ACMES conference on “Biomedical Advances of Autism in 2011”

ACMES reporter

“Biomedical Advances of Autism in 2011”Conference was held August 21st 2011 the past Sunday at Mclean Hospital, Belmont, MA, hosted by American Chinese Medical Exchange Society (ACMES, ). Total about 80 medical professionals and parents attended. The theme is on diagnostics and biomedical advances in Autism. The goals of this conference are two folded: to celebrate the Autism Special Issue published in NAJ Med Sci July 2011( North American Journal of Medicine & Science ( or ) , and to have Autism experts and contributing authors to share most recent advances and dialogue with interested audience.

The conference speakers are from different but related to ASD, including Autism book authors, researchers, speech therapists, clinicians, geneticist, professors, and industrial leaders.

Dr. Shaw is board certified in clinical chemistry and toxicology by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. He is the author of Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD, originally published in 1998 and Autism: beyond the Basics, published in 2009. His talk is about “Laboratory testing used in the Autism Spectrum Disorders”. He described 72 organic acids, including amino acid and kreb fatty acid, immune globins’ profile, toxins markers, infectious antibodies, heavy metal and zinc/copper ratio, and cholesterol profile. He is a founder of Great Plain Lab. It specializes in Autism Spectral Disorder Diagnostics products and services.

Dr. Bailin Wu, PhD, Director of Genetic lab, Children Hospital of Boston, Assistant Professor of Harvard Medical School. He presented “Genetic Advance in Autism”. He and his collaborators use genetic/genomic markers to characterize ASD genetic markers. It would not be as easy tasks, as Dr. Wu stated he took global initiatives and lead a collaborative effort between his lab at Harvard and his collaborators in Fudan University at Shanghai. The goal is to define about 300 CNVs through whole genome approach for ASD diagnostics. The 300 CNVs would be feasible by Microarray. Microarray has recognized as first line for genetics diagnostic tool.

Dr. Maria Mody is a developmental neuroscientist at the MGH Athinoula A Martinos Center of Biomedical Imaging and an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. She uses a combination of functional MRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate a variety of cognitive processes, including language, attention and executive function in children with dyslexia and autism as well as in typical development. She is a reviewer for several journals and her work has been presented both nationally and internationally. She spoke about her research on visuospatially-mediated language processing and the under connectivity hypothesis in high-functioning autism.

Dr. Yougen Zhan, MD, PhD. Is a post-doctoral neurobiologist in the Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women's Hospital. His research interest is neurodevelopment and disease mechanisms. He presented his view on how Synaptic Dysfunction implicated in Autism, and how multiple genetic proteins interacted at synapse.

Karen Chenansky, MS, CCC-SLP. Boston University, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Science. Ms Chenausky has been a speech scientist since 1994. By inputting her clinical and teaching skill together, she is currently writing her Ph.D. dissertation in speech pathology at Boston University on the acoustics of pre-speech babbling in autistic and typical children. She presented “Effective Treatment of Auditory Hypersensitivity in Autism”

Dr. Stone is the Director of Neuropsychology Training and Clinical Services, MMHC; Director of Neuropsychology Fellowship Program at MMHC and BIDMC; and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, staff clinical psychologist of department of psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His presentation on “Overlap in Schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorders”. Dr. Stone gave details on how those two disorders share similarity and differences at cognitive, clinical and biological level, how those similarities and differences affect interventions that will alter or prevent the trajectory to Autism and Schizophrenia.

Dr. Michelle Hartley-McAndrew, MD is the medical director of the Children’s Guild Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. She also is a Clinical Assistant professor of Child Neurology at the University at Buffalo. She gave A Review of the Neurolobiological Basis of Autism. Those Nuerobiogical basese includes disorder in local intra-cortical connections, cortico-cortical connections and cortico-subcortical connections, genetic synaptic dysfunction, disorder of aberrant neural connectivity, deficit in cortical inhibition, mitochodrial disorde. She explores the relationship between elipesy and autism.

Dr. Jing Liu, MD, PhD, Lis Ac from Mass General Hospital and Marino Center for Progressive Health. Dr. Liu presented “Advances in Alternative Treatment of Autism”. He examined inflammation, nutrient, and acupuncture approach to treat ASD.

Xuejun (June )Kong, MD, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Instructor, Harvard Medical School, also the founder and chief editor of NAJMS and president of ACMES. She presented “Prospect of Stem Cell Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders” The stem cell approach for autism has sound rationale including using stem cell target two major pathological etiological factors, brain hypo perfusion and immune dysfunctions. Dr. Kong also stated there are technological barriers to overcome before reaching to the clinical success and benefit thousands of affected individuals.

The conference was wrapped with good feedback, and many look forward to more to come, every attendee received complimentary copies of newly published color print of 80 page special autism issue of NAJMS, the publisher is calling the next autism issue next April. The conference was moderated by Drs. June Kong and Shirley Shi. (Shirley Shi, PhD, RPh)