Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Many Kids with ADHD not Getting Required Meds

"While many people believe that too many children are being treated for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) these days, a new study shows that many children with the condition are not being treated."

"Rather than the popular belief that children are being overmedicated... in fact they're being undermedicated," study co-author Dr. Wendy Reich, of Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, Missouri, told Reuters Health.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Searching for a Cause: Med School Scientists Part of Large Autism Research Project (USC Times)

Image of the view from a window at USC School of Medicine
The childhood diagnosis of autism often foretells a lifetime of dependence and dim prospects for normal development. More troubling is that its causes remain little understood even as diagnoses are on the rise.

Two researchers in the School of Medicine's neuropsychiatry and behavioral science department are collaborating with the Center for Human Genetics at Duke University on a project aimed at learning more about the causes of the disorder that adversely affects communication and behavior.

"Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder have increased significantly, which is partly explained by better diagnostic techniques and the fact that most of these kids would have been institutionalized in the old days- not mainstreamed in public schools," said Harry Wright, a veteran USC clinician in neuropsychiatry and behavioral science.

Since the late 1980s, Wright and department colleague Ruth Abramson have conducted several autism studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"We know there's a significant genetic component to autism- as many as three to ten genes are involved," Abramson said. "But only 10 to 15 percent of autism diagnoses can be attributed to known causes such as maternal rubella. There's so much about the cause of autism that we still don't know."

"The long-term goal of our research is the same as for many genetic disorders," Wright said. "We want to identify the gene defects responsible for autism, then develop appropriate therapy, neonatal diagnosis, and early intervention. In the short term, we want to work with parents to develop better behavior therapy outcomes and explore which medications work best with certain groups of children."