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  1. Mice Missing Key Autism Gene Hint at New Treatm...

    June 16, 2016- "Mice Missing Key Autism Gene Hint at New Treatment Target"- A newly created strain of mice lacking SHANK3 closely mimics the effects of the protein’s loss in some people with autism, according to a new study. Scientists have created SHANK3 mouse models since 2010, and have since developed 10 others. Each of these strains carries a deletion or a variant in part of the SHANK3 gene. But because all of the mice have only a partial loss of the protein, none perfectly mirror the most common situation in people. The new mouse model “mimics the human condition better,” according to study leader Yong-Hui Jiang, associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University. This article goes on to explore the positives of this mouse model for future research and touches upon the complexity of developing treatments for people with SHANK3 mutations.

    • Jun 16 2016 09:01 AM
    • by brian
  2. Governor's Budget Includes Funds for People...

    April 14, 2016- "Governor's Budget Includes Funds for People Living with Autism"- Recently, Governor Pat McCrory announced an expansion of funds for Medicaid Innovations Waivers that will create an additional 250 slots for people with developmental disabilities in North Carolina. There are as many as 12,000 people on the Innovations Waiver waiting list, with some waiting as long as 10 years. In addition, the governor announced that the state will submit a plan to the federal government by fall to include evidence-based therapies for people on the autism spectrum.

    • Apr 18 2016 12:58 PM
    • by brian
  3. 3rd Grader with Autism Nails Every Michael Jack...

    February 19, 2016- "3rd Grader with Autism Nails Every Michael Jackson Move in Talent Show"- Jonah Jacomet, a 3rd grader with autism, recently showed off his Michael Jackson dance moves at his school’s talent show. His mom Edie says he says he loves dancing because it not only brings him joy, but it brings others joy to watch him.  Marvel while Jacob demonstrates the King of Pop's best moves in a video within this article.

    • Feb 22 2016 10:48 AM
    • by brian
  4. New Apple ResearchKit Trials Focus on Epilepsy,...

    October 15, 2015- "New Apple ResearchKit Trials Focus on Epilepsy, Autism and Skin Cancer"- Last March, Apple launched ResearchKit, its iOS-based platform for clinical research, with five initial classes. Recently, the company announced three new trials focused on epilepsy, autism, and melanoma. Traditionally, researchers were limited to geographic proximity when recruiting for clinical trials. The ResearchKit platform allowed researchers to reach thousands of participants within days of its launch with a diversity of location, background, age, and health. The new autism app, “Autism & Beyond,” allows researchers at Duke University to map a child’s reaction to approved stimuli to determine their reaction, which be linked to possible signs of autism. Ideally, they can amass thousands of these reactions as well as potential autism diagnoses to create an app that can assist in recognizing the disorder, which would be particularly valuable in areas with few child psychologist who specialize in autism.

    • Oct 16 2015 09:13 AM
    • by brian
  5. North Carolina Passes Autism Insurance Reform L...

    September 29, 2015- "North Carolina Passes Autism Insurance Reform Legislation"- New legislation to require certain health plans to cover the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism in North Carolina now awaits the signature of Gov. Pat McRory. When signed, the legislation will go into effect July 1, 2016 and apply to insurance contracts renewed on or after that date. When determined to be medically necessary, the legislation will cover therapeutic care, psychiatric care, psychological care, pharmacy care, and adaptive behavior treatment, which includes Applied Behavior Analysis and may be limited to $40,000 per year and capped at age 18.

    • Sep 30 2015 08:18 AM
    • by brian
  6. Scientists Trace Autism 'Pathway' from...

    August 24, 2015- "Scientists Trace Autism 'Pathway' from Gene to Brain"- Researchers believe autism is caused by a combination of genetic mutations and environmental factors.  However, it is unlikely that each mutation causes autism in its own unique way. Instead, it is more likely genetic mutations actually represent a small number of autism “pathways.” Researchers at UNC believe they have discovered the rough outlines of one such pathway by furthering work of another study that focused on UBE3A. The article goes on to discuss how changes in UBE3A may contribute to the development of autism.

    • Aug 25 2015 08:56 AM
    • by brian
  7. Researchers Show How Single Genetic Mutation ca...

