Author: hoffmannpublish

Book writer and blogger, father of Luca, a smart autistic kid rock.

Neurodevelopment-Related Gene Deficiency

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Findings may lead to clues for possible treatments for autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia

Credit: CWRU

Lin Mei, the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases and chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

CLEVELAND—Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified that a gene critical to clearing up unnecessary proteins plays a role in brain development and contributes to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia.

The discovery, published today in Neuron (embargo lifts online Nov. 25 at 11 a.m.), provides important insight into the mechanism of both diseases—a possible step toward finding how to treat the disorders.

Cullin 3 is a core component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase responsible for the cell’s clearance of proteins. Mutations of its gene CUL3 have been associated with autism and schizophrenia. However, pathologic mechanisms of CUL3 deficiency have been unclear.

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“CUL3 is abundant in the brain, yet little is known of its function,” said Lin Mei, the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases and chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Here, we show that CUL3 is critical for brain development and communication between cells in the brain.”

Mei, also director of the Cleveland Brain Health Initiative, is the principal investigator with research assistants Zhaoqi Dong and Wenbing Chen. (The published research is titled “CUL3 deficiency causes social deficits and anxiety-like behaviors by impairing excitation-inhibition balance through the promotion of Cap-dependent translation.”)

ASD is a complicated condition that includes difficulty with communication and social interaction, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviors. It affects 1 in 59 children in the United States, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control. Schizophrenia affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. However, autism and schizophrenia remain among the most mysterious disorders.

Mei and his team studied how CUL3 mutation impacts the brain in mouse models. The researchers were able to demonstrate that altering the gene in mouse models can cause similar social problems that appear in people with these disorders.

Normal mice would spend more time with a mouse over an inanimate object, Mei said. But CUL3-mutant mice couldn’t differentiate between a mouse and an inanimate object, showing a problem with social preference.

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In another test, normal mice would spend more time with an unfamiliar mouse over a familiar one. But CUL3-mutant mice couldn’t remember seeing a familiar mouse, suggesting a problem of social memory. Also, CUL3-mutant mice were more anxious than normal mice.

Researchers at Beijing Normal University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center contributed to the research.

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country’s leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

Holiday dieting can backfire

It can be hard to resist a spread of decadent food over the holidays. But as much as you might prepare for gorging by dieting in advance, Natalia Groat, a registered dietitian at Harborview Medical Center, says that plan can backfire.

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Dieting causes your body to think it’s starving, so it slows down your metabolism to hold on to nutrients of whatever you do eat. That means you could end up gaining weight when you stop dieting.

The best way to eat guilt-free?  Groat advises mindfulness.  Eat the foods you like, just in smaller portions, and be conscious of how your body feels and what it needs. In between holiday meals and parties, adhere to your normal routine of what you eat that makes you feel good.

Black Hole Eats Star

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Join Melissa Hoffman of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for a tour of one of the most disruptive events in Universe.

What happens when a black hole has a star for dinner?

In this new video, Melissa Hoffman of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory takes us on a tour of one of the most disruptive events in Universe: a black hole ripping apart a nearby star.

Astronomers call these stellar deaths tidal disruption events, and only a few of them have been observed.

Using radio and infrared telescopes, including the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), in 2018 an international team of astronomers witnessed this event in a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299.

How humans make choices in groups and social media?

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina

A method with roots in AI uncovers how humans make choices in groups and social media

The choices we make in large group settings — such as in online forums and social media — might seem fairly automatic to us. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers have been working to understand what’s behind that seemingly intuitive process.

Now, new University of Washington research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the “mind of the group” and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.

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Using a mathematical framework with roots in artificial intelligence and robotics, UW researchers were able to uncover the process for how a person makes choices in groups. And, they also found they were able to predict a person’s choice more often than more traditional descriptive methods. The results were published Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Science Advances.

“Our results are particularly interesting in light of the increasing role of social media in dictating how humans behave as members of particular groups,” said senior author Rajesh Rao, the CJ and Elizabeth Hwang professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology.

