Thursday 13 June 2013

The Autism Impact Measure and more

It's the usual excuse from me, "the dog ate my homework sir", no not that one, the one about me having a busy week so not being able to post a particularly detailed blog entry this time around. Indeed although there is the usual plethora of research material to pick from, only a few studies have really caught me eye so far this week. But those studies are pretty interesting....
Must try harder @ Wikipedia  

I'm starting with the paper by Stephen Kanne and colleagues* and their description of the Autism Impact Measure or AIM for short. Yes, we knew this study was coming as per an entry at the 2012 IMFAR conference. Including one Micah Mazurek on the authorship list who was involved in that really rather interesting article about gut problems potentially being linked to anxiety and sensory issues in relation to autism (see here), I was really quite interested in the AIM proposal. I've said it before and I'll say it again, one of the very big holes in autism research is a measure which has the appropriate power and accuracy to determine change in autism (see here) so we can start to reliably assess what interventions might work and indeed for who. Very possibly also to be used to pick up what might be different about those optimal outcomers (see here) as per more information on this group being revealed. There's not much more for me to say on this study aside from it certainly looks like the AIM has passed the initial hurdles in terms of reliability and robustness. Fingers are definitely crossed that it continues across clear water.

Next up the paper from Kristelle Hudry and colleagues** talking about language profiles in infants at high-risk for autism. Part of the BASIS network, the idea here was to look at language profiles across infancy in these high-risk kids compared with low-risk controls and then compare across groups of children from the high-risk grouping who were subsequently diagnosed with autism, "other atypicality" and nothing (typically developing). The important part of the results outside of "few group differences appeared on direct assessment of language and parent-reported functional communication" was the issue of reduced receptive vocabulary 'advantage' present in the high-risk group and maintained in the autism and other atypicality group. I know this might not sound like much but identifying red flags, any potential red flags pointing towards a propensity to develop autism, has to be a good thing even from a screening point of view.

Finally is the paper by Sarah Sullivan and colleagues*** which is well outside of the autism research domain, looking at prenatal vitamin D status and offspring risk of psychosis at 18 years of age. I say outside of autism research but maternal vitamin D levels in relation to offspring risk of autism or autistic traits have been talked about before (see here) and very little found on that occasion. Actually that's about the sum total of the findings from Sullivan et al replacing autism or AQ scores for psychosis in early adulthood, at least in their birth cohort. But just before you say to yourself words to the effect of "y'mean vitamin D isn't linked to something' I'll draw your attention to the work of Barbara Gracious and colleagues (open-access) which I talked about in a previous post (see here) suggesting vitamin D levels, first-person levels, might show a connection to psychotic features. Unfortunately the Sullivan paper doesn't seem to ask about first person vitamin D levels...

So AIM, language profiles in children at high-risk for autism and maternal vitamin D levels in relation to offspring risk of psychosis (or rather not). Surely there can't be many places on the web that you'd get all that together?

To close, a song by Badly Drawn Boy - something to talk about anyway. We miss you Richard Whiteley (no relation by the way).


* Kanne S. et al. The Autism Impact Measure (AIM): Initial Development of a New Tool for Treatment Outcome Measurement. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Jun 8.

** Hudry K. et al. Early Language Profiles in Infants at High-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Jun 8.

*** Sullivan S. et al. Prenatal vitamin D status and risk of psychotic experiences at age 18 years-a longitudinal birth cohort. Schizophr Res. 2013 Jun 6. pii: S0920-9964(13)00270-3.

----------- Kanne, S., Mazurek, M., Sikora, D., Bellando, J., Branum-Martin, L., Handen, B., Katz, T., Freedman, B., Powell, M., & Warren, Z. (2013). The Autism Impact Measure (AIM): Initial Development of a New Tool for Treatment Outcome Measurement Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1862-3

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