    August 7, 2015- "Researchers Show How Single Genetic Mutation can Cause Autism"- Only about 27 genes have been identified with high confidence by researchers as causing autism when mutated, however hundreds more have been identified as potentially causing the condition. Researchers studying Angelman syndrome noticed mutations near the gene responsible for regulating the enzyme UBE3A, which is important for neural function and brain development. Using cell lines from a child with autism from the Simons Simplex Collection, researchers found the gene mutation which turns off the switch tightly controlling UBE3A. The researchers sequenced genes from the child’s parents’ cell samples, finding the parents did not have the mutation that the child did. The researchers may also have a way to decrease UBE3A with drugs that control the protein kinase A. Two compounds that were seen in the lab to “substantially” reduce the enzyme’s activity in neurons.

    • Aug 10 2015 08:48 AM
    • by brian
  8. Insurance Coverage for Autism Nears Passage in...

    July 8, 2015- "Insurance Coverage for Autism Nears Passage in North Carolina"- A bill nearing passage in the state of North Carolina would provide insurance to families affected by autism. The bill sailed smoothly through the N.C. Congress, but has had to overcome some barriers in the Senate. Under the proposed law, coverage would be provided up until a child's 18th birthday and will be capped at $40,000 annually.

    • Jul 10 2015 11:41 AM
    • by brian
  9. Study Picks Up Autism Broadcast in Tiny Antenna...

    June 8, 2015- "Study Picks Up Autism Broadcast in Tiny Antennae on Cells"- Mutations in a section of chromosome 16 that is linked to autism have an unexpected effect: they alter the miniscule, static hairs, called cilia, that adorn the surface of all cells. The findings suggest that problem with these cilia may contribute to autism. People with too few or too many copies of 16p11.2 show a wide range of feature. The new study suggests that some of these symptoms stem from abnormal cilia. It also raises the possibility that drugs that target these cilia ease symptoms of autism.  

    • Jun 08 2015 12:16 PM
    • by brian
  10. Guillermo Sapiro on Innovative Approaches to Au...

    May 26, 2015- "Guillermo Sapiro on Innovative Approaches to Autism Diagnoses"- In this brief video, Pratt Professor Guillermo Sapiro talks about a new technological approach to mental health disability screening and behavioral analysis in children. Among the topics discussed is a new app that has the potential to automatically detect expressions in real time.  

    • May 26 2015 01:51 PM
    • by brian
  11. CBT for Anxiety May Boost Cognition in Kids wit...

    May 18, 2015- "CBT for Anxiety May Boost Cognition in Kids with Autism"- Children with ASD and comorbid anxiety show increased attention to faces, especially emotional faces, in comparison with objects following treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy, suggesting that CBT may alter cognitive processes in this patient group. Twenty-six children between the ages of 8 and 14 years with ASD and 18 age-matched typically developing children who served as controls completed a dot-probe task to measure attention bias. Each trial consisted of presenting either a happy or angry face or an object paired with a neutral face to study participants. After 14 weeks of exposure to CBT, children with ASD had attentional bias scores that were similar to those of typically developing children, including a preference for emotional faces over neutral faces as well as a preference for neutral faces over objects. This study is promising because anxiety is one of the most common conditions associated with autism and the treatment showed both a clinical benefit as well as demonstrating potential changes in basic cognitive processes involved in autism.  

    • May 20 2015 09:30 AM
    • by brian
  12. Expanded Insurance Coverage for Autism Proposed...

    April 10, 2015- "Expanded Insurance Coverage for Autism Proposed in NC Senate"- A new attempt to pass autism insurance legislation in North Carolina is sponsored by Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca and BlueCross BlueShield, the state’s largest insurer.  However, this bill will not support the use of ABA treatment, considered the universal gold-standard of autism treatments. The reason is that BlueCross BlueShield considers ABA to be educational and not medical treatment for autism. The bill supports a “range of therapies” provided to children through age 18 and is capped at $40,000 a year.

    • Apr 13 2015 01:58 PM
    • by brian
  13. Costly but Crucial: NC Services for Disabled at...

