Contact Information:
Shelly Leachman
shelly.leachman@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-8726
University of California - Santa Barbara



Kredyty mieszkaniowe Kredyty mieszkaniowe

Sprawdź aktualny ranking najlepszych kredytów mieszkaniowych w Polsce - atrakcyjne kredytowanie nieruchomości.

PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION
RSS - Press News Release
Add Press Release

Study: Behavioral therapy for children with autism can impact brain function


2013-02-14
(Press-News.org) Santa Barbara, Calif. –– Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for before-and-after analysis, a team of researchers including a UC Santa Barbara graduate student discovered positive changes in brain activity in children with autism who received a particular type of behavioral therapy.

Work completed at Yale University's Child Study Center used fMRI as the tool for measuring the impact of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) –– therapy pioneered at UCSB by Lynn Koegel, clinical director of the Koegel Autism Center –– on both lower- and higher-functioning children with autism receiving PRT for the first time. fMRI allows researchers to see what areas of the brain are active while processing certain stimuli –– in this case human motion. Comparing pre- and post-therapy data from the fMRI scans of their 5-year-old subjects, the researchers saw marked –– and remarkable –– changes in how the children were processing the stimuli. Findings from their study, "Neural Mechanisms of Improvements in Social Motivation After Pivotal Response Treatment," are published in a recent issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

"The cool thing that we found was that these kids showed increased activation in regions of the brain utilized by typically developing kids," explained Avery C. Voos, first-year graduate student at the UCSB-based Koegel Autism Center, and one of the lead authors of the Yale study. "After four months of treatment, they're starting to use brain regions that typically developing kids are using to process social stimuli.

"We can say that we have shifted the way these children are processing low-level social stimuli, and that's what we want," she added. "There's a social deficit in autism, so any improvement toward social interaction really helps with development. That's what makes this very exciting, and it speaks to the promise and success of PRT."

A targeted technique meant to improve social engagement among children with autism spectrum disorders, PRT forgoes the focus on specific skills, like block-building, to concentrate instead on so-called "pivotal areas," such as motivation, in hopes of inducing a cascading effect with similar impact across multiple areas.

"For instance, if you're orienting to people, socially it may appear more acceptable, but you're also getting rich information from those people, which will affect the way you're interacting with people more broadly," Voos explained. "Say a child wants to draw, and asks for a red crayon while she has her back to me. I say, 'I can't understand what you're asking if you're not looking at me.' Once she orients toward me, we provide a contingent response –– in this case, giving her the red crayon –– and ideally she begins to understand, 'Hey, me looking at you and asking for what I want gets me what I want.' Ultimately, the social interaction becomes the reward on its own, which is the ultimate goal."

The Yale study involved two children, who each received the same amount of therapy –– eight to ten hours each week, for four months –– bookended by fMRIs looking at predetermined regions of the brain. Small by design, according to Voos, the project was meant to show that PRT does impact processing, and is not simply inspiring learned behavioral changes. It was also intended as impetus for further, more comprehensive study.

"The logical next step is to assess a larger group of children that are the same age as these two, to see whether these improvements were unique to these kids," Voos said. "We also want to know if the changes we saw remain after treatment. Long-term, it would be amazing to do this with hundreds of kids, in different age groups, to see what differences there may be. I would postulate that the younger we start these kids in treatment, the more improvement we will see in the way that they process social stimuli."

And therein lies the larger message of this study, according to Voos.

"Early intervention is wonderful," she said. "It can make serious improvements not only in overt behavior, but potentially in the way children are processing the world around them and the way they're processing your interaction with them on a daily basis. Even if they're only minor changes, the fact that they have those shifts, and are potentially processing social stimuli in a more 'typical' manner for the rest of their lives, is pretty powerful to think about."

"Traditional neuro-imagers will say you can't do MRI with single subjects," she acknowledged. "This is still giving us a lot of useful information. It might be a different way of using the technology, but we think it's beneficial. And we don't think these are random findings. They make sense to us, and it's exciting."

###

Voos's partners at Yale, in both the research and the recent publication, were Kevin A. Pelphrey, Jonathan Tirrell, Danielle Z. Bolling, Brent Vander Wyk, Martha D. Kaiser, James C. McPartland, Fred R. Volkmar, and Pamela Ventola. Her Yale colleagues are still running the study.

Voos recently applied for a training grant that she hopes will allow her to continue this work at UCSB. END


ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Obesity coverage in black newspapers is mostly negative, MU study finds

2013-02-14
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Obesity rates have increased dramatically in the last few decades. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans make up more than 60 percent of the overweight and obese population, while only 13 percent of the total population. A new study from the University of Missouri School of Journalism shows that American newspapers, and specifically newspapers geared toward an African-American audience, frame stories on obesity in a negative way. Hyunmin Lee, who performed her research while a doctoral student at MU, says this negative framing could have ...

