Tag Archives: Diagnosis

Goldenhar syndrome

Alternative Names:Oculoauriculo-vertebral spectrum(OAV).

Definition:
Goldenhar syndrome is a rare congenital defect characterized by incomplete development of the ear, nose, soft palate, lip, and mandible. It is associated with anomalous development of the first branchial arch and second branchial arch. Common clinical manifestations include limbal dermoids, preauricular skin tags, and strabismus.It  is a highly complex combination of malformations which leaves babies with an underdeveloped face.

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The term is sometimes used interchangeably with hemifacial microsomia, although this definition is usually reserved for cases without internal organ/verterbrae disruption.

Goldenhar syndrome was first described by Dr. Maurice Goldenhar in 1952.

It affects between 1/3500 to 1/26000 live births in the UK

 

Symptoms:
Chief markers of Goldenhar syndrome are incomplete development of the ear, nose, soft palate, lip, and mandible on usually one side of the body. Additionally, some patients will have growing issues with internal organs, especially heart, kidneys, and lungs. Typically, the organ will either not be present on one side or will be underdeveloped. Note that whilst it is more usual for there to be problems on only one side, it has been known for defects to occur bilaterally (approximate incidence 10% of confirmed GS cases).

The main features of the condition affect the ear, which may not have developed at all. This combines with underdevelopment of the jaw and cheek on the same side of the face. When these are the only problems it is normally referred to as hemi-facial microsomia and sometimes the condition stops there. But when associated with other abnormalities, particularly affecting the vertebrae in the neck it is referred to as Goldenhar Syndrome, or ‘oculoauricular dysplasia’. Dental problems are common due to the difference between both sides of the face and the jaw bones.

Goldenhar children very occasionally have been known to have heart and kidney abnormalities.

Most individuals with the syndrome are of normal intelligence although learning difficulties can occur in about 13% of cases. However there are usually language problems as a result of deafness and there may be speech and swallowing problems.

Many babies with Goldenhar Syndrome have poor weight gain in the first year or two of life as a result of their dental abnormalities.

Other problems can include severe scoliosis (twisting of the vertebrae), limbal dermoids, and hearing loss (see hearing loss with craniofacial syndromes).Deafness/blindness in one or both ears/eyes.

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Causes:
The cause of Goldenhar syndrome is largely unknown. However, it is thought to be multifactorial, although there may be a genetic component, which would account for certain familial patterns. It has been suggested that there is a branchial arch development issue late in the first trimester.

An increase in Goldenhar syndrome in the children of Gulf War veterans has been suggested but the difference was shown to be statistically insignificant

Diagnosis
There is not a genetic test that can diagnose Goldenhar syndrome. The diagnosis is made when an individual has the common symptoms associated with the condition. The diagnosis is made by a physician.

Treatment :
Once a child is diagnosed with Goldenhar syndrome, additional tests should be performed. A hearing evaluation is necessary to determine if there is hearing loss. If hearing loss is evident, the child should be referred to a hearing specialist. Speech therapy may also be helpful. X rays of the spine are recommended to determine if there are vertebral problems, and the severity. Individuals with Goldenhar syndrome should also be regularly evaluated for scoliosis. Renal ultrasounds and ultrasounds of the heart may also be recommended, due to the increased risk for birth defects in these areas. A doctor would make this recommendation. Finally, individuals with Goldenhar syndrome should be evaluated by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist).

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Surgery may be required to correct the birth defects seen in Goldenhar syndrome. Surgery to correct the facial birth defects can improve appearance and function.

It is necessary to help the child to develop e.g. jaw distraction/bone grafts, occular dermoid debulking, repairing cleft palate/lip, repairing heart malformations, spinal surgery. Hearing aids placed in one or both ears.

Some patients with Goldenhar syndrome will require assistance as they grow by means of hearing aids or glasses.

Prognosis
The prognosis for individuals with Goldenhar syndrome is very good. These individuals typically have a normal life span and normal intelligence.

Prevention:
There has been progress in identifying the condition through pre-natal scanning and it is thought the risk of having another affected child is small.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/goldenhar_syndrome.shtml
http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/goldenhar-syndrome/3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldenhar_syndrome
http://confessionsofateacher.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/867477.jpg
http://www.pharmacyescrow.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/11/goldenhar-syndrome/
http://www.i-am-pregnant.com/Birth/Birth-defects/Goldenhar-SyndromeGoldenhar syndrome

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Why do One in Ten Kids in the U.S. Have ADHD?

A U.S. government survey claims that 1 in 10 U.S. children now has ADHD. This is a sizable increase from a few years earlier. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) makes it hard for children to pay attention and control impulsive behavior.

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About two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD are on some form of prescription medication.

According to AP medical writer Mike Stobbe:
“In the latest survey, 9.5 percent said a doctor or health care provider had told them their child had ADHD … ADHD diagnosis is in many ways a matter of opinion.

There’s no blood test or brain-imaging exam for the condition. Sometimes reading disabilities or other problems in the classroom cause a teacher or others to mistakenly think a child has ADHD.”

Researchers suggested growing awareness and better screening may be responsible for the rising numbers, but there are a number of food additives that experts think may worsen ADHD as well. They include:

•Blue #1 and #2 food coloring
•Green #3
•Orange B
•Red #3 and #40
•Yellow #5 and #6
•Sodium benzoate, a preservative
According to Health.com:
“Will eliminating dye-containing foods from a child’s diet help ADHD? Experts say there’s not enough evidence … Most studies of a possible link analyzed blends of additives, not single ingredients, making it difficult to find a culprit.”

Resources:
Yahoo Finance November 10, 2010
Health.com November 2010
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) November 12, 2010 / 59(44);1439-1443

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Lymphoma

Definition:
The most common type of lymphoma is called Hodgkin’s disease. All other lymphomas are grouped together and are called non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas...CLICK & SEE

The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune defense system. Its job is to help fight diseases and infection.

The lymphatic system includes a network of thin tubes that branch, like blood vessels, into tissues throughout the body. Lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a colorless watery fluid that contains infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. Along this network of vessels are groups of small, bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms, groin, neck, chest, and abdomen.

Other parts of the lymphatic system are the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow. Lymphatic tissue also is found in other parts of the body, including the stomach, intestines, and skin.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also called non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is cancer that originates in your lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout your body. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common than the other general type of lymphoma — Hodgkin’s disease.

Many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma exist. The most common non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma subtypes include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma.

Within normal lymph nodes there are microscopic clusters (follicles) of specialized lymphocytes. In some malignant lymphomas, the lymphocytes arrange themselves in a similar pattern that is called follicular or nodular. Small cell and follicular lymphomas typically have a chronic course with an average survival of 6 to 12 years. In the more aggressive lymphomas, the normal appearance of the lymph node is lost by diffuse involvement of tumor cells, which are usually moderate-sized or large.

Hodgkin’s disease, the most common lymphoma, has special characteristics that distinguish it from the others. Often it is identified by the presence of a unique cell, called the Reed-Sternberg cell, in lymphatic tissue that has been surgically removed for biopsy.

Hodgkin’s disease tends to follow a more predictable pattern of spread, and its spread is generally more limited than that of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. By contrast, the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are more likely to begin in extranodal sites (organs other than the lymph nodes, like the liver and bones).

There are about ten different types of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some types spread more quickly than others. The type is determined by how the cells look under a microscope (histology). The histologies are grouped together, based on how quickly they spread, into low-grade, intermediate-grade, or high-grade lymphomas.

Symptoms :
The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas is a painless swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck, underarm, or groin. Other symptoms may include fevers, night sweats, tiredness, weight loss, itching, and reddened patches on the skin. Sometimes there is nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may include:

*Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpit or groin
*Abdominal pain or swelling
*Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
*Fatigue
*Fever
*Night sweats
*Weight loss

As lymphomas progress, the body is less able to fight infection. These symptoms are not sure signs of cancer, however. They also may be caused by many common illnesses, such as the flu or other infections. But it is important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms lasts longer than 2 weeks.

Causes:
The cause of most lymphoma is unknown. Some occur in individuals taking drugs to suppress their immune system.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs when your body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell.
Normally, lymphocytes go through a predictable life cycle. Old lymphocytes die, and your body creates new ones to replace them. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, your lymphocytes don’t die, but continue to grow and divide. This oversupply of lymphocytes crowds into your lymph nodes, causing them to swell.

B cells and T cells

There are two types of lymphocytes, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually involves one or the other.

*B cells. B cells fight infection by producing antibodies that neutralize foreign invaders. Most non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma arises from B cells.

*T cells.
T cells are involved in killing foreign invaders directly. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs less often in T cells.
Whether your non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma arises from your B cells or T cells helps to determine your treatment options.

Risk factors:
In most cases, people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma don’t have any obvious risk factors, and many people who have risk factors for the disease never develop it. Some factors that may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

*Medications that suppress your immune system. If you’ve had an organ transplant, you’re more susceptible because immunosuppressive therapy has reduced your body’s ability to fight off new illnesses.

*Infection with certain viruses and bacteria
. Certain viral and bacterial infections appear to increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Viruses linked to increased non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk include HIV, hepatitis C virus and Epstein-Barr virus. Bacteria linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori.

*Chemicals.
Certain chemicals, such as those used to kill insects and weeds, may increase your risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. More research is needed to understand the possible link between pesticides and the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

*Older age.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can occur at any age, but the risk increases with age. It’s most common in people in their 60s or older.

Diagnosis:

Tests and procedures used to diagnose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

*Physical examination. Your doctor may conduct a physical exam to determine the size and condition of your lymph nodes and to find out whether your liver and spleen are enlarged.

*Blood and urine tests. Swollen lymph nodes are common and most often signal that your body is fighting an infection. Blood and urine tests may help rule out an infection or other disease.

*Imaging tests. An X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan of your chest, neck, abdomen and pelvis may detect the presence and size of tumors. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can help your doctor determine whether your brain and spinal cord are affected. Doctors also use positron emission tomography (PET) scanning to detect non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Imaging tests can help determine the stage of your lymphoma.

*Removing a sample of lymph node tissue for testing.
Your doctor may recommend a biopsy procedure to sample or remove a lymph node for testing. Analyzing lymph node tissue in a laboratory may reveal whether you have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, if so, which type.

*Looking for cancer cells in your bone marrow.
To find out whether the disease has spread, your doctor may request a biopsy of your bone marrow. This involves inserting a needle into your pelvic bone to obtain a sample of bone marrow.

Determining your type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
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Doctors classify non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma into many different types. Several methods for classifying types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma exist. Each method uses different combinations of factors, including:

*Whether your cancer involves B cells or T cells

*How the cells appear when examined using a microscope

*Specific genetic changes within the cancer cells

*Which antigens are present on the surface of the cancer cells

Doctors also assign a stage (I through IV) to the disease, based on the number of tumors and how widely the tumors have spread.

Treatment:
Treatment isn’t always necessary
If your lymphoma appears to be slow growing (indolent), a wait-and-see approach may be an option. Indolent lymphomas that don’t cause signs and symptoms may not require treatment for years.

Delaying treatment doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own. Your doctor will likely schedule regular checkups every few months to monitor your condition and ensure that your cancer isn’t advancing.

Treatment for lymphoma that causes signs and symptoms
If your non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is aggressive or causes signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend treatment.

Treatment planning takes into account the type of lymphoma, the stage of disease, whether it is likely to grow slowly or rapidly, and the general health and age of the patient. Common treatment options for several types are as follows:

Low Grade

Low-grade lymphomas include small lymphocytic, follicular small cleaved, and follicular mixed cell. For low-grade lymphomas, which usually grow very slowly and cause few symptoms, the doctor may wait until the disease shows signs of spreading before starting treatment.

Although low-grade lymphomas grow slowly and respond readily to chemotherapy, they almost invariably return and are generally regarded as incurable. The long-term outcome has not been favorably affected by the use of intermediate chemotherapy. Single agent or combination chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be required when the disease progresses or begins to cause symptoms.

Intermediate and High Grades
Intermediate grade includes follicular large cell, diffuse small cleaved, diffuse mixed cell, and diffuse large cell. The chance of recovery and choice of treatment depend on the stage of the cancer, age, and overall condition. Whatever the origin, the features that best predict the prognosis and guide decisions about therapy are the size, shape and pattern of the lymphocytes as seen microscopically.

Intermediate- and high-grade lymphomas are curable. Treatment for intermediate- or high-grade lymphomas usually involves chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy. In addition, surgery may be needed to remove a large tumor.

Combination chemotherapy is almost always necessary for successful treatment. Chemotherapy alone, or abbreviated chemotherapy and radiation, cure 70 to 80 percent of patients with limited   intermediate-grade lymphoma. Advanced  disease can be eradicated in about 50 percent of patients.

Hodgkin’s Disease
The usual treatment for most patients with early stage Hodgkin’s disease is high-energy radiation of the lymph nodes. Research has shown that radiation therapy to large areas at high doses (3,500 to 4,500 rads) is more effective in preventing relapse than radiation of the diseased nodes alone.

Combination chemotherapy also is effective in the treatment of early stage Hodgkin’s disease. In addition, chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for advanced (stages III and IV) Hodgkin’s disease and for patients who have relapsed after radiotherapy. Drugs and radiation are sometimes given together, mainly in treating patients with tumors in the chest or abdomen.

Coping and support:
A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. With time you’ll find ways to cope with the distress and uncertainty of cancer. Until then, you may find it helps to:

*Learn everything you want to know about your cancer
. Find out everything you need to know about your cancer in order to help you make treatment decisions. Ask your doctor for the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your treatment options and their side effects. Ask your doctor where you can go for more information. Good places to start include the National Cancer Institute and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

*Build a strong support system. Having a support system of close friends and family may help you cope. Though you may feel tempted to keep to yourself, be open with your loved ones. Friends will ask you if there’s anything they can do to help you. Think of requests ahead of time, such as preparing meals or just being there to talk.

*Connect with other cancer survivors.
Sometimes you’ll feel as if your friends and family can’t understand what you’re going through. In these cases, other cancer survivors can offer support and practical information. You may also find you develop deep and lasting bonds with people who are going through the same things you are. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Or go online to Internet message boards, such as those offered by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

*Set reasonable goals. Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But don’t choose goals you can’t possibly reach. You may not be able to work a 40-hour week, for example, but you may be able to work at least part time. In fact, many people find that continuing to work can be helpful.

*Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, plan ahead for when you may need to rest more or limit what you do.

*Stay active. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy or normally do. For the most part, if you feel well enough to do something, go ahead and do it. Stay involved as much as you can.

*Look for a connection to something beyond yourself.
Having a strong faith or a sense of something greater than yourself may help you cope with having cancer. It may also help you maintain a more positive attitude as you face the challenge of cancer.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/non-hodgkins-lymphoma/DS00350
http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/304/main.html#SymptomsofLymphoma

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Coeliac Disease

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What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease is a gut disorder which can strike at any age……..CLICK & SEE

Coeliac disease is caused by gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, and other similar proteins that are found in rye and barley.

In some people these proteins cause damage to the tiny projections – or villi – that line the small intestine.

Villi play a significant role in the digestion process.

However, when damaged they become inflamed.

This renders them unable to absorb food properly, and can lead to diarrhoea and malnutrition.

What are the symptoms?

In small children with Coeliac disease can cause chronic diarrhoea, distension of the abdomen and muscle wasting.

Infants with the disease are likely to be poor feeders, fail to put on weight in the normal way and fail to thrive.

Adults suffer from chronic diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, fatigue, breathlessness and anaemia.

Are there any complications?

What complications can occur?

Women with untreated gluten sensitivity can experience infertility, but this is restored when they stop eating gluten.

People with the disorder are also at heightened risk of the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.

More severe damage than usual, including narrowing of the intestine, and even the development of a special form of cancer can rarely occur.

These complications are very uncommon, especially if the condition is well treated.

Is it linked to any other condition?

People with a condition called dermatitis herpetiformis are almost gluten sensitive.

This condition causes an itchy, blistering skin eruption affecting the knees, elbows, buttocks and back.

How is Coeliac disease diagnosed?

A blood test can now help doctors to tell if somebody is likely to have the condition.

However, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to remove a small piece of tissue from the intestine for analysis in the laboratory.

How can it be controlled?

The only way to keep the symptoms under control is to eat a diet completely free of gluten and related proteins.

Once this is done, people with coeliac disease find that their symptoms quickly disappear and that they are able to lead an active and healthy life without any problems.

What foods are safe to eat?

Food that is completely free of gluten includes fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and milk.

Foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye should be avoided and replaced with rice and corn flour, for example.

These include bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, puddings and pies, which are all usually made with flour containing gluten.

Wheat flour is also widely used in many processed foods.

Click to learn more about Coeliac Diseases……..(1)..…..(2).….(3)…….(4)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Sources:BBC NEWS:6th.March.’03

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Autism

Alternative Names : Pervasive developmental disorder – autism
Definition :
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, although it is sometimes diagnosed much later. It affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.

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Common features of autism include impaired social interactions, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, problems processing information from the senses, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior…...click & see

The symptoms may vary from moderate to severe. Two related, milder conditions are Asperger syndrome and “pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified” (PDD-NOS).

Causes:
Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism.

Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other neurological problems are also more common in families with autism.

A number of other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. They involve digestive tract changes, diet, mercury poisoning, vaccine sensitivity, and the body’s inefficient use of vitamins and minerals.

The exact number of children with autism is not known. A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought, although it is unclear if this is due to an increasing rate of the illness or an increased ability to diagnose the illness.

Autism affects boys 3 to 4 times more often than girls. Family income, education, and lifestyle do not seem to affect the risk of autism.

Some parents have heard that the MMR vaccine that children receive may cause autism. This theory was based, in part, on two facts. First, the incidence of autism has increased steadily since around the same time the MMR vaccine was introduced. Second, children with the regressive form of autism (a type of autism that develops after a period of normal development) tend to start to show symptoms around the time the MMR vaccine is given. This is likely a coincidence due to the age of children at the time they receive this vaccine.

Several major studies have found NO connection between the vaccine and autism, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that there is no proven link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Some doctors attribute the increased incidence in autism to newer definitions of autism. The term “autism” now includes a wider spectrum of children. For example, a child who is diagnosed with high-functioning autism today may have been thought to simply be odd or strange 30 years ago.

Symptoms :
Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old and seek help by the time the child is 2. Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, and pretend play. In some, aggression — toward others or self — may be present.

Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.

People with autism may perform repeated body movements, show unusual attachments to objects or have unusual distress when routines are changed. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste. Such children, for example, will refuse to wear “itchy” clothes and become unduly distressed if forced because of the sensitivity of their skin. Some combination of the following areas may be affected in varying degrees.

Communication:
Lack of pointing to direct others’ attention to objects (occurs in the first 14 months of life)
Does not adjust gaze to look at objects that others are looking at
Cannot start or sustain a social conversation
Develops language slowly or not at all
Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials
Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says “you want water” when the child means “I want water”)
Uses nonsense rhyming
Communicates with gestures instead of words
Social interaction:

Shows a lack of empathy
Does not make friends
Is withdrawn
Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
May not respond to eye contact or smiles
May actually avoid eye contact
May treat others as if they are objects
Does not play interactive games
Response to sensory information:

Has heightened or low senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste
Seems to have a heightened or low response to pain
May withdraw from physical contact because it is overstimulating or overwhelming
Does not startle at loud noises
May find normal noises painful and hold hands over ears
Rubs surfaces, mouths or licks objects
Play:

Shows little pretend or imaginative play
Doesn’t imitate the actions of others
Prefers solitary or ritualistic play
Behaviors:

Has a short attention span
Uses repetitive body movements
Shows a strong need for sameness
“Acts up” with intense tantrums
Has very narrow interests
Demonstrates perseveration (gets stuck on a single topic or task)
Shows aggression to others or self
Is overactive or very passive
Exams and Tests Return to top

All children should have routine developmental exams by their pediatrician. Further testing may be needed if there is concern on the part of the clinician or the parents. This is particularly true whenever a child fails to meet any of the following language milestones:

Babbling by 12 months
Gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
Single words by 16 months
Two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months (not just echoing)
Loss of any language or social skills at any age.
These children might receive a hearing evaluation, a blood lead test, and a screening test for autism (such as the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) or the Autism Screening Questionnaire).

A health care provider experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of autism is usually necessary for the actual diagnosis. Because there is no biological test for autism, the diagnosis will often be based on very specific criteria laid out in a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV.

The other pervasive developmental disorders include:
Asperger syndrome (like autism, but with normal language development)
Rett syndrome (very different from autism, and only occurs in females)
Childhood disintegrative disorder (rare condition where a child acquires skills, then loses them by age 10)
Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), also called atypical autism.
An evaluation of autism will often include a complete physical and neurologic examination. It may also include a specific diagnostic screening tool, such as:
Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
Childhood Autism rating Scale (CARS)
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test-Stage 3

Children with known or suspected autism will often have genetic testing (looking for chromosome abnormalities) and perhaps metabolic testing.

Autism encompasses a broad spectrum of symptoms. Therefore, a single, brief evaluation cannot predict a child’s true abilities. Ideally, a team of different specialists will evaluate the child. They might evaluate speech, language, communication, thinking abilities, motor skills, success at school, and other factors.

Sometimes people are reluctant to have a child diagnosed because of concerns about labeling the child. However, failure to make a diagnosis can lead to failure to get the treatment and services the child needs.

Treatment
An early, intensive, appropriate treatment program will greatly improve the outlook for most young children with autism. Most programs will build on the interests of the child in a highly structured schedule of constructive activities. Visual aids are often helpful.

Treatment is most successful when geared toward the child’s particular needs. An experienced specialist or team should design the individualized program. A variety of effective therapies are available, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech-language therapy, medications, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Sensory integration and vision therapy are also common, but there is little research supporting their effectiveness. The best treatment plan may use a combination of techniques.

APPLIED BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS (ABA)
This program is for younger children with an autism spectrum disorder. It highly effective in many cases. ABA uses a one-on-one teaching approach that relies on reinforced practice of various skills. The goal is to get the child close to typical developmental functioning.

ABA programs are usually conducted within a child’s home, under the supervision of a behavioral psychologist. Unfortunately, these programs can be very expensive and have not been widely adopted by school systems. Parents often must seek funding and staffing from other sources, which can be hard to find in many communities.

TEACCH
Another program is called the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). TEACCH, developed as a statewide program in North Carolina, uses picture schedules and other visual cues. These help the child work independently and to organize and structure their environments. Though TEACCH tries to enhance a child’s adaptation and skills, there is also an acceptance of the deficits associated with autism spectrum disorders. In contrast to ABA programs, TEACCH programs do not anticipate that children will achieve typical developmental progress in response to the treatment.

MEDICINE
Medicines are often used to treat behavior or emotional problems that people with autism may have. These include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, attention problems, irritability, mood swings, outbursts, tantrums, aggression, extreme compulsions that the child finds it impossible to suppress, sleep difficulty, and anxiety. Currently, only risperidone is approved for treatment of children ages 5-16 with irritability and aggression associated with autism.

DIET
Some children with autism appear to respond to a gluten-free or a casein-free diet. Gluten is found in foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. Casein is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Not all experts agree that dietary changes will make a difference, and not all reports studying this method have shown positive results.

If considering these or other dietary changes, seek guidance from both a gastroenterologist (doctor who specializes in the digestive system) and a registered dietitian. You want to be sure that the child is still receiving adequate calories, nutrients, and a balanced diet.

OTHER APPROACHES
Beware that there are widely publicized treatments for autism that do not have scientific support, and reports of “miracle cures” that do not live up to expectations. If your child has autism, it may be helpful to talk with other parents of children with autism, talk with autism specialists, and follow the progress of research in this area, which is rapidly developing.

At one time, there was enormous excitement about using secretin infusions. Now, after many studies have been conducted in many laboratories, it’s possible that secretin is not effective after all, but research is ongoing.

Support Groups
For organizations that can provide additional information and help on autism, see autism resources.

Outlook (Prognosis)
Autism remains a challenging condition for individuals and their families, but the outlook today is much better than it was a generation ago. At that time, most people with autism were placed in institutions. Today, with appropriate therapy, many of the symptoms of autism can be improved, though most people will have some symptoms throughout their lives. Most people with autism are able to live with their families or in the community.

The outlook depends on the severity of the autism and the level of therapy the individual receives.

Possible Complications
Autism can be associated with other disorders that affect the brain, such as tuberous sclerosis, mental retardation, or fragile X syndrome. Some people with autism will develop seizures.

The stresses of dealing with autism can lead to social and emotional complications for family and caregivers, as well as the person with autism.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Parents usually suspect that there is a developmental problem long before a diagnosis is made. Call your health care provider with any concerns about autism or if you are concerned that your child is not developing normally.

Alternative medical help

Autistic Spectrum Disorder Natural Therapies

Autism Society Of America

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001526.htm