“In online forums and social media groups, the combined actions of anonymous group members can influence your next action, and conversely, your own action can change the future behavior of the entire group,” Rao said.  

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The researchers wanted to find out what mechanisms are at play in settings like these.

In the paper, they explain that human behavior relies on predictions of future states of the environment — a best guess at what might happen — and the degree of uncertainty about that environment increases “drastically” in social settings. To predict what might happen when another human is involved, a person makes a model of the other’s mind, called a theory of mind, and then uses that model to simulate how one’s own actions will affect that other “mind.”

While this act functions well for one-on-one interactions, the ability to model individual minds in a large group is much harder. The new research suggests that humans create an average model of a “mind” representative of the group even when the identities of the others are not known.

To investigate the complexities that arise in group decision-making, the researchers focused on the “volunteer’s dilemma task,” wherein a few individuals endure some costs to benefit the whole group. Examples of the task include guarding duty, blood donation and stepping forward to stop an act of violence in a public place, they explain in the paper.

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To mimic this situation and study both behavioral and brain responses, the researchers put subjects in an MRI, one by one, and had them play a game. In the game, called a public goods game, the subject’s contribution to a communal pot of money influences others and determines what everyone in the group gets back. A subject can decide to contribute a dollar or decide to “free-ride” — that is, not contribute to get the reward in the hopes that others will contribute to the pot.

If the total contributions exceed a predetermined amount, everyone gets two dollars back. The subjects played dozens of rounds with others they never met. Unbeknownst to the subject, the others were actually simulated by a computer mimicking previous human players.

“We can almost get a glimpse into a human mind and analyze its underlying computational mechanism for making collective decisions,” said lead author Koosha Khalvati, a doctoral student in the Allen School. “When interacting with a large number of people, we found that humans try to predict future group interactions based on a model of an average group member’s intention. Importantly, they also know that their own actions can influence the group. For example, they are aware that even though they are anonymous to others, their selfish behavior would decrease collaboration in the group in future interactions and possibly bring undesired outcomes.”

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In their study, the researchers were able to assign mathematical variables to these actions and create their own computer models for predicting what decisions the person might make during play. They found that their model predicts human behavior significantly better than reinforcement learning models — that is, when a player learns to contribute based on how the previous round did or didn’t pay out regardless of other players — and more traditional descriptive approaches.

Given that the model provides a quantitative explanation for human behavior, Rao wondered if it may be useful when building machines that interact with humans.

“In scenarios where a machine or software is interacting with large groups of people, our results may hold some lessons for AI,” he said. “A machine that simulates the ‘mind of a group’ and simulates how its actions affect the group may lead to a more human-friendly AI whose behavior is better aligned with the values of humans.”

Co-authors include Seongmin A. Park, Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis and Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod, France; Saghar Mirbagheri, Department of Psychology, New York University; Remi Philippe, Mariateresa Sestito and Jean-Claude Dreher at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod.

This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation, and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

For more information, contact Rao at rao@cs.washington.edu.

4 tips to make the holidays more healthy and less stressful.

Don’t fall victim to the holiday hustle— Here’s advice to make the holidays more healthy and less stressful.

Francoise Adan, MD, ABIHM, Director, University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network, offers these tips for a healthy holiday season.

Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer

The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and quality time with family and friends. However, when trying to manage our families and navigate all of the festivities, this season is often a catalyst for a lot of stress and anxiety. Not to mention that many of us let go of the healthy habits we have been fostering all year.

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With the added emotional strain, skipping regular exercise and overloading on food and alcohol makes us even more susceptible to holiday blues. This year, instead of falling victim to the holiday hustle—set the tone you want for this season. Be the change you wish to see and influence those around you to do the same!

