Long-term effects of ADHD meds require further study

Rare adverse events or long-term safety and efficacy have not been measured through clinical trials of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs, according to recent study findings published in PLOS ONE. “This study doesn’t address whether ADHD drugs are safe, though their safety has since been established through years of clinical experience,” Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, of Boston […]

Common genes are a big risk factor for autism

by Jane C. Hu – Few topics in science are as divisive as autism. The disorder affects roughly one in 68 children, and more children than ever are receiving the diagnosis. In 6- to 17-year-old children, autism diagnoses increased by almost 1 percentage point between 2007 and 2012.* Symptoms typically don’t emerge until age 2 […]

New study confirms ADHD risk from pregnancy smoking

by Randy Dotinga – Children born to women who smoked during pregnancy appear to have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to new research. The new study also hints — but doesn’t prove — that nicotine-replacement products used during pregnancy, such as patches and gum, could pose the same risk to children. […]

Antibiotic is potential Down syndrome treatment

Using an inexpensive antibiotic, researchers have corrected many abnormalities in a group of brain cells associated with Down syndrome. The common genetic disorder is caused by the presence of a portion or entire third copy of chromosome 21, instead of the normal two copies, one from each parent. Down syndrome is marked by mild to […]

Study provides additional clues on autism brain functioning

by Tina Shah – To understand certain developmental brain disorders, the process behind how the brain develops must be understood. Cognitive problems such as autism will only truly be unraveled when neuroscientists can pinpoint exactly what goes wrong and when. A new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis looked at synapses, […]

Hospital “gizmo” reduces anxiety for patients with autim

by Jim Douglas – Nine-year-old Christopher Sanchez held out his arm to a nurse in an exam room at Cook Children’s Medical Center. “This arm,” she said. “Perfect. Thank you.” Christopher knows the drill. He gets tagged, poked, and jabbed a lot. This time, he’s in for a painful muscle biopsy. “It was time to […]

Stem cell trial for autism treatment is debated

by Nidhi Subbaraman – A team at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is set to launch a $40 million clinical trial to explore stem cells from umbilical cord blood as a treatment for autism. But experts caution that the trial is premature. A $15 million grant from the Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic funding organization […]

Study highlights gaps in ADHD drug trials

by Carey Goldberg – If we’re going to keep putting millions of American children on ADHD drugs, we really need to study the meds longer and better to pick up rare and late-onset side effects. That’s my takeaway from a study just out from Boston Children’s Hospital. It found that in many cases, ADHD drugs […]

Skull scan shows potential Down syndrome medieval find

by Joseph Castro – The earliest probable case of Down syndrome in the archaeological record comes from a 5- to 7-year-old child who lived in medieval France some 1,500 years ago, new research shows. The child, who is also the youngest example of the condition in the archaeological record, likely was not stigmatized in life, […]

Study links child temperament to three ADHD types

by Rachael Rettner – There are three distinct types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that match up with children’s personalities, some researchers suggest. What’s more, looking at these ADHD types is better than the current diagnostic methods in predicting which children will go on to develop further mental-health problems, the researchers said in the new study. […]