    January 18, 2015- "Costly but Crucial: NC Services for Disabled at Heart of Class-Action Settlement"- A Medicaid settlement in the state of North Carolina affects nearly 12,000 individuals with intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, and related disorders. These individuals are getting the help they need to live independently through a Medicaid program known as Innovations waiver. The class-action suit was filed by five families with teens whose care ranged from about $43,600 to $64,000 a year. The article goes on to discuss the details of the lawsuit and what it means for those who are qualified for the program, and those who are shut out due to a lack of funds.

    • Jan 20 2015 11:59 AM
    • by brian
  14. Study Pinpoints Autism-Linked Protein for Sculp...

    January 6, 2015- "Study Pinpoints Autism-Linked Protein for Sculpting Brain Connections"-  Shortly after birth, neurons in the brain compete with one another to form lasting connections, called synapses. A new study by Duke researchers offers a close-up of synapse refinement and identifies a protein that is crucial in this process. Disruption in the protein, called hevin, have previously been linked to autism, depression and suicide, but the molecule’s role in the developing brain was mostly unknown until now. The article goes on to discuss the research, which involves observing mice that are missing the gene that codes for the protein hevin.

    • Jan 08 2015 11:41 AM
    • by brian
  15. Autism Test? There May Soon be an App for That

    December 23, 2014- "Autism Test? There May Soon be an App for That"- Using image analysis software in the iPad, a team of Duke researchers is developing an app that they hope will successfully screen for risk behaviors for autism. The app, which is in its testing phases, displays a series of videos designed to trigger some of the behavioral signs of autism. The device's camera captures the image of the child watching the videos, and they've developed software to analyze the child's head position and facial expressions. The computer can be trained to recognize emotions using databases of facial expressions. Clearly, a diagnosis made by machine, if consistently reliable, is a plus because human objectivity, long waiting periods of what could be critical treatment time, and the need to travel, the current major drawbacks of an autism diagnosis, would be eliminated.  

    • Dec 26 2014 11:21 AM
    • by brian
  16. Autistic Teen Named Homecoming Queen at Jones S...

    November 5, 2014- "Autistic Teen Named Homecoming Queen at Jones Senior"- Corchanta Greene’s parents were told when she was born that she may never walk or talk. Corchanta, who has autism, defied the doctor’s expectations and was recently crowned homecoming queen at Jones Senior High School. The support and well wishes she receives from her classmates if evident on a daily basis as they help Corchanta get to her daily classes and offer her others supports, and was confirmed by the fact she received more than 200 votes to be named the homecoming queen.

    • Nov 10 2014 10:05 AM
    • by brian
  17. Wish Granted for Panthers Fan with Autism

    October 26, 2014- "Wish Granted for Panthers Fan with Autism"- Alphonzo “Fonz” McDonald has autism and ADHD and recently had the biggest dream of his short life come true as he got to spend a day out with the Carolina Panthers football team.  The ARC of NC reached out to Dream On 3, an organization that grants wishes for children in the Charlotte area. Fonz had the opportunity to play catch with QB Cam Newton and even got some pointers on his routes from former Panther WR, now wide receivers coach, Ricky Proehl.

    • Oct 28 2014 10:08 AM
    • by brian
  18. New Evidence Links Autism to Air Pollutants

    October 16, 2014- "New Evidence Links Autism to Air Pollutants"- Recently released research further indicates that air pollutants are an environmental factor increasing the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder. The study found that pollution in North Carolina yielded similar results from a previous pollution-autism study in California, despite weather and climate differences between the two states.  Researchers focused on exposure to coarse and fine particulate matter, known as PM10, which arises in part from traffic-related air pollution. Researchers used a new, more exact tool to measure the levels of particulate matter in smaller slices of time, based on pollution at the family’s address during pregnancy. With this method, they were able to compare exposures during specific weeks of pregnancy. Researchers also found that women in the third trimester of pregnancy were more susceptible to the damaging effects of air pollution on their unborn child.

    • Oct 20 2014 10:05 AM
    • by brian
  19. New Ad Emphasizes Tillis' Work on Autism De...

