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Early Intervention Improves Long-Term Outcomes for Children with Autism

From ScienceDaily

Early Start Denver ModelEarly intervention for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder helps improve their intellectual ability and reduces autism symptoms years after originally getting treatment, a new study shows.

The study is the first in more than 20 years to look at long-term outcomes after early intensive autism intervention. The therapy began when children were 18 to 30 months of age and involved therapists and parents working with the toddlers in their homes for more than 15 hours each week for two years.

The study will appear in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is published early online.

“When you intervene early in a child’s life, you can make a big difference,” said lead author Annette Estes, director of the University of Washington Autism Center. “We hope this translates to a higher quality of life for people with autism spectrum disorder.”

The therapy, known as the Early Start Denver Model, or ESDM for short, was designed to promote social and communication skills and learning. The research team found that two years after completing the intervention, children maintained gains in overall intellectual ability and language and showed new areas of progress in reduced autism symptoms.

This type of intervention has been shown to help children with autism, but it hadn’t been shown to work with very young children over a longer timescale until now.

These results make the case for autism-specific, one-on-one intervention to begin as soon as autism symptoms emerge, which for many children is before 30 months of age, Estes said.

“This is really important,” she said. “This is the kind of evidence that is needed to support effective intervention policies for children with autism, whether it’s insurance coverage or state support for early autism intervention.”

The researchers studied two groups of young children with autism — the first received community intervention as usual for two years, which was a mix of what was available in the community such as speech therapy and developmental preschool.

The second group received ESDM, which addresses a comprehensive set of goals, is delivered one-on-one in the home, and incorporates parent coaching and parent-delivered intervention with the child. This approach is designed to enhance a child’s motivation and follows each child’s interests in playing with toys and engaging in fun activities, songs and basic daily routines.

After two years of intensive intervention, children in the ESDM group showed a significantly greater increase in IQ, adaptive functioning, communication and other measures than did the comparison group.

“These findings indicate that children who had received the ESDM earlier in their lives continued to progress well with significantly less treatment than the comparison children received,” said co-author Sally J. Rogers, a University of California, Davis professor of psychiatry and co-creator of the Early Start Denver Model intervention.

It was surprising to researchers that two years after the early intervention ended, children who received the one-on-one care saw their autism symptoms reduce further, while children who had participated in community intervention had no overall reduction.

This kind of treatment is important for the well-being of children with autism, but it’s also a good idea economically, Estes added.

“People who are better able to communicate, care for themselves and participate in the workforce at greater levels will need less financial support in their lives,” she said.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Washington. The original item was written by Michelle Ma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Related Online CEU Courses:

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-Based Screening and Assessment is a 3-hour online CEU course that identifies DSM-5 diagnostic changes in the ASD diagnostic criteria, summarizes the empirically-based screening and assessment methodology in ASD and describes a comprehensive developmental approach for assessing students with ASD.

Autism: The New Spectrum of Diagnostics, Treatment & Nutrition is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes DSM-5 diagnostic changes, assessment, intervention models, dietary modifications, nutrition considerations and other theoretical interventions.

Autism Movement Therapy is a 2-hour video continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches professionals how to combine movement and music with positive behavior support strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Autism

 

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New Hope for Alzheimer’s Treatment

From Science Alert

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function. Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back.
New Hope for Alzheimer's Treatment
Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.

If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.

Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.

As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.

You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.

Related ArticleScientists Encouraged by New Alzheimer’s Treatment

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Guide and Tips on Acute Hospitalization is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies for managing the everyday challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and includes tips on acute hospitalization.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is a 3-hour online CEU course that discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies.

Alzheimer’s: Unraveling the Mystery is a 3-hour online CEU course that describes the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, effective steps for prevention, strategies for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, and the search for new treatments.

These online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) and mark your answers on while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Alzheimer's

 

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Minnesota Psychologist License Renewal & CE Info

From the Minnesota Board of Psychology

Online CEUs for Minnesota Psychologists

Online CEUs for Minnesota Psychologists

Minnesota psychologists have a biennial license renewal deadline and are required to complete 40 CE credits for every renewal period.

