Navigation Links
Study shows autism symptoms can improve into adulthood
Date:9/26/2007

MADISON -- Hallmarks of autism are characteristic behaviors - repetitive motions, problems interacting with others, impaired communication abilities - that occur in widely different combinations and degrees of severity among those who have the condition.

But how those behaviors change as individuals progress through adolescence and adulthood has, until now, never been fully scientifically documented. In a new study, published in the September Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers have found that symptoms can improve with age.

"On average, people are getting better," says Paul T. Shattuck, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis who worked on the study as a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center and is the first author of the paper. "It is a hopeful finding, but the fact remains that those with severe autism will depend on others for their everyday needs and care for the rest of their lives."

Autism is a widespread condition in the United States, affecting an estimated one in 150 children and an unknown number of adults.

The new publication is part of a groundbreaking longitudinal study of more than 400 adolescents and adults with autism and their families led by Marsha Mailick Seltzer, a Wisconsin professor of social work and the director of the UW-Madison Waisman Center. "This project is one of the largest long-term studies of autism and it represents the collaborations of a team of researchers who together are investigating how autism changes across the life course," Seltzer explains.

Half of the study's participants are from Wisconsin and half are from Massachusetts. They were recruited from service agencies, schools and clinics. Every 18 months, parents in the study are interviewed in depth to assess changes in their child's symptoms and behaviors.

The new paper reports on how behavior in 241 adolescents and adults, initially aged 10 to 52 years, changed over a five-year period. Although symptoms for many in the study remained stable, a significant proportion exhibited improvements in symptoms and maladaptive behaviors.

"For all major symptoms, the percentage of people who improved was always greater than the percentage who worsened," Shattuck says. "If there was significant symptom change over time, it was always in the direction of improvement, though there was always a group in the middle that showed no change. The mean never went down."

Like most people, individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism continue to grow and change over time, Shattuck explains: "Their development is not frozen in time and forever the same. That's just not the case."

The paper reported on changes in broad categories of typical autistic symptoms: impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, impaired social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. Within those broad categories, changes across 32 specific symptoms - ranging from reciprocal conversation and interest in people to compulsions and rituals - were measured. Also examined were broader maladaptive behaviors such as aggression and self-injury that are not specific to autism. Across all categories, the proportion of study participants who improved was larger than the proportion that worsened.

Of those in the study, 69 percent were also classified as having mental retardation.

"Not everyone on the autism spectrum is mentally retarded," Shattuck says, "but being mentally retarded reduces the likelihood of improvement for many symptoms."

Why some in the sample improved is being investigated as part of the ongoing study, according to Shattuck.

"Our study demonstrates that significant changes are occurring," he explains. "But in terms of the underlying biological mechanisms, we don't yet know what's going on."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul T. Shattuck
pshattuck@wustl.edu
314-935-7570
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Rural Canadians travel far for specialists: study
2. A new study surpasses Gene Therapy Hurdle
3. Tomato Sauce reduces Cancer Risk- Study
4. A question on study of Adult Stem Cell
5. Study on obesity and heart failure
6. National Lung Study in the process
7. Marijuana gateway theory strengthened by study of twins
8. Old theory of adaptation confirmed by new study
9. Study casts doubt on keyboard ills
10. Gene study links endometriosis, infertility
11. Study reveals how stress can make you sick
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Parker at Stonegate, an assisted living residence ... caregivers, volunteers, thought leaders, researchers, educators and partners leading the way in services ... refresh the carpeting with the goal of maintaining the same precise colors and ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... ... ... For Immediate ... Polling Shows Young Women Seek Sex and Relationship Advice from ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... Ca (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... quality liquid handling handheld devices. Through an educational webinar, they will present the ... users a chance to learn how easy you can automate everyday pipetting tasks. ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... assistance that serves communities throughout southern Florida, is working to support the Take ... to children from low income families. , The Take Stock In Children Foundation ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... trained practitioners specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine, has become ... and conditions of aging, such as menopause, andropause, thyroid disorder and adrenal insufficiencies. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... 15, 2017 AccuGenomics, Inc., a diagnostic company ... announced that the company has provided an AccuKit to ... Carolina at Chapel Hill and to Qura Therapeutics for ... and quantify HIV reservoir and viral expression in human ... HIV Cure Center is a joint initiative between the ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... , Aug. 11, 2017 DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: ... health and big data solutions, today announced that it ... August 14 and host a conference call at 9:00am ... operating and financial results and its strategy and outlook ... hosted by Erez Raphael , Chief Executive Officer, ...
(Date:8/8/2017)... 2017   Second-quarter ... (GAAP) loss per share from continuing operations ... increased 16 percent to $110 million ... percent to $161 million ... continuing operations increased 8 percent to $0.93 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: