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CHDD Outlook

News from the Center on Human Development and Disability at the University of Washington Health Sciences Center

Current Issue

2013 Issue#5- Brain Imaging and Autism by Sally James
Steven Dager and collaborator Annette Estes have found a very distinct longitudinal pattern of brain chemical alterations in children with autism between 3 and 10 years of age that differ from patterns in the brains of typically developing children and in children with developmental delays by using sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

2013 Issues

2013 Issue#4- Testing Adults for Genetic Causes of Autism by Sally James
Fuki Hisama and Gary Stobbe have expanded autism genomics information to help families whose children are now adults. Rapid changes in current genetic knowledge mean that those individuals diagnosed just a few years ago may not know as much about possible genetic underpinnings as those diagnosed today.

2013 Issue#3- A Neuroprotective Agent for Extremely Preterm Infants by Sally James
Sandra Juul has spent 18 years researching a way to help minimize the health and developmental effects for babies who are born too early or sometimes suffer low oxygen before, during, or after birth. She hopes to improve the lives of the babies and their families by utilitzing a hormone produced in the kidneys and widely available in a synthetic form–erythropoietin (also shortened to Epo).

2013 Issue#2- Intractable Epilepsy and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities by Sally James
Nicholas Poolos is a neurologist specializing in epilepsy and a CHDD Research Affiliate. He and his colleagues at the UW Regional Epilepsy Center are working to help about one-third of patients who do not respond to current treatments to reliably prevent seizures and associated brain damage. These "refractory" epilepsy patients may benefit from the combination lamotrigine/valproate treatment.

2013 Issue#1- Mouse Model of Epileptic Syndrome Yields Discoveries That May Illuminate Autism Spectrum Disorders by Sally James
William Catterall leads a team of researchers studying mice with the Dravet syndrome mutation.Their research raises hope that the prescription medications in the same family as clonazepam may one day be of value for children with Dravet Syndrome and possibly disorders along the autism spectrum.

2012 Issues

2012 Issue#9-New Study Puts Parents at Center of Helping Toddlers with Autism by Sally James
Highlights CHDD Research Affiliate Annette Estes' new study called Parents and Toddler at Home, or PATH. This study is designed to refine and enhance training parents to help their young children with autism using an evidence-based approach called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). ESDM is effective when provided by trained practitioners at 20 hours a week, the potential benefits of parent-delivered intervention is the goal.

2012 Issue#8-New Center on Written and Oral Language to Help Children with Specific Learning Disabilities by Joel Schwarz
Virginia Berninger is the principal investigator of a five-year grant that created a new Center for Defining and Treating Specific Learning Disabilities in Written Language. The center aims to define specific learning disabilities in writing and/or reading that emerge during the preschool and elementary school years.

2012 Issue#7-Picture This: Researchers Try to Build an Atlas of How Human Brain Develops In Utero by Joel Schwarz
Colin Studholme is leading a group of researchers that is trying to create a three-dimensional and four-dimensional map of how the human brain develops before birth.They hope to use this knowledge to better detect, understand and perhaps treat developmental and related disabilities at the very earliest stages of growth.

2012 Issue#6-Hunting for the Complicated Mechanisms Behind Multiple Sclerosis by Joel Schwarz
Highlights Joan Goverman is working to discover the clinical spectrum and various subsets of pathways leading to Multiple Sclerosis. She and her colleagues have discovered that there are critical differences in how inflammation is regulated in different regions of the central nervous system. Their hypothesis is that a small number of people may carry genes that may make them susceptible to developing MS from a common virus that up to 90 percent of people have been exposed to.

2012 Issue#5-A Fruit 'Flyful' Line of Research Looks at Genetic Causes of Intellectual Disabilities by Joel Schwarz
Jay Parrish focuses much of this work on the morphology, or the form and structure, of dendrites, the structures that extend from a neuron cell body in distinctive branch-like patterns. He believes the fruit fly may help unlock the genetic causes of a number of diseases that contribute to human intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Down, Rett, Fragile-X and Angelman syndromes.

2012 Issue#4-Hair Cell Regeneration Could Change Way World Sounds and Feels for Millions by Joel Schwarz
Jennifer Stone studies cellular and molecular mechanisms of hair cell production that may someday improve hearing and balance in humans with hearing loss. Dr. Stone and a number of CHDD research affiliates working in the University of Washington's Bloedel Center are working on several aspects of audiology research.

2012 Issue#3- Genetics Can Provide Answers for Parents on the 'Diagnostic Odyssey' by Joel Schwarz
Highlights Fuki Hisama's use of recent advances in medical genetics to help clinicians in some cases to give parents solid answers on their "diagnostic odyssey"--looking for reasons why their child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Hisama is the medical director of the University of Washington's Genetics Medicine Clinic based at the CHDD and has established an Autism Genetics Clinic.

2012 Issue#2- Using the Canary of the Mind to Find Genes Causing Brain Malformations by Joel Schwarz
Kathleen Millen PhD, and colleague William Dobyns, MD, use genome technology to find genes that may be damaged. Millen's specific focus is congenital malformations of the cerebellum –structural birth defects that are relatively common and visible on brain imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

2012 Issue#1- LENDing a Helping Hand to Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities by Joel Schwarz
Highlights the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) at CHDD and the new director, Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH. With Dr. Davis at the helm, LEND at the CHDD is planning to increase the number of participants by 50 percent in the next five years as well as expand the program's geographical reach. Several interdisciplinary programs and personnel are featured.