The purpose of mandatory continuing education is to:
  • Promote the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Minnesota who receive services from licensed psychologists; and
  • Promote the professional competence of providers of these services. The continued development and maintenance of competence, including the ability to address competently the psychological needs of individuals from culturally diverse populations, are ongoing activities and are the ethical responsibilities of each licensee.
As a requirement for license renewal, each licensee shall have completed during the preceding renewal period a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education activities approved by the board. Any activity approved for continuing education credit by the American Psychological Association (APA) is automatically approved for continuing education credit without further application by the sponsor or licensee.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Minnesota-licensed psychologists may earn all 40 hours through online courses available @ https://www.pdresources.org/profession/index/1. Over 100 courses are available and may be earned in the comfort of your own home or office.
 
 

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Why Are Mentally Ill in Prison Instead of Treatment?

By Stephen A. Ragusea, PsyD, ABPP, from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips VII

Recently on one of my psychology listservs, one colleague posted the following:

“I witnessed an inmate in a county jail who was acutely psychotic and was kept in solitary confinement for almost two years, naked, lying in his/her own urine and feces. There was no heat in the cell, and the human wastes leaked into adjoining cells. Numerous official and professional persons were aware of this poor person’s plight and no one did anything (or at least anything that was within their ability and authority) to end the inmate’s suffering. Apparently, this is acceptable practice here in Florida, as all persons were found to be practicing appropriately.”

Ethics, Psychology and the Prison MessUnfortunately, the situation described above by one of our colleagues is not uncommon. In my many years of work in prisons I’ve observed similar scenarios many times. I too have seen naked prisoners lying in their own filth. I’ve seen prisons where an entire block of 40 men was on suicide watch. I’ve seen a prisoner who was elderly, demented and paranoid sent to prison repeatedly after being prosecuted for making “terroristic threats.” I’ve seen a psychotic bipolar prisoner tied to a metal chair and drenched with a fire hose to make him “behave.”

As has been true for more than two decades, the United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any other nation in the world. Most prisoners are under the age of 30 and approximately 15 percent are people who meet the DSM criteria for a mental illness. About half of that 15 percent are diagnosable as seriously mentally ill, suffering from problems like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

According to a 215-page report (ISBN: 1564322904) by Human Rights Watch, “One in six U.S. prisoners is mentally ill. Many of them suffer from serious illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. There are three times as many men and women with mental illness in U.S. prisons as in mental health hospitals.” One of the report’s authors, Jamie Felner, observed, “Prisons have become the nation’s primary mental health facilities.”

How did we get into this mess? Some of it started when politicians decided that they could get elected and stay elected by being “tough on crime.” They voted for mandatory minimum sentences, taking discretion away from the judiciary. And, although approximately half of these prisoners were convicted of non-violent, drug-related offenses, rather than voting for funding to pay for alcohol and drug treatment, our elected officials decided to spend our hard-earned tax dollars on building more prisons. The result of this national movement was that we currently incarcerate approximately 1 percent of our population. More than 2.5 million Americans now live behind bars. That’s the equivalent of every man, woman and child in the cities of Philadelphia, Columbus and Seattle.

A few years ago the Tallahassee Democrat reported, “Florida’s law enforcement and corrections systems are rapidly evolving into the state’s de facto mental health treatment providers. More often than not, our law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and parole officers are being forced to serve as the first responders and overseers of a system ill-equipped to deal with an underfunded treatment system that’s stretched beyond capacity.”

To a large degree, the tax money for building and operating prisons was stolen from our public mental health system. Part of John Kennedy’s vision for Camelot included a national system of well-funded community mental health centers that would serve the mentally ill in their own hometowns, thereby permitting the closing of a well-developed system of state mental hospitals that had provided inpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill.

Those of us old enough to remember the 1970s recall an era of widely available, well-funded mental health care provided through local Community Mental Health Centers. Oddly enough, the systematic under-funding and disempowering of our Mental Health Centers coincided with the increase in funding of the prison system to support the “Get Tough on Crime” movement that spread like a well-intentioned plague from sea to shining sea.

Psychologists should lead the battle for prison reform. I would argue that we have an ethical obligation to do so. Specifically, I reference the preamble of our ethical code, which states:

“Psychologists are committed to increasing scientific and professional knowledge of behavior and people’s understanding of themselves and others and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organizations and society. Psychologists respect and protect civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching and publication. They strive to help the public in developing informed judgments and choices concerning human behavior.”