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  • Holiday Eating: This season it is not about feeling guilty or “derailing your diet.” Think portion control. Be intentional about eating healthy during non-holiday meals. Try eating a light healthy snack before going to holiday events. This way you will have more control when it is time for the main course, without depriving yourself of your holiday favorites. Moderation is key—but enjoy yourself!
  • Time Management: It’s hard not to feel pulled in too many directions this time of year. With all of the to-do lists and planning ahead, when do you find time to actually absorb the meaning of all of it? This year, be more selective with your priorities and let go of impossible expectations. Simplify holiday traditions and commitments and do not overschedule yourself. Talk to your family about which traditions are most important. Make a list of your holiday commitments and say no to any unnecessary stressors.
  • Holiday Shopping: Just thinking of holiday lines and chaos can elicit feelings of overwhelm. And even if you elect to shop online, it can still be worrisome trying to find the “perfect” gifts for our loved ones. One idea is to take the pressure off by simply asking what they want. However, that sort of takes the fun out of things. Gift cards are always safe, but when possible, giving personalized gifts is a nice touch. Chances are your friends and family are just as wound up during the holidays as you. Let them know you care about their well-being. Think about gifting them relaxation with a massage session or yoga class.
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  • Self-Care: Do not forget to manage your own well-being. Instead of resisting all that comes with the holidays, acknowledge that stress is a healthy reaction to things we perceive as threatening. This season, be intentional about managing your stress so that it does not become detrimental your health and holiday spirit. As you are thinking of making things perfect for everyone else, remember to take time for yourself. Set the tone for the New Year and stop putting off that me-time you always plan to schedule eventually. Take a deep breath—try meditation for the first time or buy yourself a massage when you purchase them for others.  Add at least one gift for yourself on that long list of things to do for everyone else.

 University Hospitals has a digital broadcast studio available for interviews.

About Dr. Adan

Holidays on the Spectrum

Photo by Nathan Anderson
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Overstimulation, demanding social events and disrupted schedules can wreak havoc on the holidays for people on the autism spectrum. This story provides tips for better managing the holidays.

For people on the autism spectrum, the festive trappings and traditions of the holiday season are potential pitfalls. Glaring lights, blaring music and bustling crowds can easily become stimulation overload, while changes in routine schedules can be disorienting.

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And then there are parties.

“Having to go to a social event and being ‘on’ is a breeding ground for a breakdown,” says Judy Bagley, who works with young people with autism and other special needs as director of the Student Office of Accessibility Resources at Furman University.

People with autism “process 100 percent of external stimuli, all the sounds and visual cues,” says Kelsey Davis, director of academic success at Furman. “It’s harder for them to remain focused or to be on point all the time to what’s socially acceptable.”

Roughly one in 58 people is on the autism spectrum, but there’s still a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding, thanks in part to caricatures in popular culture. Peers, extended family or new acquaintances might not recognize or understand when someone with autism responds to holiday stimuli or withdraws from social events. 

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” Bagley says.

Bagley and Davis spend a lot of time coaching and assisting students through rough spots. They offer these suggestions to help people with autism, their friends or family navigate the holidays.

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Start planning

  • Executive functions, like planning ahead, aren’t at the fore for someone with autism. “All those things we instinctively ask ourselves aren’t instinctive for someone on the spectrum,” Davis says.
  • If-then journals are helpful, especially for traveling. Davis helps students plan for uncertainties. If the plane is delayed, then ….; If the flight is cancelled, then …. If my ride home is late ….
  • Talk about changes in schedules and do practice runs to become familiar with change.
  • Make lists – things to travel with, things to do – and leave the lists somewhere conspicuous.
  • College students going home for the first time might be going home to more rules or unstructured time. Make plans for filling time.

Preparing for events

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  • People with autism should feel comfortable declining invitations, even if it’s shopping with Mom.
  • Discuss grooming and choose clothes that are comfortable and appropriate.
  • Find a safe space to escape overwhelming stimuli. Bathrooms make great retreats, Bagley says.
  • “You can close the door and no one will question why you were in the bathroom for half an hour,” she says.
  • Have an item to focus on, a phone or a book, if you get uncomfortable. “One student looked at maps during dinner,” Bagley says.
  • Script small talk, like comments about sports or current events, and discuss avoiding what’s not acceptable to say.

