Jan 24, 2014, KPTV Portland, OR: Oregon family uses medical marijuana to manage son
Yale researchers may have found a new way to detect autism in infants as young as six months old.
After tracking eye movements of six-month-old infants presented with three different types of faces, the investigators discovered that the young children with autistic siblings - who are roughly ten times more likely to develop autism themselves - paid less attention to key facial features than low-risk infants did, but only when the face shown was speaking. While further research is needed to determine the causes of the particular looking patterns, the finding may help doctors diagnose autism before symptoms appear at around two years of age, said Katarzyna Chawarska GRD '00, a professor in the Child Study Center and study co-author.
In the study, which was published in the February issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, infants were shown a static picture of a woman, a video of a woman smiling and a video of a woman smiling while speaking a nursery rhyme. The study's first discovery - that high-risk infants paid less attention to faces in general than low-risk infants - was not a surprise, as previous research has demonstrated that autistic individuals spend less time looking at faces and social cues, said Frederick Shic, a professor in the Child Study Center and study lead author. What was surprising, he said, was the second discovery that infants who later developed ASD turned away from the inner-face features of speaking faces only. These infants focused instead on outer features, which may be indicative of their risk for developing ASD, Shic said.
More dead-end science to convince the public that if siblings have a predisposition to develop autism, it must be genetic. Kids are born with autism. We just need to find it early so we can start that all-important early intervention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has circulated a resolution that opposes the use of medical marijuana in children. Dr. Sharon Levy, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston's Children's Hospital and chairwoman of the AAP's committee on substance abuse, told FOX 12 marijuana is toxic to children's developing brains. She also said enough isn't known about the drug's long-term effects.
"For us, the long-term side effects that are unknown for something that can't kill him are a lot better than the long-term side effects of him beating himself bloody," Echols said.
The Echols also said they're not advocating the use of medical marijuana for all autistic children, but they say those who walk a mile in their shoes may not consider the treatment so extreme.
I almost laughed at the AAP comment. I couldn't imagine that they'd ever think anything was too toxic for a child brain.
Live and learn!