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Autism: The Movement Perspective

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195091 Year: Pages: 374 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-509-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is portrayed as cognitive and social disorders. Undoubtedly, impairments in communication and restricted-repetitive behaviors that now define the disorders have a profound impact on social interactions. But can we go beyond the descriptive, observational nature of this definition and objectively measure that amalgamate of motions and sensations that we call behavior?In this Research Topic we bring movement and its sensation to the forefront of autism research, diagnosis, and treatment. We gather researchers across disciplines with the unifying goal of recognizing movement and sensory disturbances as core symptoms of the disorder. We also hear confirmation from the perspective of autism self-advocates and parents. Those important sources of evidence along with the research presented in this topic demonstrate without a doubt that profound movement and sensory differences do exist in ASD and that they are quantifiable.The work presented in this Research Topic shows us that quantifiable differences in movements have a better chance than current observational techniques to help us uncover subtle solutions that the nervous system with autism has already spontaneously self-discovered and utilized in daily living. Where the naked eye would miss the unique subtleties that help each individual cope, instrumentation and fine kinematic analyses of motions help us uncover inherent capacities and predispositions of the person with autism. The work presented in this topic helps us better articulate through the voices of parents and self-advocates those sensory motor differences that current inventories could not possibly uncover. These differences are seldom perceived as they take place at timescales and frequencies that fall largely beneath our conscious awareness. To the person in the spectrum living with this disorder and to the caregiver creating accommodations to help the affected loved one, these subtleties are very familiar though. Indeed they are often used in clever ways to facilitate daily routines. We have waited much too long in science to listen to the very people that we are trying to define, understand and help.Being autism a social problem by definition, it is remarkable that not a single diagnosis inventory measures the dyadic social interaction that takes place between the examiner and the examinees. Indeed we have conceived the autistic person within a social context where we are incapable - by definition - of accepting those differences. The burden is rather placed on the affected person to whom much too often we refer to in the third person as “non-verbal, without intentionality, without empathy or emotions, without a theory of mind”, among other purely psychological guesses. It is then too easy and shockingly allowed to “reshape” that person, to mold that person to better conform to our social expectations and to extinguish “behaviors” that are socially unacceptable, even through the use of aversive punishing reinforcement techniques if need be. And yet none of those techniques have had a single shred of objective scientific evidence of their effectiveness. We have not objectively measured once, nor have we physiologically characterized once any of those perceived features that we so often use to observationally define what we may think the autistic phenotype may be. We have not properly quantified, beyond paper-and-pencil methods, the effectiveness of interventions in autism.

Attachment Assessment in treatments, prevention and intervention programs

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195237 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-523-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Attachment theory, assessment and research offers a broad, far-reaching view of human functioning, and it can enrich a psychologist's understanding of subjects and their relational adjustment, both in clinical and non-clinical settings. Ongoing research in attachment has led to a number of individual treatments and prevention and intervention programs. The assessment of an individual's attachment organization, can play a crucial role in explaining and previewing the unfolding treatment, the relational adjustments or concerns, and the psychological well-being. We hope to receive empirical papers that give evidence for the usefulness of attachment assessment in both clinical (e.g., patients with Eating Disorder; or Axis-II; psychotherapy patients…) or not clinical population (e.g. Adoptive and/or foster families or couples, Mother-infant assessment in prevention field…). These papers should include methodological issues and information about the participants, the methods used to assess attachment, the process of scorer training and the availability of the manual used to obtain inter-scorer reliability. Case studies may be of interest to the extent that they demonstrate the value of a systematic approach to attachment material. A range of theoretical perspectives is welcome as well presentation of new emergent tools on attachment. Because Frontiers in Psychology is an international journal, each empirical paper should comment on the international implications of the findings and discuss its cross-cultural use. Such comments may include, for example, its linguistic specificity, its robustness in translation, and the cross-cultural generalizability of the constructs and behaviors of the measure and its usual correlates. Cross-cultural generalizability is not, however, a requirement.

