaccine Does Not Cause Autism

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine does not raise a child's risk for autism, according to a major new study published in the journal Public Library of Science.

Researchers from Columbia School of Public Health, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Trinity College Dublin investigated the implications of a 1998 British study. That study found that children who had measles RNA in their gastro-intestinal tracts (GIs) were more likely to be autistic and to have GI problems.

The new study compared tissue biopsies from the GI tracts of children with autism and GI problems with those of children who had no developmental delays but who were undergoing biopsies for GI problems.

One of every 25 in the autistic group and one in 13 in the control group showed slight levels of measles RNA.

"This was a rigorous analysis," said Dr. Ian Lipkin, director of the School of Public Health Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "We found no evidence that gastrointestinal pathology consistently preceded autism, and we found that the MMR did not consistently precede either autism or GI pathology."

Rick Rollens, a father of an autistic child, said that the study does not exonerate the role of all vaccines. Mr. Rollens is a founder of the M.I.N.D. (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute at the University of California.

Labels: vaccines, autism

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University of Texas Studying Effects of Diet on Autistic Kids

Scientists at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston are trying to find out if autistic children benefit from a gluten-free, dairy-free diet.

The gluten-free diet is particularly difficult to follow because it eliminates common ingredients such as wheat, rye, barley, and most grains, as well as foods containing starch, most flavorings, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. The dairy-free diet cuts out all dairy foods, even those with milk as an ingredient.

Many parents of autistic children have told their doctors that the diet improved their children's symptoms and well-being, but this is among the first scientific studies.

The Texas researchers enrolled 38 autistic children ages 3 to 9 in a gluten-free, dairy free diet program. Half the children are receiving a placebo, and the other half are using gluten and milk powder. Stay tuned for the results.

Labels: autism, diet

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Study Examines Relationship Between Low Birth Weight, Psychiatric Problems

A team from Michigan State University that has been examining the effects of low birth weight has found that it may contribute to psychiatric problems in children who live in urban areas.
"Low-birth weight children were more likely to exhibit externalizing and internalizing problems than normal-birth-weight children in their community. 'An increased risk of attention problems was associated with low birth weight only in the urban community... in the suburban community there was no increased risk for attention problems associated with low birth weight...'"
The study examined the effect of low birth weight in 413 children from a "socially disadvantaged community" in Detroit and 410 children from a nearby middle-class suburb. Source: Kansas City InfoZine

Labels: psychology, income, birth-weight

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Author to Speak about ADHD

This week, the regular CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) meeting at Hickory Valley Christian School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will have a special guest speaker. Author Chris Dendy will give a presentation titled "School Daze" that focuses on strategies for success in school.
"Among other elements of her presentation will be executive function of the brain, which has emerged as a key factor influencing school success or failure for students with ADHD. Since teachers may attribute disorganization, forgetfulness and memory problems to laziness or lack of motivation, development of an educational plan to address these deficits is critical."
Ms. Dendy has authored three books, including one that was co-authored by her son, Alex. She has an M.S. from Florida State University and is co-founder and clinical advisor for the Gwinnet, Georgia, chapter of CHADD. Source: The Chattanoogan

Labels: schools, success, failures

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New Program for Parents of Kids with Learning Disabilities

The United Way on Prince Edward Island, Canada, is offering a new counseling program for parents of children with disabilities. The two-year program will offer free counseling services to parents.
"Marylin Balderston, the part-time counselor for the program, told CBC News on Friday that parents of children with ADHD and learning disabilities are more stressed than other parents, but they don't get the support they need and they often don't know where to get it."
The hope is that by supporting parents with guidance, stress management tips, and help with children's behavioral issues, the program will ultimately be supporting the kids. Source: CBC News