As doctors of behavior, academic psychologists should be researching new solutions to our social problem of crime and punishment. Clinical psychologists who work in the system should be developing and implementing alternative treatment models for the imprisoned mentally ill. And all psychologists should be demanding government action to correct this inhumane, ill-conceived, foolishness. Can you imagine a hundred thousand psychologists remaining passively silent as 275,000 mentally ill Americans are mistreated? We are. Can you imagine psychologists saying nothing as prisons are turned into “the nation’s primary mental health facilities?” We have.

If you think these issues are important, say so to the leadership of your state and national psychological associations. Talk to your elected representatives. Contribute your time and energy to make things change. We can do better. It is our ethical responsibility to do better.

For more information, please read The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey

Ethics and Risk Management: Expert Tips VII is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that addresses a variety of ethics and risk management topics in psychotherapy practice in the form of 22 archived articles from The National Psychologist and is intended for psychotherapists of all specialties.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

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How to Become More Resilient

By 

Bouncing Back: Resilience Can Be LearnedWe’ve all had the experience of a dark moment in our lives. Times where the sun didn’t shine, the rain fell in sheets along with our tears, and we wondered how we could possibly bounce back from it all. Yet, we do bounce back and move on — some of us more easily than others.

Good news! You can learn to be more resilient.

I was invited to a fundraiser for women in mental health last month. The speaker was a well-respected psychiatrist of 20 years and associate chief of psychiatry for our local mental health facility. She gave a moving talk on resilience, highlighting all of the scientific research behind it, and I did an inner happy dance for the confirmation it gave me that I have been on the right track for the last few years as I spoke about resilience. Dr. Alison Freeland covered three of my four essential components to strengthening our bounce-back muscles (my fourth being rooted in greater purpose or spirituality), but most importantly she suggested that indeed resilience can be nurtured and enhanced.

Why is resilience so important to me — a woman on a crusade to empower others into self-care? Because resilience is a state of being at choice, and being at choice means you have the power to direct your life as you see fit. Any time a woman is in the perspective of being a victim of her circumstances and is paralyzed by a diagnosis, or a toxic relationship or a dead end job, she is essentially giving up her power. By increasing our resilience, we can all become stronger to make the difficult choices and orchestrate the lives we want and love.

Practice these daily and watch your resilience blossom:

Mindfulness
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword to be bounced around, there’s actually a large body of science that supports its benefits. Mindfulness also doesn’t necessarily mean you need to incorporate a daily morning and evening hour-long meditation into your already over-scheduled life. Small things like taking a deep breath every time you swipe your smart phone to unlock it, or taking a moment to feel the water temperature and soap texture or smell the scent of the soap as you wash your hands, those are mindfulness moments. Being in the present moment is a mental workout so get in a good three sets of 10 reps throughout the day. And by all means, learn to meditate if you can fit that in too.

Healthy Body Habits
According to the World Health Organization a healthy dose of exercise is considered 150 minutes weekly of moderate intensity, which is slightly elevated heart rate that also makes you a bit short of breath. This is really not a lot of walking, running, biking or dancing. (Note this is not the amount of exercise required for weight loss. We’d do ourselves a huge favor to separate exercise for health and exercise for weight loss in our minds.) As for nutrition, in my opinion, if you are focused on getting the fiber intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine (Women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need 38 grams per day) you would be hard pressed to be short on any other macro or micro nutrient required for health, and you’d probably crowd out all the junk food from your diet as well.

Reach-out to Your Community
Community support is what human beings thrive on. We are meant to live in tribes, families, and groups with common interest. When we are in our states of despair we often isolate ourselves, which in turn just makes matters worse. Find a trusted few you feel comfortable being vulnerable with and have them be your allies in times of need. Quiet the voice in your head that shames you for needing help, and reach-out.

Do for Others
The quickest way out of a funk is to realize that someone somewhere has it worse than you. Something as simple as writing a note to a person in need, or as complex as volunteering or starting a non-profit, can empower us all. For some people, but not all, this greater purpose and fulfillment is also found in a spiritual practice and a sense of unity with humanity on an energetic or vibrational level. It is important thought that when you are doing for others that it’s from a place of genuine love and caring and not from a place of guilt or obligation. Resentment doesn’t build resilience, but feeling fulfilled and having a sense of purpose does.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tammy-plunkett/bouncing-back-resilience-can-be-learned_b_7342158.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides you with an excellent understanding of exactly what mindfulness is, why it works, and how to use it.

Building Resilience in your Young Client is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.

These online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) to mark your answers on it while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

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