Hopkins scientists create method to personalize chemotherapy drug selection

Hopkins scientists create method to personalize chemotherapy drug selection
2013-02-14
In laboratory studies, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a way to personalize chemotherapy drug selection for cancer patients by using cell lines created from their own tumors. If the technique is successful in further studies, it could replace current laboratory tests to optimize drug selection that have proven technically challenging, of limited use, and slow, the researchers say. Oncologists typically choose anticancer drugs based on the affected organs' location and/or the appearance and activity of cancer cells when viewed under ...

Are billboards driving us to distraction?

2013-02-14
There's a billboard up ahead, a roadside sign full of language and imagery. Next stop: the emotionally distracted zone. One University of Alberta researcher has discovered that language used on billboards can provoke an emotional response that affects our driving abilities. And whether the words have a negative or positive connotation seems to determine whether the attention wanders or the foot gets heavier. Lead study author Michelle Chan says that although plenty of literature exists on road rage, none of it deals with external emotional stimuli. Chan and her U of ...

Self-objectification may inhibit women's social activism

2013-02-14
Women who live in a culture in which they are objectified by others may in turn begin to objectify themselves. This kind of self-objectification may reduce women's involvement in social activism, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Psychological scientist Rachel Calogero of the University of Kent, Canterbury hypothesized that women who self-objectify — valuing their appearance over their competence — would show less motivation to challenge the gender status quo, ultimately reducing their ...

Study shows limits on brain's ability to perceive multifeatured objects

2013-02-14
New research sheds light on how the brain encodes objects with multiple features, a fundamental task for the perceptual system. The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that we have limited ability to perceive mixed color-shape associations among objects that exist in several locations. Research suggests that neurons that encode a certain feature — shape or color, for example — fire in synchrony with neurons that encode other features of the same object. Psychological scientists Liat Goldfarb of the ...

Stay cool and live longer?

2013-02-14
ANN ARBOR—Scientists have known for nearly a century that cold-blooded animals, such as worms, flies and fish all live longer in cold environments, but have not known exactly why. Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have identified a genetic program that promotes longevity of roundworms in cold environments—and this genetic program also exists in warm-blooded animals, including humans. "This raises the intriguing possibility that exposure to cold air—or pharmacological stimulation of the cold-sensitive genetic program—may promote longevity ...

Accelerated biological aging, seen in women with Alzheimer's risk factor, blocked by hormone therapy

2013-02-14
STANFORD, Calif. — Healthy menopausal women carrying a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease showed measurable signs of accelerated biological aging, a new study has found. However, in carriers who started hormone therapy at menopause and remained on that therapy, this acceleration was absent, the researchers said. Hormone therapy for non-carriers of the risk factor, a gene variant called ApoE4, had no protective effect on their biological aging. "This shows that ApoE4 is contributing to aging at the cellular level well before any outward symptoms of ...

Blood may hold clues to risk of memory problems after menopause, Mayo study finds

2013-02-14
ROCHESTER, Minn. — New Mayo Clinic research suggests that blood may hold clues to whether post-menopausal women may be at an increased risk for areas of brain damage that can lead to memory problems and possibly increased risk of stroke. The study shows that blood's tendency to clot may contribute to areas of brain damage called white matter hyperintensities. The findings are published in the Feb. 13 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study involved 95 women with an average age of 53 who recently went through menopause. ...

GPA may be contagious in high-school social networks

2013-02-14
High school students whose friends' average grade point average (GPA) is greater than their own have a tendency to increase their own GPA over the course of a year, according to research published February 13 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Hiroki Sayama from Binghamton University and his collaborators from Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, New York, including four high school student researchers. Previous studies have shown that a student's social network can influence obesity, emotional state and other cognitive traits and behavior. However, this is the first ...

Long, low intensity exercise may have more health benefits relative to short, intense workouts

2013-02-14
Standing and walking for longer stretches improves insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels more than an hour of intense exercise each day does, but only if the calories spent in both forms of exercise are similar. The findings are published February 13 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Hans Savelberg and colleagues from Maastricht University, Netherlands. The researchers recruited eighteen normal-weight 19 to 24-year-old participants for their study and asked them to follow three regimes. In the first, participants were instructed to sit for 14 hours each day ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions

Pinpointing punishment

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

Criminals acquire guns through social connections

Restoring ocean health

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

International team discovers natural defense against HIV

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma

How much water do US fracking operations really use?

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done

Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows

A quantum lab for everyone

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package

[Press-News.org] Study: Behavioral therapy for children with autism can impact brain function
Press-News.org is a service of DragonFly Company. All Rights Reserved.
Issuers of news releases are solely responsible for the accuracy of their content.