Labels: behavior, parents, support

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Back-to-School Handbook

It's that time of year. Kids are getting ready to go back to school and parents are getting ready to send them. For kids with ADD/ADHD, the transition back to school can be tough, so ADDitude magazine if offering a free back-to-school handbook.
"In this free expert booklet, ADDitude magazine has assembled its best academic resources including a back-to-school checklist for parents, a sample letter introducing your child to new teachers, daytime medication guidelines, and learning strategies for students with attention-deficit disorder and learning disabilities."
The 14-page booklet provides tips for working with teachers and administrators, managing ADHD symptoms in the classroom, and talking to your child about his goals, fears, and challenges for the upcoming school year. Source: PR Newswire

Labels: schools, tips, teachers

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Low Expectations all too Common

Becky McCall still remembers the cutting comment her son's schoolmate made when they were quizzing each other about science: "You're not supposed to be smarter than me; you're in special ed!" It seems to be a common misnomer that kids with learning disabilities are, by default, not as smart as those without them.
"A great many children with ADHD, dyslexia and Asperger's syndrome (just to name a few learning differences) can be taught to meet grade-level proficiency (or even exceed standards). Because of the unique ways in which these children's brains work, these students may require alternative or additional teaching strategies."
But just because they need unique teaching methods doesn't mean they can't learn or excel as much as their academic counterparts. Parents should prepare for low expectations from teachers and other students, and be ready to advocate for their child - who is just as capable as any other. Source: Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal

Labels: schools, learning_disabilites, peers

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Beware of Finding ADHD Everywhere

Fourteen leading researchers have signed a letter cautioning that a new proposal would lead to increased diagnosis of ADHD among children. The proposal would train teachers how to spot ADHD behavior in their students.
"Dr Graham and her colleagues say that such an approach would encourage teachers 'to act as proxy-diagnosticians by looking for evidence of particular deficits, perhaps missing vital signs which may indicate other difficulties at home or with learning.'"
The group also criticized a proposal that would attach additional funding to ADHD diagnoses. The concern is that such a proposal would further encourage over-diagnosis. Source: Medical Condition News

Labels: research, diagnosis, pediatricians

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Private Tutor Helps Student with ADHD

When Cody was diagnosed with ADHD, he was prescribed medication, but it didn't make things much easier. His ability to focus and stay in his seat didn't come until he started meeting with a private tutor.
"[Vicki] Abernathy said when she and Cody began working together he was a slow reader, lacked rhythm and couldn't stay focused on a single subject. Abernathy said in order to keep him focused they would do the hardest homework first, which was always math."
She also kept him motivated by offering his favorite snacks when he finished his homework. Now, he's doing better at school, is able to concentrate on homework, and can calm himself back down when he starts getting hyperactive. Source: Southeastern Missouri Newspaper

Labels: schools, tutoring

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ADHD - The Essential Guide

A child who is fidgeting or running around may just be boisterous. But about 5 percent of children who behave this way have diagnosable ADD/ADHD. Author Diane Paul has released a book aimed at helping parents not only get proper diagnoses for their kids, but learn how to navigate a sometimes complicated system.
"Whether you are a parent or teacher, being equipped with the facts will enable you to make informed decisions. Knowledge is the key. Finding out as much as you can is crucial. This book is your starting point."
Published by Need2Know, the book, titled ADHD - The Essential Guide, is in stores now. Source: MediLexicon

Labels: diagnosis, health_care, support

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The Teacher Says My Child Has ADHD - Now What?

Your child's teacher calls you one afternoon and says she thinks your child has ADHD. He's disruptive, fidgety, and can't focus, and she thinks you need to get him some help. What do you do?
"ADD or ADHD are terms that have now become generalized to mean children who misbehave. I would like to make it clear that not all children who have ADHD behave badly nor do all children who misbehave have ADHD. There are specific criteria... that must be met in order for a diagnosis of ADHD to be concluded."
Instead of relying only on a doctor's diagnosis, insist on a multidisciplinary approach that includes assessments by a doctor, psychologist, counselor, and possibly someone at your child's school. This type of assessment is more likely to produce an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment (if needed) for your child. Source: The American Chronicle

Labels: teachers, diagnosis, support

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