Keywords

Attachment --- Parenting --- Trauma --- Anorexia --- Addiction --- Obesity --- autism --- Adoption --- Treatment

New treatment perspectives in autism spectrum disorders

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195305 Year: Pages: 161 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-530-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Pediatrics --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Developing novel and more effective treatments that improve quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorders is urgently needed. To date a wide range of behavioral interventions have been shown to be safe and effective for improving language and cognition and adaptive behavior in children and adolescents with ASD. However many people with ASD can receive additional benefit from targeted pharmacological interventions. One of the major drawback in setting up therapeutics intervention is the remarkable individual differences found across individuals with ASD. As a matter of fact the medications that are currently available address only symptoms associated with ASD and not the core domains of social and communication dysfunction. The pathogenesis paradigm shift of ASD towards synaptic abnormalities moved the research to pathway to disease that involve multiple systems and that are becoming the forefront of ASD treatment and are pointing toward the development of new targeted treatments. Some new therapeutics have been tested and others are being studied. In this context single gene disorders frequently associated with ASD such as Rett Syndrome, Fragile X and Tuberous Sclerosis have been of significant aid as neurobiology of these disorders is more clear and has a potential to shed light on the altered signaling in ASD. However much research is needed to further understand the basic mechanisms of disease and the relationship to idiopathic ASD. Clinical trials in children are underway with agents directed to core symptoms and to the associated disorders in the search of new therapeutics and progress are expected with possible new option for therapeutics in ASD in the upcoming future. Children and Adolescents with ASD and their families can provide important information about their experience with new treatments and this should be a priority for future research. In addition, research performed on genetic mouse models of ASD will keep on providing useful information on the molecular pathways disrupted in the disease, thus contributing to identify novel drug targets.

Advanced Neuroimaging Methods for Studying Autism Disorder

Authors: --- ---
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453160 Year: Pages: 141 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-316-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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In the last twenty years, many attempts have been made to provide neurobiological models of autism. Functional, structural and connectivity analyses have highlighted reduced responses in key social areas, such as amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, and superior temporal sulcus. However, these studies present discrepant results and some of them have been questioned for methodological limitations. The aim of this research topic is to present advanced neuroimaging methods able to capture the complexity of the neural deficits displayed in autism. This special issue presents new studies using structural and functional MRI, as well as magnetoencephalography, and novel protocols to analyze data (Analysis of Cluster Variability, Noise Reduction Strategies, Source-based Morphometry, Functional Connectivity Density, Restriction Spectrum Imaging and the others). We believe it is time to integrate data provided by different techniques and methodologies in order to have a better understanding of autism.

Brain Development and the Attention Spectrum

Authors: --- --- ---
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194827 Year: Pages: 96 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-482-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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Early-onset and enduring developmental deficits in attention, especially if combined with increased hyperactivity, and impulsivity, may result in constant impairments in multiple domains of personal life. The full spectrum of symptoms is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity, which is maladaptive and inconsistent with a comparable level of developmental age known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is considered one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders and of childhood, and among the most prevalent chronic health conditions.Given the wide heterogeneity and complex manifestations of the disorder, there is an importance in a developmental perspective that views ADHD as a multi-factorial disorder with multiple, causal processes, and pathways. The symptoms of ADHD should be cast, not as static or fixed neurobehavioral deficits, but rather in terms of underlying developmental processes.Even experienced professional might minimize the prevalence of a disorder among certain groups of patients. Therefore, the existence of attention disorders might become ""transparent"" for both the patient and the professional. This might lead to a non-accurate diagnosis, harm the treatment aspects and has potential non beneficial prognostic aspects.The developmental approach can provide predictions as to how characteristics associated with attention develop over time and how multiple risk and protective factors transact to impact it's development, as well as the development of a broad range of associated co-morbid features.Among children with mental retardation, autistic spectrum disorders, children who were born premature, born with low birth weight, as well as among those who suffer from chronic disorders (such as epilepsy, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or asthma), as well as among otherwise healthy preschoolers - the assessment of attention performance might be very challenging. In this research topic, we explore the latest cutting edge research on the biological and neural pathways as well as on psychosocial and behavioral correlates of brain development and attention spectrum. In doing so we aim to highlight: what is currently known regarding this new conceptualization of attention as a spectrum; the mechanisms underlying this spectrum; and where this field is headed in terms of developing our understanding of the link between brain development and attention performance.

