Premature birth appears to weaken brain connections​

Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric problems that may be due to weakened connections in brain networks linked to attention, communication and the processing of emotions, according to new School of Medicine research led by Cynthia Rogers, MD. 

People with autistic tendencies vulnerable to alcohol problems

Young adults with autistic tendencies don’t often engage in social or binge drinking, but if they drink, they are slightly more likely than their peers to develop alcohol problems, according to new research from Duneesha De Alwis (right) and Arpana Agrawal at the School of Medicine.

New study looks at medication use of kids with ASD, ADHD

Many children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can benefit from medication for related disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “Unfortunately, there is very poor understanding of overall medication use for kids with autism,” says Paul T. Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. As a step toward improving the situation, Shattuck and colleagues studied psychotropic medication use compared across individuals with an ASD, ADHD and both an ASD with ADHD. “Observations from the present study reinforce the complexity of pharmacologic treatment of challenging behavior in kids with ASDs and ADHD. There needs to be a clearer guide for treating kids with both an ASD and ADHD,” he says.

Study looks at how kids with autism spend their screen time

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) tend to be preoccupied with screen-based media. A new study by Paul Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, looks at how children with ASDs spend their screen time. “We found a very high rate of use of solitary screen-based media such as video games and television with a markedly lower rate of use of social interactive media, including email,” Shattuck says.

Prenatal smoking increases ADHD risk in some children

Smoking while pregnant combined with genetic factors greatly increases the risk of severe ADHD.Past research has suggested that both genes and prenatal insults — such as exposure to alcohol and nicotine — can increase the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the identified increases in risk have been very modest. Now, a team of Washington University scientists has found that when those factors are studied together, risk of a severe type of ADHD greatly increases.

Prenatal smoking increases ADHD risk in some children

Smoking while pregnant combined with genetic factors greatly increases the risk of severe ADHD.Past research has suggested that both genes and prenatal insults — such as exposure to alcohol and nicotine — can increase the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the identified increases in risk have been very modest. Now, a team of Washington University scientists has found that when those factors are studied together, risk of a severe type of ADHD greatly increases.

Researchers find almost half of kids with ADHD are not being treated

Many kids who may benefit from ADHD medications don’t get them.In contrast to claims that children are being overmedicated for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a team of researchers at the School of Medicine has found that a high percentage of kids with ADHD are not receiving treatment. In fact, almost half of the children who might benefit from ADHD drugs were not getting them.

Washington University Researchers find almost half of kids with ADHD are not being treated

Many kids who may benefit from ADHD medications don’t get them.In contrast to claims that children are being overmedicated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that a high percentage of kids with ADHD are not receiving treatment. In fact, almost half of the children who might benefit from ADHD drugs were not getting them.

Researchers identify bipolar disorder in preschoolers

Mania can be confused with ADHD.Child psychiatry researchers at the School of Medicine have identified a small group of preschoolers who appear to suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. The researchers reported they had identified key symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from other problems in very young children. Diagnosing bipolar disorder in childhood can be difficult because the manic phase of the illness can be confused with the more common attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers identify bipolar disorder in preschoolers

Mania can be confused with ADHD.Child psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a small group of preschoolers who appear to suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. In findings presented this fall to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the researchers reported they had identified key symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from other problems in very young children. Diagnosing bipolar disorder in childhood can be difficult because the manic phase of the illness can be confused with the more common attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The confusion arises because mania and ADHD both involve hyperactivity, irritability and distractibility.
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