    September 23, 2014- "New Ad Emphasizes Tillis' Work on Autism Despite Bill's Failure"- This article presents its readers with another example of a politician twisting the facts to appear righteous and effective, when in reality little was accomplished.  North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’ recent ad campaign highlights his work on autism legislation, except the bill never passed before the legislative session ended. In his ad, a young couple talks about having a son with autism and how Tillis advocated on their behalf to implement insurance coverage for autism. An update to this article states that Tillis’ campaign pointed out the State Health Plan now covers the same kind of autism-related illnesses discussed in the ad, but changes to the state health plan came about through an administrative action when the plan’s board voted to include coverage, not through legislative action. Tillis’ spokesperson claims that, while he can’t sole credit, Tillis’ efforts were “the catalyst” for that decision being made.  

    • Sep 25 2014 12:19 PM
    • by brian
  20. South View's Matthew Novak Uses Soccer to S...

    September 23, 2014- "South View's Matthew Novak Uses Soccer to Sprint Past Autism"- Matthew Novak is soccer player at South View High School with high-functioning autism. On the pitch, Matthew blends in with his teammates and recently scored his first goal ever. However, off the field Matthew encounters hardships due to his autism that make things like driving a car or social interaction difficult. Matthew is also a fan of other sports and has won 15 gold medals in the Special Olympics in activities ranging from softball to basketball.

    • Sep 24 2014 09:50 AM
    • by brian
  21. Autism Research Study Finds Treatment in Infant...

    September 8, 2014- "Autism Research Study Finds Treatment in Infants Removes Symptoms"- According to a pilot study of the “Infant Start” program, autism treatment in the first year of life removes the disabling delay before most children are diagnosed. The program was tested on infants as young as 6 months old and found that by age 3 there was a significant reduction in symptoms. The small study found that 6 out of the 7 study subjects caught up in all of their learning skills and their language by the time they were 2 to 3.  The Infant Start program focuses on infants’ attention to their parents’ faces and voices, parents’ initiation of interactions that attract infants’ attention and brought smiles and delight to both, parents’ imitation of infants’ sounds and intentional actions, and parents’ use of toys to support, rather than compete with, social attention.

    • Sep 11 2014 12:43 PM
    • by brian
  22. Duke Awarded $15M for Autism, Brain Disord...

    June 18, 2014- "Duke Awarded $15M for Autism, Brain Disorder Treatments"- Duke Medicine has been awarded $15 million to explore the use of umbilical cord blood cells to treat autism and other brain-related disorders.  The Marcus Foundation will fund the first two years of a planned five-year, $41 million project. The researchers involved in the study hypothesize that cord blood may promote repair of dysfunctional or damaged areas of the brain effected by autism and other disorders.

    • Jun 23 2014 03:02 PM
    • by brian
  23. Small Business Model Helps Young Adults with Au...

    June 6, 2014- "Small Business Model Helps Young Adults with Autism Find Work"-  A community in Chapel Hill has developed several small business models to ease the transition for individuals with autism who have just left high school. The article refers to the time leading up to young adult with autism no longer receiving services under IDEA as “The Cliff,” and tells us that about 35 percent of individuals with autism are not in college, employed, or receive any vocational training after high school. To help quell this trend, advocates created the Extraordinary Ventures business model, which is home to a bus cleaning business, an office salutation and packaging business, and a successful laundry service.

    • Jun 05 2014 09:28 AM
    • by brian
  24. NC's Employee Health Plan Covers Autism Tre...

    May 30, 2014- "NC's Employee Health Plan Covers Autism Treatment"- The families of North Carolina public employees and retirees next year will be eligible for coverage for autism treatment. The ABA treatment will be limited to $36,000 per benefit year and will only be available in-network to health plan members younger than 26 who are diagnosed by a licensed physicians or clinical psychologist. The health plans cover more than 670,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, legislators, university and community college workers, state hospital staff, and their dependents.

    • Jun 02 2014 02:21 PM
    • by brian
  25. Autism Bill Affects Real People; Pass It!

    May 22, 2014- "Autism Bill Affects Real People; Pass It!"- Christi D’Amelio is the mother of a child with autism and the author of this article detailing how when her son’s severe diagnosis. Since then, her and her family volunteered countless hours at Autism Speaks and the last five years working to end private insurance discrimination to get HB 498 passed for autism insurance reform in North Carolina.

    • May 27 2014 12:40 PM
    • by brian