2011 Issues

2011 Issue#6- Preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders by Joel Schwarz
Highlights the Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) directed by CHDD Research Affiliate Therese Grant. PCAP is designed to reduce the incidence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), a range of lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders that includes fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a disorder caused by heavy prenatal exposure to alcohol. Today it is serving clients in 10 locations throughout Washington state, two similar PCAP programs in California, one in Michigan and more than 40 throughout Canada.

2011 Issue#5- Epo May Provide Breath of Life to Newborns Experiencing Severe Oxygen Deprivation by Joel Schwarz
CHDD Research Affiliate Sandra Juul is searching for a treatment for perinatal asphyxia (or severe oxygen deprivation). Erythropoietin (Epo), a hormone produced in the kidneys that controls and stimulates the production of oxygen-transporting red blood cells, may mitigate and even reverse some of the devastating neonatal brain injuries caused by asphyxia as well as by stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage.

2011 Issue#4- Academic Performance and Cognitive Abilities in Children with ASD by Joel Schwarz
CHDD Research Affiliate Annette Estes investigated the IQ scores of high functioning nine-year-old children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and how they scored on standardized tests that measured reading, spelling, and mathematics. The research has implications for interventions to assist children with ASD as well as a number of future directions for researchers to explore.

2011 Issue#3- Enzyme Inhibitors May Block Injury from Stroke, Promote Recovery by Joel Schwarz
Highlights CHDD Research Affiliate Richard Morrison's investigation of the potential of Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors to block cell death in the nervous system caused by stroke. Stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death in the first year of life. HDAC may also help by assisting white matter cells recover potentially reducing permanent neurological deficits in children who survive a stroke.

2011 Issue#2- Unraveling the Puzzle of Epilepsy by Joel Schwarz
Edward J. Novotny, M.D., a CHDD Research Affiliate, is using new imaging techniques that enable the study of epilepsy–a syndrome encompassing more than 40 disorders characterized by episodic abnormal brain activity. Novotny, also the head of the epilepsy program at Seattle Children's Hospital, expects even greater progress in the study of the brain at the molecular level in coming years.

2011 Issue#1- Improving Teaching in Head Start by Joel Schwarz
A new Center on Quality Teaching and Learning is designed to improve teaching practices in Head Start programs. Co-director Susan Sandall, Ph.D., focuses on developing effective teaching practices for young children with disabilities and how to prepare teachers and other Head Start personnel to work them.

2010 Issues

2010 Issue#6- Exploring and Stretching the Boundaries of Brain Imaging by Joel Schwarz
Spotlights CHDD's Integrated Brain Imaging Center (IBIC), headed by director Thomas Grabowski, exploration of new brain imaging techniques that someday may enable clinicians to better understand and treat patients suffering from such conditions as stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

2010 Issue#5- UW Autism Center Launches New Programs by Joel Schwarz
Wendy Stone, the UW Autism Center's new director, has developed a program to screen children at least 12 months old and under the age of two for early indications of autism using Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers (STAT) which she developed.

2010 Issue#4- Six-month-old Infants with Deformational Plagiocephaly Show Delays in Early Motor Skills by Joel Schwarz
New work headed by CHDD research affiliate Mathew Speltz indicates that deformational plagiocephaly (DP) in infants and young children, formerly believed to be only a cosmetic issue, may be related to developmental delays in six-month-old infants.

2010 Issue#3- Training Pediatric Audiologists to Alleviate Shortage by Joel Schwarz
Spotlights a new program to meet a critical need for more specialists in pediatric audiology. An estimated 255 of the approximate 85,000 babies born in Washington state every year are diagnosed with permanent hearing loss. The Clinical Training Unit (CTU) based at the CHDD has initiated this project with newly acquired federal funding.

2010 Issue#2-Difficulty in Processing Information about Faces Stresses Brains of Persons with ASDsby Kris Freeman
Spotlights CHDD research affiliate Natalia Kleinhans's recent brain imaging research that involved adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Persons with ASDs experience stressful social interaction. Her work involves looking at an area of the brain called the amygdala and the different patterns of activity between adults with and without ASDs.

2010 Issue#1-UW Autism Center Study Reveals Benefits of Early Intervention for Toddlers by Joel Schwarz
Spotlights the groundbreaking study by the University of Washington’s Autism Center of early intervention for children with autism who are younger than 2½ years of age. Ashton, who is now 6, is among 48 youngsters who received an intensive intervention program which showed dramatic improvements in participants' social interaction, IQ, language ability and autism diagnosis.

2009 Issues

2009 Issue#3-UW Employment Training Program Fosters Opportunity by Kris Freeman
Spotlights the University of Washington’s Employment Training Program (UWETP). For more than 30 years UWETP employment specialists, counselors, and staff helped employers develop new jobs, place clients with intellectual disabilities in existing jobs, provide or arrange job training, and offer ongoing support once a client is established in a job.

2009 Issue#2-Working to Reduce Brain Damage from Stroke by Kris Freeman
Spotlights the work of CHDD research affiliates Thomas Moeller, Jonathan Weinstein, and Sean Murphy. Their goal is to reduce a significant cause of developmental disabilities by researching stroke that occurs before or just after birth, both the basic mechanisms of inflammation and medications with the potential to reduce that inflammation.

2009 Issue#1- Genetic ‘Hot Spots’ Linked to Developmental Disabilities by Kris Freeman
Spotlights the work of CHDD research affiliate Evan Eichler, a pioneer in discovering genetic mutations and detecting their associations with developmental disabilities.

Outlook Archive (1999-2008)

For more information, contact: chdd@uw.edu


University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 • chdd@uw.edu