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Monday, October 4, 2010

New Hope for Autism and other Developmental Disorders

Please allow me to introduce to you:

Dr. Aditi Shankardass

Recent Harvard research suggests that up to 50% of Autism diagnosis are incorrect. Moreover, the true cause of many of the misdiagnosed cases is epileptic-type seizure activity in certain areas of the brain (this may hold true for other developmental disorders, as well, including "sensory integration," and PDD NOS).

Autism was a categorical diagnosis that was developed in the bronze-age of psychiatry (that's just after the stone-age, which was everything from 3000 BC until about 1945). Currently, for Autism, there is not one treatment or set of treatments that works any better than the improvement that is seen by the passage of time alone - by just letting the disorder "run its course." We just don't understand how to diagnose this disorder and how to effectively treat it. The mental health diagnostic criteria for Autism are primarily behavioral symptoms. It tells us nothing about what is going on the child's neuro-development that leads to such pervasive dysfunction.

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Along with other Harvard neuro-scientists, Dr. Shankardass uses two types of special software which reads EEG information. The first software determines the specific area of the brain where seizure activity is occurring (using triangulation), and the second determines the statistical likelihood that any seizure activity that has been located is abnormal.

This diagnostic process is longer, where patients perform a variety of activities during their EEG, and it is during this time that seizure activity can be recorded.

Dr. Shankardass has many incredible success stories of children recovering from these seizures with the correct medications. The key is catching the seizures early enough before they cause damage to the neurons in the brain, or to the brain's neuro-circuitry, affecting other parts of the brain.

As this technology and treatment advances and becomes more widely studied, I will continue to follow-up with more information.

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