Literally donning an electrode-studded thinking cap can improve your memory by 110 percent, according to a new study by Australian researchers. The method applies electricity to the head to inhibit a specific region of the brain that has been implicated in autism.
Autistic children have distinctive chemicals in their urine, according to a study by British researchers who say the results could pave the way for an diagnostic test for the disorder.
The finding also lends more weight to theories that substances related to gut bacteria may contribute to autism, New Scientist reports.
In a small, sparsely furnished room, a young boy in a black T-shirt backs himself into a corner. He's cautious. Cameras capture his movements, and microphones record every sound. But this doesn't intimidate him; he doesn't even seem aware that he's being observed. His mom, sitting nearby, is not the object of his focus either. Brian (his name has been changed here to protect his privacy) is autistic, and he's staring across the room at a two-wheeled, gray, humanoid robot with big, cartoonish eyes.
Blindness, brain cancer, vegetative states: These are among the most hopeless conditions without cures—yet. Now doctors are turning to unorthodox methods to solve some of medicine's most intractable challenges. The early results are in, and they look promising.
After stirring controversy in medical circles for more than a decade, the inflammatory findings that a routine childhood immunization is linked to gastrointestinal disease and autism has been formally retracted. The Lancet -- the esteemed British medical journal that published the findings -- has pulled the case study from its published record, its editor calling the paper "the most appalling catalog and litany of some the most terrible behavior in any research."
My theory about the itty-bitty iPod shuffle is that Apple made it so small so that people will constantly be losing them, and buying replacements.
But besides the over-the-top portability, the new shuffle has another advantage: it can be swallowed.
Also in today's links: cute ancient creatures, a link between anorexia and autism, and more.
One little yellow robot is a hot contender for cutest medical device
By Val WangPosted 04.10.2009 at 3:18 pm 5 Comments
Two years ago, a yellow spongiform robot named Keepon became a minor YouTube sensation when one of its creators programmed it to do a squishy, twisty dance in time to the Spoon song "I Turn My Camera On." The video has garnered more than 2 million hits. Now Keepon's keepers, Marek Michalowski, a Ph.D student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, and Hideki Kozima of Miyagi University in Japan, are turning Keepon's attention to a more serious task: to study how children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) interact socially and to see if the robot may be able to help in therapy.
Although autism affects people in different ways, many children with the disorder don't like looking directly at people's faces, because they find expressions unpredictable and disquieting. This makes it hard for them to learn to read emotions in others.
The Transporters, developed by a team at the U.K.'s Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, entices autistic children to look at expressions by superimposing actor's faces onto the fronts of animated toy boats, cable cars, and other kid-friendly vehicles.
Autism affects one in every 150 children born today in the U.S., a more than threefold increase from ten years ago. A variety of studies try to explain why
By the Editors of E - The Environmental MagazinePosted 07.11.2008 at 12:43 pm 6 Comments
Dear EarthTalk: What's going on with all the cases of autism cropping up and no one seems to know why? It stands to reason it must be something (or some things) environmental, yet every study allegedly turns up no conclusion? What are the possible causes?-- Jessica W., Austin, TX
Researchers find more evidence that claims of a current "plague of autism" are greatly exaggerated
By Matt RansfordPosted 04.22.2008 at 11:31 pm 5 Comments
There is more evidence this month demonstrating that we are not, in fact, presently suffering through an age of increased incidence of autism, but rather as the definition of autism is refined, we discover individuals who were previously misdiagnosed. A University of Oxford study has followed up with a group of 38 adults who were originally involved in a series of studies on developmental language disorders in the late 80s and 90s. Those who manifest symptoms of the disorders have difficulty with spoken language, a trait also seen in autism.