Keywords

ADHD --- Attention --- Brain --- autism --- Child --- Delay --- development --- fetal --- maturation --- spectrum --- visual

Interaction of BCI with the underlying neurological conditions in patients: pros and cons

Authors: --- --- --- --- et al.
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194896 Year: Pages: 129 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-489-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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The primary purpose of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) systems is to help patients communicate with their environment or to aid in their recovery. A common denominator for all BCI patient groups is that they suffer from a neurological deficit. As a consequence, BCI systems in clinical and research settings operate with control signals (brain waves) that could be substantially altered compared to brain waves of able-bodied individuals. Most BCI systems are built and tested on able-bodied individuals, being insufficiently robust for clinical applications. The main reason for this is a lack of systematic analysis on how different neurological problems affect the BCI performance. Neurological problems interfering with BCI performance are either a direct cause of a disability (e.g. stroke, autism, epilepsy ) or secondary consequences of a disability, often overlooked in design of BCI systems (chronic pain, spasticity and antispastic drugs, loss of cognitive functions, drowsiness, medications which are increasing/decreasing brain activity in certain frequency range) . While some of these deficits may decrease the performance of a BCI, others may potentially improve its performance compared to BCI tested on a healthy population (e.g. overactivation of motor cortex in patients with Central neuropathic pain (CNP), increased alpha activity in some patient groups). Depending on the neurological condition, a prolonged modulation of brain waves through BCI might produce both positive or detrimental effects. Thus some BCI protocols might be more suitable for a short term use (e.g. rehabilitation of movement) while the others would be more suitable for a long term use. Prolonged self-regulation of brain oscillation through BCI could potentially be used as a treatment for aberrant brain connections for conditions ranging from motor deficits to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Currently, ASD is an increasingly prevalent condition in the U.S. with core deficits in imitation learning, language, empathy, theory of mind, and self-awareness. Understanding its neuroetiology is not only critical and necessary but should provide relevant insights into the relationship between neuroanatomy, physiology and behaviour. In this Research Topic we welcome studies of the highest scientific quality highlighting how BCI systems based on different principles (SSVEP, P300, slow cortical potential, auditory potential, operant conditioning, etc) interact with the underlying neurological problems and how performance of these BCI system differ compared to similar systems tested on healthy individuals. We also welcome studies defining signatures of neurological disorders and proposing BCI based treatments. We expect to generate a body of knowledge valuable both to researchers working with clinical populations, but also to a vast majority of BCI researchers testing new algorithms on able-bodied people. This should lead towards more robust or tailor-made BCI protocols, facilitating translation of research from laboratories to the end users.

Brain-immune interactions in health and disease

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195145 Year: Pages: 109 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-514-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Internal medicine --- Medicine (General) --- Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Brain-immune interactions are essential to maintain health and their dysfunction contributes to diverse human diseases. Recent data show that haematopoietic processes and immune organs are under central autonomic control. Deficient regulation of inflammatory events contributes to brain diseases, whereas acute or chronic brain injury is linked with the development of systemic inflammatory conditions or immunosuppression. At present, common disorders with high socio-economic burden such as cancer, cardiovascular-, neuroinflammatory- and neurodegenerative diseases, asthma, allergies, autism, psychiatric conditions and sepsis are believed to be influenced, at least in part, by the dysfunction of brain-immune communication. Since the median age of the world's population is increasing rapidly, it is expected that the burden of common non-communicable diseases will further increase, which represents a huge challenge to the health care systems worldwide. Thus, there is an increasing demand to understand and treat complex diseases, many of which are age-related, and this is not possible unless the fine-tuned communication between large systems -such as the nervous and the immune system- is comprehensively understood. Although it is impossible to cover all areas of relevant research in this field, papers in this eBook give some insight to a few important aspects of brain-immune interactions and their contribution to disease. We hope that this collection could stimulate further relevant research and facilitate discussions to support the understanding of the highly complex interactions between the immune system and the brain in health and disease.

