Friday, May 19, 2017

Could Autism Be Linked to a Grandmothers’ Smoking?

Some studies have found that there could be a higher likelihood of autism spectrum disorder or ASD with children who had maternal grandmothers that smoked while they were pregnant.

For girls, whose grandmothers may have smoked while pregnant, there could be a 67% higher chance of showing autistic traits and both girls and boys were up to 53% more likely to be diagnosed with ASD traits.

In terms of mechanisms, there are two broad possibilities. There is DNA damage that is transmitted to the grandchildren or there is some adaptive response to the smoking that leaves the grandchild more vulnerable to ASD,’ said Professor Marcus Pembrey at University College London, and one of the study authors. ‘More specifically, we know smoking can damage the DNA of mitochondria - the numerous “power-packs” contained in every cell, and mitochondria are only transmitted to the next generation via the mother's egg.’

The researchers at the University of Bristol utilized data which they collected from the Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, ALSPAC. The study followed up to 14,500 individuals that were born in the 90s. They studied and assessed the grandchildren of paternal and maternal grandmothers that smoked during their pregnancies and checked for ASD or four documented autistic traits.

Of the 14,500 participants, almost 7,000 were found to have autistic traits present. They found that girls were 67% more likely to show at least one of two autistic traits, which includes poor social interaction and repetitive behavior if their maternal grandmother smoked cigarettes.

The results of the study suggest that cigarette smoke could adversely affect the developing eggs of females in the womb, then eventually affect the development of the children born from those eggs, either through epigenetic or mitochondrial DNA damage. Professor Peter Hajek of the Queen Mary University of London said the study suggested ‘an interesting epigenetic effect’ but said that more data on children diagnosed with ASD would be useful to rule out a ‘chance finding.’

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#GFCF Chicken Zoodle Soup

An excellent and simple recipe I found online.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 (14.5 ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 3/4 pound cooked chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch dried thyme (optional)
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 zucchini squash, cut into 'noodles' using a spiral slicer or vegetable peeler
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, and garlic in hot oil until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour chicken broth into the pot; add carrots, chicken, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer mixture until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Divide zucchini 'noodles' between six soup bowls; ladle broth mixture over the 'noodles.'

Friday, May 12, 2017

Could Running Help Autistic Children?

They say that there is a sport out there to suit everyone. Well, running could potentially be the perfect sport for children with autism.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when it is much easier for children to reach for a tablet, phone or remote than their running shoes. Gone are the days where our kids left in the morning to return, bloody, battered and exhausted from a day spent entertaining themselves outdoors.

For many children on the autism spectrum, learning how to interact and take part in traditionally based team sports can be a daunting and often impossible task. This makes the team based sports increasingly difficult, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a sport out there.

Running. Running could be the solution for many children affected by autism. One group has been helping children on the autism spectrum train, compete and complete a five-mile running race. Since 2012, Achilles International has been providing a physical development program directed towards people with disabilities. Their training program helps children with autism to train for three months, then compete in a mainstream five-mile race. Running and physical activities are not only great for your physical health, but they’re also great for your mental health.

Running has proven to be a fantastic way for children with autism to escape from the pressures of dealing with other people, focusing on tasks and the stress of everyday life. Running provides an avenue of escape, allowing children and young adults to relax and simply focus on reaching their next goal.

Achilles International believe that running and physical exercise can help transform the behavior and lifestyle of children with disabilities across a wide spectrum. Running has shown to improve focus, decreased aggression and disruptiveness, improved peer-to-peer interaction and less repetitive behavior.

If you have been looking for a sport for your child, then running could be just the solution you’ve been searching for!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Autism Is Growing in Awareness Around the World Thanks to TV

Popular TV shows like Sesame Street and the new Power Rangers movie embrace Autism and help to dispel popular myths and misinformation

It is always enlightening to see TV and movies embracing a stereotype and helping to dispel myths and misinformation instead of adding to the problem. The children’s television show, Sesame Street, and the new Power Rangers movie are two of the latest to embrace this new trend.

On a typical sunny and happy day on Sesame Street, Abby Cadabby asks her new neighbor Julia if she would like to come outside and play a game. Julia doesn’t respond. Instead, she keeps swinging and eventually moves off to the grassy area and plays with her stuffed bunny toy, Fluffster. This obviously leaves Abby confused, and she heads over to ask Elmo why Julia doesn’t like her and doesn’t want to play with her.

“Julia sometimes does things differently because Julia has autism,” Elmo explains. “Abby can ask Julia to play again. Abby could use fewer words and wait a little bit. That usually works for Elmo.” Within a few minutes, the three Muppets are all playing a game of I Spy together, that Julia quickly wins.

“Sesame Street” producers have said they created Julia to help explain autism spectrum disorder to millions of viewers and present accurate portrayals of the condition on screen, countering decades of what critics have said are stereotypical depictions of autistic people. Many households nationwide with autistic family members are hoping Julia, along with an autistic Power Ranger revealed in a new movie earlier this month, will change the way next generations of children view autism.

It is encouraging to see someone on the Autism spectrum being portrayed positively to other children, helping to remove years of negative images. It helps to show autistic children that they aren’t alone, they don’t have to go it alone, and that there are children who understand. It also helps children that interact with other children affected by autism to see that although they may be a little different, there is absolutely nothing which can’t be overcome with just a little understanding and patience.
Julia won’t appear on “Sesame Street” until April 10, but in preview clips, she speaks in fragmented sentences, usually only when prompted. She doesn’t always greet other characters or answer their questions. She also flaps her hands when she’s excited and is extra sensitive to loud noises – traits common in some people with autism. Still, she happily sings along to the show’s theme song and plays peek-a-boo with Elmo.