Category Archives: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Bad headline, weak evidence in a new study to link taking antidepressants during pregnancy to autism

Pregnant-woman-window-3Pregnant women on (SSRI) antidepressants will probably find it harder to make the right decision about whether  or not to stay on their depression medication during pregnancy — especially if they only read the (very misleading) headline and  don’t read and understand (and/or get help from their doctors)  the details of the latest study on a possible link between antidepressants and autism.

My point is that the increase in risk reported in this Swedish study– meaning the degree to which AD as a cause could be linked to the prevalence of autism in the population — amounted to less than 1%!

I’ve posted the link below. Pregnant women dealing with severe, moderate or even mild depression…if, after weighing the evidence, you opt to stop using a SSRI during your pregnancy, please also be sure to substitute alternative treatment (psychotherapy, an exercise regimen, a strong support system) and lifestyle changes that help with depression rather than simply opting out without replacing your antidepressants. I mention mildly depressed above because it is commonplace for mild depression to become more severe during and after pregnancy due to hormonal changes and related stresses.

Motherlode - Adventures in Parenting

April 22, 2013, 11:57 am 119 Comments

Study Links Autism With Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy

By KJ DELL’ANTONIA

A cautiously worded study based on data collected in Sweden has found that “in utero exposure to both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (S.S.R.I.’s) and nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors (tricyclic antidepressants) was associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders, particularly without intellectual disability.”

Read the New York Times article here:

The Swedish study in BMJ

Gallery

What I Wish I Could Have Said to Nancy Lanza and How We Can Prevent Another Tragedy

This gallery contains 1 photos.

On day five of what has for so many of us become a waking nightmare, it is increasingly apparent that the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has ripped open a deep wound in the American heart — particularly for parents … Continue reading

Gallery

The Essential Fine Points of New Study on Paternal Age as Risk Factor for Schizophrenia, Autism

This gallery contains 1 photos.

You probably read this headline about new research tying older dads to increased risks for schizophrenia and autism from yesterday’s NYT and other news outlets. The new study from Iceland actually has the most to report about autism — finding … Continue reading

An Inspiring Post by Steve Silberman on Autism, Neurodiversity, and Writing a Book

Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors

By Steve Silberman Posted: June 2, 2011 on Independent Book Publisher *

Steve Silberman reading at the Booksmith in SF.

Steve Silberman reading at the Booksmith in SF. Photo by Heather Champ.

*Steve Silberman also has a blog (Neurotribes) on the community I now manage at PLoS, The Public Library of Science (www.blogs.plos.org). As an author and advocate I find Steve’s work incredibly relevant and inspiring. I think you will too!

I love books. My late father Donald, who taught Wordsworth and Melville to inner-city kids for decades, used to read Ulysses to me while he carried me on his shoulders. Perhaps it was inevitable that I grew up to be a writer. Now, after years of investigative reporting for Wired and other magazines, I’m finally writing a book of my own.

The subject of my book is autism, the variety of human cognitive styles, and the rise of the neurodiversity movement. The seed of the project was an article I wrote for Wired in 2001 called “The Geek Syndrome” about autism and Asperger syndrome in high-tech communities like Silicon Valley. I’m happy and humbled to say that it was an influential article, and I still get email about it from the families of kids on the spectrum and from autistic people themselves, though it was published more than a decade ago.

The science of developmental disorders has made significant advances in recent years, and some of the social issues that I raised in the piece — such as the contributions that people with atypical cognitive styles have made to the progress of science, technology, and culture — seem more relevant than ever. At the same time, the wave of kids diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the ’90s is now coming of age, and their heroically devoted families are facing fear and uncertainty about the future as crucial government-funded services and support provided to families of special-needs children dry up. Meanwhile, neurodiversity advocates are challenging narrow definitions of “normal” cognition, and autistic people — even those who are unable to employ spoken language — are using assistive technology like the iPad to express themselves. There’s a lot of new ground to cover.

I’ve signed a contract with a wonderful publisher — a Penguin imprint called Avery Books — and a sharp and enthusiastic editor named Rachel Holtzman. One of the most thrilling moments of my life as a writer was walking into Penguin headquarters in Manhattan and seeing classic jackets for Jack Kerouac’s novels like The Dharma Bums framed on the wall. It was reading the exhilarating, compassionate, and perennially fresh poetry and prose of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and their friends that made me want to grow up to be a writer in the first place.