For the host

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  • Including people with autism in holiday parties “means so much to families,” Bagley says. It shows “that you want their loved one there and you’re willing to change things a little bit to make them feel welcome and comfortable.”
  • Have low-sensory options, let people opt in or out of activities and have a variety of foods.
  • Give low-stimulation bags as party favors with ear plugs or headphones, squishy toys and pre-approved snacks.
  • Be respectful if someone declines an invitation.

 The bottom line, Bagley says, is that when any event or holiday display is planned with accessibility in mind, “everyone wins.”

Handwriting Is Real Problem for Children with Autism

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Photo by Hannah Olinger

Handwriting skills are crucial for success in school, communication, and building children’s self-esteem.

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The first study to examine handwriting quality in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has uncovered a relationship between fine motor control and poor quality of handwriting in children with ASD, according to research published in the November 10, 2009, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study, conducted by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, compared handwriting samples, motor skills, and visuospatial abilities of children with ASD to typically developing children. The researchers found that overall, the handwriting of children with ASD was worse than typically developing children. Specifically, children with ASD had trouble with forming letters, however in other categories, such as size, alignment, and spacing, their handwriting was comparable to typically developing children. These findings build on previous studies examining motor skills and ASD conducted in 2009 by Kennedy Krieger researchers.

Parents of children with ASD are often the first ones to observe their child’s poor handwriting quality. This study identifies fine motor control as a root source of the problem and demonstrates that children with ASD may not experience difficulties across all domains, just forming letters. By identifying handwriting as a legitimate impairment, parents, teachers and therapists will now be able to pursue techniques that will improve children’s handwriting.

“The ability to keep up in classes and convey ideas through handwriting is fundamental to life,” said Christina Fuentes, lead study author and researcher at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “Knowing the causes of impairment allows us to strategically identify techniques that will help children with ASD improve their handwriting. Our study suggests that teaching children how to form letters, in combination with general training of fine motor control through techniques that include stabilizing the arm and the use of proper writing utensils, may be the best direction for improving handwriting performance.”

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About the studyResearchers administered a total of three tests to 14 children with ASD and 14 typically developing children. The handwriting samples were scored on legibility, form, alignment, size and spacing. The children’s motor skills were then assessed using the Revised Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle Sign (PANESS). The PANESS consisted of multiple categories such as gait tasks (heel walking), balance tasks (hopping on one foot) and timed movements (repetitive and patterned movements). Lastly, the children’s visuospatial skills were assessed using the Block Design test in which they were timed to reconstruct large designs by properly assembling a set of blocks.

With no significant difference between the typically developing children and children with ASD groups in age, perceptual reasoning IQ, and the Block Design scores, a significant difference was found for performance on the PANESS, with the typically developing children performing better. Researchers found children with ASD’s total handwriting scores were lower than typically developing children due to the quality of their letter formation. Researchers also found that motor ability, specifically for timed movements, was a strong predictor of handwriting performance in children with ASD as opposed to age, intelligence, and visuospatial abilities.

“Identifying this fine motor deficiency in handwriting provides important insight about ASD,” said Dr. Amy Bastian, corresponding study author and Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “It provides another example of motor skill problems that may give us cues for other deficits with socialization and communication. Furthermore, occupational therapists and teachers can now take the information from this study and apply it to the students they see on a daily basis.”

This study was sponsored by Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health.

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About AutismAutism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the nation’s fastest growing developmental disorder, with current incidence rates estimated at 1 in 100 children. This year more children will be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined, yet profound gaps remain in our understanding of both the causes and cures of the disorder. Continued research and education about developmental disruptions in individuals with ASD is crucial, as early detection and intervention can lead to improved outcomes in individuals with ASD.

About the Kennedy Krieger InstituteInternationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 13,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.

Five tips to reduce the chances of abduction

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Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi

The holidays are quickly approaching, and many people are gearing up for the holiday shopping craze. With the malls and grocery stores heavily congested, anyone can become a victim of abduction.

