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Illuminating Pathways To a Healthy Brain

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can severely impair an individual’s ability to communicate and socially interact with others.

Classic Autism (also known as Kanner’s Autism or Syndrome), Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Rett’s Syndrome are specific types of neurobehavioral complications, which have long been classified within a group of developmental conditions loosely known as “Autism Spectrum Disorders”.

Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because the number and intensity of the symptoms people with autism display may vary widely. However, all individuals afflicted with autism demonstrate challenges to some degree in the following three areas:

  • communication
  • social relationships
  • restricted patterns of behavior

Generally, these diagnoses are made four times more often in males than females. In the 1980’s, autism was diagnosed in approximately 1 in 1,000 children. Currently, autism is believed to affect 1 in every 50 people!

Although we do not yet know all the reasons why the rate of people being diagnosed with autism has increased substantially over the past two decades, part of the answer may be improved diagnostic techniques. However, there also is evidence for an “epidemic” possibly caused, in part, by an as-yet unidentified infectious pathogen.

In a controversial move, the forthcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) will be eliminating Asperger’s and other diagnoses and lumping all of these different disorders under a single entity – Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Brain SPECT scanning is useful in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Numerous studies have found brain region hypO-perfusion associated with ASD.

A. The radiotracer substance, Tc99m-HMPAO, used in SPECT scans, is a blood flow (not merely angiography) and cell function uptake agent. If the cells aren’t working, the scan agent does not get taken up by them.

Perfusion brings cell function needs: sugar and oxygen. In the brain, cellular function and perfusion (blood flow) are closely coupled.

hypO-perfusion = under functioning of the cells

hypER-perfusion = over functioning of the cells = increased cellular function

B. Serendipity = the tracer agent, HMPAO, is changed in the neuron by glutathione reduction, so it seems to be a very suitable candidate for brain scanning in oxidative stress.

In the early years of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOTx), the  basic assumption was that ONLY hypOperfusion was an indicator to use HBOTx to hopefully improve brain function. In the early 2000’s, we were better able to see hypERperfused areas on SPECT scans, but their clinical meaning was uncertain. More recently, behavioral medicine (Psychiatry) has begun using brain SPECT, and many clinical correlations to brain regions that were hypERperfused are now known.

In individuals with autism spectrum disorders, a number of brain perfusion changes have been observed. Clinical correlations of these perfusion changes with behavioral factors are evolving. Professionals have been utilizing this information to identify co-morbid factors such as seizure, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive tendencies and ADHD to guide treatment. Neuro-Luminance brings over 30 years of expertise in evaluation and treatment of patients with ASD.

If you’re ready to do something about Autism Spectrum Disorder why not call us right now. Visit our contact us page to find out the best way to get in touch with us.