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Autism More Common Than Previously Thought: CDC Report Shows One in 54 Boys Identified

 

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2012)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study released March 29 that looked at data from 14 communities. Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls -- with 1 in 54 boys identified.

 

The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah. The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.

 

The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders -- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, provides autism prevalence estimates from 14 areas. It was just published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

 

"This information paints a picture of the magnitude of the condition across our country and helps us understand how communities identify children with autism," said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "That is why HHS and our entire administration has been working hard to improve the lives of people living with autism spectrum disorders and their families by improving research, support, and services."

 

"One thing the data tells us with certainty -- there are more children and families that need help," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children."

 

Zachary Warren, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Vanderbilt University, says effective early identification and treatment of autism is a public health emergency.

 

"The new CDC data is the best evidence we have to date that autism is a very common disorder. While recent estimates have varied, we have always known the individual, familial, educational and societal costs that go along with autism are tremendous," Warren said. "We are now seeing autism in more than 1 percent of the population, which highlights how challenging it will be for systems of care to meet service needs."

 

The results of CDC's study highlight the importance of the Obama administration's efforts to address the needs of people with ASDs, including the work of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The IACC's charge is to facilitate ASD research, screening, intervention, and education. As part of this effort, the National Institutes of Health has invested in research to identify possible risk factors and effective therapies for people with ASDs.

 

Study results from the 2008 surveillance year show 11.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children have been identified as having an ASD. This marks a 23 percent increase since the last report in 2009. Some of this increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown. "To understand more, we need to keep accelerating our research into risk factors and causes of autism spectrum disorders," said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg., director of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

 

The study also shows more children are being diagnosed by age 3, an increase from 12 percent for children born in 1994 to 18 percent for children born in 2000. "Unfortunately, 40 percent of the children in this study aren't getting a diagnosis until after age 4. We are working hard to change that," said Boyle.

 

Reference: Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders -- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008 March 30, 2012 / Vol. 61 / No. SS-3

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Autism more common than previously thought: CDC report shows one in 54 boys identified." ScienceDaily, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.

 

Gluten Free & Vegan Recipe: Chai Carrot Pear Muffins

 

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Gluten Free Oat Flour or Quinoa Flour
    • 1 cup blanched Almond Flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
    • 1 cup Chai Carrot Pear Sauce (see below)
    • 1 cup light Unsweetened Coconut Milk
    • 2 tablespoons unrefined Coconut Oil, melted
    • 1 teaspoon Almond or Vanilla Extract
    • 3-4 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia Drops Adjust to taste
    • 1 large Carrot, peeled and finely shredded

Chai Carrot Pear Sauce:

  • 6 ripe Pears, cut into chunky pieces (I like D'Anjou and Bartlett)
  • 1 cup chopped Carrots
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed Lemon Juice or 1 tablespoon
  • splash of Water
  • a few pinches of ground Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger - adjust to taste
  • a pinch of fine Sea Salt
  • natural Sweetener if desired (pears may be ripe enough so no sweetener may be needed)

 

Optional Toppings:

  • Your favorite nuts
  • Raisins
  • unsweetened Coconut Flake

Method:

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Prepare standard sized muffin tins with liners or cooking spray. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring well. Fold in the shredded carrots last. Adjust spices and sweetness if desired.
    • Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Top with pistachios or other nuts if desired. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out virtually crumb free.
    • Enjoy with whipped cream, thick yogurt and/or coconut flake.

Notes:

  • You can also use homemade or store bought pear or applesauce in this recipe. The spices add the chai flavor.

 

Source: FamilyFreshCooking.com

by Marla on December 27, 2011

 

 

 

The Ten Habits of

Highly Effective Brains

 

by Alvaro Fernandez

SharpBrains.com

 

Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

 

Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty as a liv­ing and constantly-developing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synapses.

  1. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but con­sumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­eral rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophisticated nutri­tional sup­ple­ments, just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”.
  2. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis.
  3. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­ally kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neurons.
  4. Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cisely to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567″. It means, “chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities”.
  5. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, no mat­ter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
  6. Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain.
  7. Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neigh­bour… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbour’s.
  8. Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren development.
  9. Laugh. Often. Espe­cially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stewart.

Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article-or any other-, but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…so, pick your next bat­tle and try to start improv­ing at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your atten­tion, click on the link to learn more, and make a deci­sion to try some­thing dif­fer­ent today!

It is Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Maintenance:

Brain Care 101

by Alvaro Fernandez

SharpBrains.com

Last week, the US Car Care Coun­cil released a list of tips on how to take care of your car and “save big money at the pump in 2008.”

 

You may not have paid much atten­tion to this announce­ment. Yes, it’s impor­tant to save gas these days; but, it’s not big news that good main­te­nance habits will improve the per­for­mance of a car, and extend its life.