I’m not sentimental about old media vs. new media. Nothing will ever replace the sublime feeling of sanctuary created by the printed page, but I treasure the books on my Kindle too, particularly when I’m reading at 30,000 feet. What I love is words — storytelling, the flow of well-wrought sentences, the gradual unfolding of a long and thoughtful tale, the private communion with an author’s mind.

But now comes the hard part. It’s one thing to work up a 4000-word magazine feature and another to sit down and write a 100,000-word book. I’m acutely aware that I’ve been granted a precious opportunity to cast light on forgotten history and provide a platform for voices that are rarely heard. At the same time, I’m scared out of my wits that the two decades of journalism that have led up to this project have not prepared me to write a good book. I wake up at 3am staring into the darkness, wondering if I’ll have the skills, discipline, and inner resources to pull it off.

I’ve chosen to deal with my anxiety by tapping into the wisdom of the hive mind. I recently sent email to the authors in my social network and asked them, “What do you wish you’d known about the process of writing a book that you didn’t know before you did it?”

I’m delighted with the sheer range of practical advice that poured in. The writers in this group are as diverse as the volumes that line the shelves in my home office.  There are top science writers and journalists like Carl Zimmer, Jonah Lehrer, Deborah Blum, Paula Span, and David Shenk; prolific blogger Geoff Manaugh of the endlessly fascinating BLDGBLOG, which focuses on architecture and the future of urbanism; award-winning poet and essayist August Kleinzahler; a wise-beyond-his-years entrepreneur named Ben Casnocha; a Zen master named John Tarrant and an author of Buddhist bestsellers, Sylvia Boorstein; two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee David Crosby of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and two of the geniuses who helped launch 21st century digital culture and the spunky “maker” movement, Cory Doctorow and Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing. A more diverse group of writers, talking about the nuts and bolts of their craft, would be hard to find anywhere on the Web.

A few things became clear as soon as their replies came in. First of all, I’ll have to throttle back my use of Twitter and Facebook to get this writing done (and I may never rev up my idle Quora account after all.) Secondly, scheduling intervals of regular exercise and renewal amid the hours of writing will be essential. And thirdly, I’ll certainly be buying and downloading a software program called Scrivener, which is a powerful word processor specifically designed for writing books and keeping vast amounts of related data in good order.

Reading these tips has made the voice in my head that whispers I can do this a little louder when my eyelids snap open before dawn. I hope the advice here inspires the creation of many great books, not only the one I hope to write. I’m deeply grateful for the time and attention of the master writers assembled here.

Enjoy — and good luck with your own writing!

luck with your own writing!

READ ALL THE FABULOUS TIPS FROM STEVE’S PICK OF ‘BRILLIANT AUTHORS’ HERE:

http://independentbookpublisher.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/practical-tips-on-writing-a-book-from-23-brilliant-authors/

Gallery

Rethinking Autism As A ‘Whole Body’ Condition | CommonHealth

This gallery contains 1 photos.

This introduces an excerpt from an important new book on autism… We often think of autism as a disorder of the brain. And it certainly is. But a new book, “The Autism Revolution,” Random House by Dr. Martha Herbert, an … Continue reading

Aside

Aging Out: When Kids With Autism Grow Up | Child Mind Institute.

Gallery

Autism Awareness is Not Enough: Here’s How to Change the World | NeuroTribes

This gallery contains 1 photos.

To round out my autism coverage, here’s a great post from Steve Silberman from his Neurotribes blog detailing solutions for adults living with autism… Now society is coming to understand that the broad spectrum of autism — as it’s currently … Continue reading

Gallery

Vitals – Outgrowing autism? Study looks at why some kids ‘bloom’

This gallery contains 1 photos.

It turns out the most radical thing a parent can do is have hope–and combine it with the determination to help a child heal. Though one on one parent-child therapy is not enough to help every child overcome a mental … Continue reading

Gallery

Autism in California: Major Health Insurers agree to provide autism coverage | City Brights: Laura Shumaker | an SFGate.com blog

More good news for special needs parents in California…with CalMHSA (Prop 63 support for mental health services for all and early intervention clinics such as  PREP for youth psychosis), parent-activists like Laura Schumaker, and a proactive insurance commission, kids with … Continue reading

Gallery

The beginnings of mental illness, prenatal and early childhood_Research Roundup from APA Monitor

Here’s a sample of the new research findings assembled from multiple studies in a Feb/2012 issue of Monitor from the Am Psych Assn.  Among other things, notice the links being made between early trauma, the stress reactions prompted by such … Continue reading