America was $ 1.2 million doctors specializing in severe autism funding

U.S. pediatric psychiatrist Matthew Siegel in October received from the Simons Foundation and the Nancy Lurie Markss Family Foundation funds total $ 1.2 million, taking the lead established by his severe autism a specialized research alliance.



Psychiatrist Matthew Siegel and children together wearing protective helmets

Greg Kapothanasis 20 years old, but its only the equivalent of preschool cognitive ability, and he can not speak. Two years ago, Greg attended school bus pick-range based on the original extended one hour’s drive, and thereafter, the 6-foot-tall young man became more aggressive, sometimes yelling to passers, sometimes non-stop patting his head, and walked no law, elusive. His mother Irene recalled: “school bus noise made him feel uneasy, and began to try to jump out from the wall.”

Greg suffering from severe autism. His parents took him to the city of Westbrook, Maine, USA Spring Harbor hospital, where he was diagnosed with autism. Spring Harbor Hospital specialized treatment for children suffering from acute behavioral disorders. Pediatric psychiatrist Matthew Siegel confirmed Greg also suffers from anxiety disorder, which led to his aggressive behavior. Those who do not deal with severe autism clinicians may not know how to judge one does not have the language skills of adult patients (IQ levels in preschool children) mental state, but Siegel know how to do.

Currently, Siegel’s expertise has broader application platform. In October he received from the Simons Foundation and the Nancy Lurie Markss Family Foundation funds total $ 1.2 million, taking the lead established by his severe autism a specialized research alliance. 6 Alliance members have profound clinical experience, both psychiatrists also have behavioral experts who confirmed annually about 1,000 children with autism. Siegel said: “Through cooperation and collaboration, we can maintain more time research facility of the operation, which can speed up the rate of autism conclusive evidence.”

There are some autistic children who have language skills, you can keep quiet, but also to actively cooperate with the inspection, Siegel believes that too much emphasis on the current study of patients in this category. Development of the Boston University School of Medicine scientist and psychologist Helen Tager-Flusberg said: “Those low capacity sick children (it is estimated that more than half of the patients fall into this category) is more in need of care, and we did nothing to them know. “Siegel said:” If we really want to uncover the mysteries of insanity, it must simultaneously both types of patients studied. ”

To examine the matter from which point of view, children with autism have some common characteristics: hard to get along with others; hobbies stenosis; has a tendency to repeat the behavior, such as clapping or singing softly. Severe symptoms of autistic children and the general difference is that they lack language skills, intelligence level is low, these children can only say a few words.According to Siegel said, whether before the age of 5 have the language skills is the ability to determine a child’s future behavior of the most important criterion, therefore, language ability in autism research is a very important factor, however, they have the language skills and do not have language skills of children the difference is almost nothing. This is the league’s biggest challenges currently facing.

Another objective reality: autism often also suffering from severe mental problems plagued. Aurora, Colorado City Children’s Hospital Special Care Division is responsible for neuropsychiatric person Robin Gabriels (Siegel alliance members) that precisely this “comorbidities” – such as Greg’s anxiety disorder – cause extreme behavior to make sick children .

Studies have shown that one-third or more of the high-functioning autistic children suffer from anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit, major depression, Siegel that these problems are more common in children with severe autism . Psychiatrists usually answer questions the patient as a diagnosis. Because of severe autistic children can not freely answer questions, “We have to rely on careful observation.” Siegel says.

The project is a large capacity and hospital-based feature gives researchers an unprecedented opportunity to observe the excellent self-injury, such as a class act. Some children playing himself in the head, and torn blood vessels, or bite themselves and have suffered infections. Gabriels said that self-harm may arise from desire or need to be concerned about sensory stimulation. Siegel added that the lack of language skills may also be a factor, but we still need further studies to confirm this.

Eventually, the alliance plans to explore the genetic differences in autism. So far, the largest about autism genetic database (Piscataway Township, NJ Rutgers University Cell and DNA libraries Simmons collection library, funded by the Simons Foundation) from more than 2,700 families samples.However, it does not have deliberately excludes the language ability and mental age below 18 months of age. “We are now eager to better understand these people with severe autism, from two angles genetic and clinical.” Simon Foundation’s senior scientist Alan Packer said.

From the genetic point of view, scientists are able to summarize some of the common features of autistic children. “We need to identify gene mutations and clinical manifestations between.” Siegel said, “and those who will speak compared with children with autism can not speak whether children have different genes?” Ultimately, he thinks it ways more useful and targeted therapies.

Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital Autism Center director Bryan King said the new study suggests long overdue. The cause of autism is complex, autism harm to patients is also very large.

Meanwhile, Greg’s mother Irene report, Greg’s performance is getting better. Irene said: “Now, he likes to go grocery shopping.”

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