 

If we can all agree on the impor­tance of main­tain­ing our cars that get us around town, what about main­tain­ing our brains sit­ting behind the wheel?

 

A spate of recent news cov­er­age on brain fit­ness and “brain train­ing” has missed an impor­tant con­stituency: younger peo­ple. Recent advance­ments in brain sci­ence have as tremen­dous impli­ca­tions for teenagers and adults of all ages as they do for seniors.

 

In a recent con­ver­sa­tion with neu­ro­sci­en­tist Yaakov Stern of Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity, he related how sur­prised he was when, years ago, a reporter from Sev­en­teen mag­a­zine requested an inter­view. The reporter told Dr. Stern that he wanted to write an arti­cle to moti­vate kids to stay in school and not to drop out, in order to start build­ing their Cog­ni­tive Reserve early and age more gracefully.

 

What is the Cog­ni­tive Reserve?

 

Emerg­ing research since the 90s from the past decade shows that indi­vid­u­als who lead men­tally stim­u­lat­ing lives, through their edu­ca­tion, their jobs, and also their hob­bies, build a “Cog­ni­tive Reserve” in their brains. Only a few weeks ago another study rein­forced the value of intel­lec­tu­aly demand­ing jobs.

 

Stim­u­lat­ing the brain can lit­er­ally gen­er­ate new neu­rons and strengthen their con­nec­tions which results in bet­ter brain per­for­mance and in hav­ing a lower risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s symp­toms. Stud­ies sug­gest that peo­ple who exer­cise their men­tal mus­cles through­out their lives have a 35–40% less risk of man­i­fest­ing Alzheimer’s.

 

As astound­ing as these insights may be, most Amer­i­cans still devote more time to chang­ing the oil, tak­ing a car to a mechanic, or wash­ing it, than think­ing about how to main­tain, if not improve, their brain performance.

 

Fur­ther, bet­ter brain scan­ning tech­niques like fMRI (glos­sary) are allow­ing sci­en­tists to inves­ti­gate healthy live brains for the first time in his­tory. Two of the most impor­tant find­ings from this research are that our brains are plas­tic (mean­ing they not only cre­ate new neu­rons but also can change their struc­ture) through­out a life­time and that frontal lobes are the most plas­tic area. Frontal lobes, the part of our brains right behind the fore­head, con­trols “exec­u­tive func­tions” — which deter­mine our abil­ity to pay atten­tion, plan for the future and direct behav­ior toward achiev­ing goals. They are crit­i­cal for adapt­ing to new sit­u­a­tions. We exer­cise them best by learn­ing and mas­ter­ing new skills.

 

This part of the brain is del­i­cate: our frontal lobes wait until our mid to late 20s to fully mature. They are also the first part of our brain to start to decline, usu­ally by mid­dle age.

 

In my view, not enough young and middle-aged peo­ple are ben­e­fit­ing from this emerg­ing research, since it has been per­ceived as some­thing “for seniors.” Granted, there are still many unknowns in the world of brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive train­ing, we need more research, bet­ter assess­ments and tools. But, this does not mean we can­not start car­ing for our brains today.

 

Recent stud­ies have shown a tremen­dous vari­abil­ity in how well peo­ple age and how, to a large extent, our actions influ­ence our rate of brain improve­ment and/or decline. The ear­lier we begin the bet­ter. And it is never too late.

 

What can we do to main­tain our brain, espe­cially the frontal lobes? Focus on four pil­lars of brain health: phys­i­cal exer­cise, a bal­anced diet, stress man­age­ment, and brain exer­cise. Stress man­age­ment is impor­tant since stress has been shown to actu­ally kill neu­rons and reduce the rate of cre­ation of new ones. Brain exer­cises range from low-tech (i.e. med­i­ta­tion, mas­ter­ing new com­plex skills, life­long learn­ing and engage­ment) to high-tech (i.e. using the grow­ing num­ber of brain fit­ness soft­ware pro­grams).

 

I know, this is start­ing to sound like those lists we all know are good for us but we actu­ally don’t do. Let me make it eas­ier by propos­ing a new New Year Res­o­lu­tion: every time you wash your car or have it washed, ask your­self, “What have I done lately to main­tain my brain?”

Did You Know?

 

SIRRI offers these services for both children & adults:

  • Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
  • qEEG / Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
  • Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
  • Auditory & Visual Processing
  • Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
  • Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
  • Stress & Anxiety Management
  • IEP Advocacy

Upcoming Session Dates

for the Sensory Learning Program

 

Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 27

 

Monday, April 30 through Friday, May 11

 

Monday, May 14 through Friday, May 25

 

Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 15


Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 29

 

SIRRI Arizona • 4515 S. McClintock Drive, Suite 208 • Tempe, AZ 85282
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