Novel Approaches to the Analysis of Family Data in Genetic Epidemiology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199327 Year: Pages: 84 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-932-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Genetics
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for complex disorders with large case-control populations have been performed on hundreds of traits in more than 1200 published studies (http://www.genome.gov/gwastudies/) but the variants detected by GWAS account for little of the heritability of these traits, leading to an increasing interest in using family based designs. While GWAS studies are designed to find common variants with low to moderate attributable risks, family based studies are expected to find rare variants with high attributable risk. Because family-based designs can better control both genetic and environmental background, this study design is robust to heterogeneity and population stratification. Moreover, in family-based analysis, the background genetic variation can be modeled to control the residual variance which could increase the power to identify disease associated rare variants. Analysis of families can also help us gain knowledge about disease transmission and inheritance patterns. Although a family-based design has the advantage of being robust to false positives, novel and powerful methods to analyze families in genetic epidemiology continue to be needed, especially for the interaction between genetic and environmental factors associated with disease. Moreover, with the rapid development of sequencing technology, advances in approaches to the design and analysis of sequencing data in families are also greatly needed. The 11 articles in this book all introduce new methodology and, using family data, substantial new findings are presented in the areas of infectious diseases, diabetes, eye traits, autism spectrum disorder and prostate cancer.

Developing synaesthesia

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195794 Year: Pages: 173 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-579-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Synaesthesia is a condition in which a stimulus elicits an additional subjective experience. For example, the letter E printed in black (the inducer) may trigger an additional colour experience as a concurrent (e.g., blue). Synaesthesia tends to run in families and thus, a genetic component is likely. However, given that the stimuli that typically induce synaesthesia are cultural artefacts, a learning component must also be involved. Moreover, there is evidence that synaesthetic experiences not only activate brain areas typically involved in processing sensory input of the concurrent modality; synaesthesia seems to cause a structural reorganisation of the brain. Attempts to train non-synaesthetes with synaesthetic associations have been successful in mimicking certain behavioural aspects and posthypnotic induction of synaesthetic experiences in non-synaesthetes has even led to the according phenomenological reports. These latter findings suggest that structural brain reorganization may not be a critical precondition, but rather a consequence of the sustained coupling of inducers and concurrents. Interestingly, synaesthetes seem to be able to easily transfer synaesthetic experiences to novel stimuli. Beyond this, certain drugs (e.g., LSD) can lead to synaesthesia-like experiences and may provide additional insights into the neurobiological basis of the condition. Furthermore, brain damage can both lead to a sudden presence of synaesthetic experiences in previously non-synaesthetic individuals and a sudden absence of synaesthesia in previously synaesthetic individuals. Moreover, enduring sensory substitution has been effective in inducing a kind of acquired synaesthesia. Besides informing us about the cognitive mechanisms of synaesthesia, synaesthesia research is relevant for more general questions, for example about consciousness such as the binding problem, about crossmodal correspondences and about how individual differences in perceiving and experiencing the world develop. Hence the aim of the current Research Topic is to provide novel insights into the development of synaesthesia both in its genuine and acquired form. We welcome novel experimental work and theoretical contributions (e.g., review and opinion articles) focussing on factors such as brain maturation, learning, training, hypnosis, drugs, sensory substitution and brain damage and their relation to the development of any form of synaesthesia.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: From genotypes to phenotypes

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196807 Year: Pages: 93 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-680-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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This Research Topic covers the pathogenetic processes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that underpin the translation of genetic vulnerability to clinically significant symptoms. Available research data in ASD suggests that it is a neural connectivity disorder and that the social communication and related neurobehavioural symptoms result from reduced synchronization between key "social brain" regions. These interconnected neural systems can be understood through the relationship between functionally relevant anatomic areas and neurochemical pathways, the programming of which are genetically modulated during neurodevelopment and mediated through a range of epigenetic and environmental modulators. Elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms can provide an invaluable window for understanding the neural wiring that regulates higher brain functions and consequent clinical phenotypes. In keeping with the multi modal and diverse origins of ASD, this Research Topic explores the genetic underpinnings and environmental modulation in the aetiology; neural substrates, biomarkers and endophenotypes that underlie clinical characteristics; as well as neurochemical pathways and pathophysiological mechanisms that pave the way for therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, since genetically mediated deficits and consequent functional impairments involve activity-dependent synapse development that depends on postnatal learning and experience, the trajectory towards the final clinical expression could be modulated by early interventions that exploit the neuronal maturation and brain plasticity. However, identifying these diverse pathogenetic processes and tailoring interventions would require subtyping ASD into homogeneous subgroups. In this regard, this topic covers the current state of evidence in the literature through topic reviews as well as ongoing original work that provides tangible hypotheses and directions for future research.

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