How to Get Early Intervention Autism Therapy for Your Child

The good news is that it looks like very early intervention programs for children with autism really do help. The bad news is that services can be hard to find, and expensive.

Toddlers who participated in a study testing the Early Start Denver model for early intervention showed improved language skills and IQ, compared with children who didn’t get the specialized training, which emphasizes social skills and communication. The intensive therapy, which included 20 hours a week at home with a trained therapist and additional time working with parents, increased the IQ of the children by 18 points, compared with 7 IQ points in children who got more standard therapy.

Researchers and pediatricians have increasingly thought “the earlier, the better” when it comes to autism treatment, but this is the first hard evidence that working intensively with children who are younger than 2½ helps reduce the social and language deficits typical of autism. The study, which involved 48 children ages 18 months to 30 months, was published online Monday in Pediatrics.

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Study: Diet Could Slow Alzheimer’s

A diet rich in antioxidants could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or even slow down its evolution, researchers in Spain say.

Study leader Mercedes Unzeta of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and colleagues said their research suggests the neural networks of the adult brain susceptible to being destroyed by age and neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease can be strengthened through increasing dietary polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

In the study, a cream rich in both polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids — a patented mixture of dried fruits, nuts and vegetable oils made by La Morella Nuts in Reus near Tarragona — was added to the normal diet of mice.

The study, scheduled to be published in the journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, finds mice eating the cream for 40 days had a significantly higher amount of brain stem cells than the mice not eating the cream.

Eating the cream was also linked to much less oxidative damage when exposed to the hydroxide peroxide, the study said.

Polyphenols can be found in tea, beer, grapes, wine, olive oil, cocoa, nuts and other fruits and vegetables. Polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in blue fish and vegetables such as corn, soy beans, sunflowers and pumpkins, the researchers said.

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Raising Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness with an Apple a Day

Did you know that apples and apple products may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease? Research from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as Cornell suggests that eating and drinking apples and apple juice, in conjunction with a balanced diet, can help protect the brain from the effects of oxidative stress that may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

November is Alzheimer’s awareness month, and there are more than 5 million Americans living with it according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Worldwide, it is estimated that about 16 million people have Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to each person with the disease, there is often at least one other person who directly cares for him or her and a host of healthcare and support workers in the background.

It is not known what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease and at present there is no known cure. But there is hope and help for those people with Alzheimer’s. Research into the disease is offering answers to many questions from how to prevent it, to how to delay the disease’s onset. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and how you can help, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.

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