Stacy Moak, Ph.D., professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Social Work, says no one can be 100 percent safe from abduction. However, as a general rule, people need to be aware of their environment at all times.

Here are five best practices that can help reduce the chances of abduction:

  1. Always have your keys in-hand. Moak suggests getting your keys ready prior to leaving the inside of a building in case you need to quickly access the inside of your vehicle.
  2. Do not stand next to your vehicle in the dark fumbling through your bags. “You are vulnerable to the element of surprise in that situation,” Moak said. “Avoid going places alone after dark, especially if you are in a place that is not familiar to you.”
  3. Look inside your vehicle before you get in, especially when it has been parked in a parking terminal or lot. Moak says this is a great practice and encourages everyone to be aware of their surroundings when leaving a mall or grocery store.
  4. Teach your children danger signs. “As for parents of young children, it is impossible to be with your child every second of every day, but teaching them danger signs — like do not talk to adults you do not know in the park or on the playground — can make a big difference in helping to avoid abduction,” Moak said. “Teach your children to not accept candy or gifts from someone they do not know. These are all standard tips that we have heard over and over, but they still remain true today. If you are unable to supervise your child, make sure another adult is available or in reach of your child.” 
  5. Do not leave your children in public parks or playgrounds unattended. Moak says parents have so many responsibilities, mostly due to work schedules that do not always align with school schedules. That is when community support can be vital. “As a community, we need to support each other to make parenting easier,” Moak said. “We don’t seem to honor the ideal that it takes a village to raise a child. It is always easier to judge than to support, but that will not address the problem in our society.”

 Moak emphasizes that people should pay close attention to their surroundings when in public every day.

“Watch what is going on around you,” Moak said. “That’s the fastest way to ward off a potential criminal — by looking them in the eyes. Most would-be offenders will alter their course of action if they fear they can be identified by someone.”

Most importantly, being aware of what is happening around you — and not ignoring things that seem out of sorts — is a critical crime-prevention tool.

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center, as well as Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees, and has an annual economic impact exceeding $7 billion on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission include education, research, patient care, community service and economic development. UAB is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Learn more at www.uab.edu. UAB: Powered by will.

Families of youth with autism face big barriers to care, gaps in services

Case Western Reserve University researchers examine needs, services for youth with autism and their family caregivers

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Photo by Tim Graf

New research at Case Western Reserve University found big gaps in services and continued care for children with autism—and their families—as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The families need more support, including improved job training, access to services and transportation, according to research from the university’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Researchers surveyed 174 families from Northeast Ohio to examine the needs and barriers to services for youth with autism—from 16 to 30 years old—and their family caregivers.

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Examining the issues

Participants were recruited from  28 public and private agencies and organizations. The survey asked about services—both received and needed—as well as top concerns. Chief among them: limited access to information, reported by 51% of the respondents. Other issues include waiting lists or services not being available (44%), location (39%) and cost (37%).

Researchers also examined the quality of the services provided. They found that often families don’t know where to turn for service, or what services exist.

“The number one thing we heard from parents was that they weren’t aware of the services available to them,” said Karen Ishler, a senior research associate at the Mandel School and co-director of the project.  “How do you know what you don’t know? Who do they talk to?” 

David Biegel, the Henry L. Zucker Professor of Social Work Practice at the Mandel School and one of the project’s co-directors.  said there were some positives learned from the research, too. More than 60% said they “see eye-to-eye” with their spouse/partner regarding care, and more than 65% of the caregivers reported other positive aspects of care.

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“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the entire family,” said Biegel, “Many young people with ASD are at risk for reduced quality of life in adulthood. Additionally, families of adolescents and young adults with ASD face all kinds of stressors—especially during those critical transition years.”

Take, for example, finding a job. Children with autism are allowed to stay in public schools until age 22. When they finish, though, employment training and support dries up, according to the study.

“What happens when they age out? It’s a growing concern,” Ishler said. “We have to look at the service delivery, because we know there are many unmet needs.”

A growing concern

In 2018, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase in autism’s estimated prevalence in children, based on an analysis of 2014 medical and educational records of 8-year-old children nationally.

In 2004, one in 166 children nationally were diagnosed with autism; in 2018, that ratio was one in 59.

“A lot of these kids diagnosed at 4, 5 and 6 years old are now becoming young adults,” Biegel said. “It’s putting new pressures on them, and particularly their families, as they age out of school-based services.”

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One caregiver’s response about his or her daughter summed up the problem: “Don’t assume that just because she is highly intellectually functioning that she doesn’t need support and acceptance socially.”

Biegel and Ishler found that 82% of those with autism live with their parents into adulthood. “This confirms what we already know: families shoulder the burden of autism,” Biegel said. The study found that 28% family members had elevated anxiety and 35% had elevated symptoms of depression. 

“We tend to emphasize the people who aren’t doing well,” he said. “We knew there were going to be issues. But some  families are doing just fine—they’ve figured out how to navigate the system. However, here is also a significant number of families that have major concerns and needs. Our hope is that these results stimulates discussion and awareness.”

The study was funded by the International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICARE) through a Mt. Sinai Foundation catalytic grant.

Thanksgiving on tap: Best beverage pairings for a fantastic feast

Photo by Suzy Brooks

The Cornell Craft Beverage Institute offers scientific guidance to breweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries throughout New York.

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As preparations begin for the Thanksgiving holiday, experts from the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute offer beverage pairings for the food feast, as well as delicious drinks for cooking, watching football and even those sometimes-challenging conversations with family.

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Brewing expert Kaylyn Kirkpatrick supervises the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s Hops Analysis Lab and brewery pilot plant, scheduled to open in early 2020. She helps brewers across New York state test ingredient quality. Kirkpatrick offers beer pairings for the upcoming holiday.

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/kaylyn-kirkpatrick/Kirkpatrick says:

“While you’re cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the background, opt for a German Kristalweizen, a South German-style sparkling clear wheat beer. It’s similar to a hefeweizen but without the haze and palate fullness.

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“A gose, another German-style beer, would be great paired with smoked turkey and stuffing. This wheat beer has a lemon-like sour characteristic from the souring organism lactobacillus and is slightly salty from the water formulation.

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“A Belgian dark strong ale is an excellent pairing with pecan pie and other desserts, delivering a strong malt character with rich aromatic notes of dark fruit from extended aging and perfumey alcohol.”



Associate professor of enology Anna Katharine Mansfield works with New York state wineries and focuses on practical challenges facing small, local wineries. She also conducts research that aims to answer pressing questions facing the wine industry as a whole. Mansfield offers regional wine and spirit pairings for sipping during Thanksgiving.

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/anna-mansfield/“A Finger Lakes rosé of cabernet franc will go beautifully with the traditional turkey dinner.

“For post-prandial sipping, or for making warming cocktails, one of the several applejacks produced in the Hudson Valley would be a great choice. Applejack was one of the first American spirits, after all!



Christopher Gerling, an enologist and craft-beverage expert, is the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s expert who handles wine, cider and spirits. Recently he’s been spending his time working on fermentation formulations with New York state cideries. Gerling suggest cider pairings for holiday festivities. 

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/christopher-gerling/

“For watching football, parades, or unpleasant family conversations, New York state ciders made from culinary apples will fit the bill. Found in cans or 12 oz. bottles, these ciders come in a variety of sweetness levels and seasonal flavors and make for a great gluten-free match with appetizers.

“For pairing with a turkey dinner, ciders made from traditional cider apples can work with just about any food. Often found in 750 ml bottles (like wine), these ciders can stand up to sauces, casseroles and a variety of veggies. Classic high-tannin ciders are also exceptionally enjoyable with cheeses.

“For pumpkin and apple pie, a pommeau will make any special occasion memorable. Made with a combination of apple brandy and apple juice, pommeau can be easier to enjoy than brandy and is far rarer than port.”Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.