Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience distinct physical changes – including a higher body mass index and advanced pubertal onset – that could heighten social stressors, according to research led by Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Carissa Cascio, Ph.D., recently received national news coverage for her work on affective touch and autism. The story, titled "'I will feel actual rage.’ Unusual responses to kind touches could help explain autism traits," was originally covered in Spectrum News and picked up by Science Magazine. The article discusses findings from her lab and others.
Michelle Failla, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, recently received a competitive Autism Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project on "Verbal and Nonverbal Responses to Physical Pain in ASD." Failla works with Carissa Cascio, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.
A new publication in press from the lab of Carissa Cascio, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, describes differences in interoceptive perceptual ability in individuals with autism as a function of age and cognitive ability. The article, "The development of interoceptive cognition in autism spectrum disorder and typical development," is now in press with the Journal of Cognitive Education & Psychology.
Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Director of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, was recently published in the December 2016 edition of the AMA Journal of Ethics. Her article, "Autism, Art, and Accessibility to Theater," discusses accessibility of the dramatic arts to those on the autism spectrum and uses an attributional model of stigma to explain potential differences in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward people with mental illness.
Two current studies by Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, and Kale Edmiston, Ph.D., a recent Vanderbilt Neuroscience graduate, highlight atypical physiological responses to social evaluative threat in adolescents with autism. In a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, male adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed differences in Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (a measure of the parasympathetic nervous system) indicating autonomic dysregulation.
Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, served as lead author on the paper "Changes in anxiety following a randomized control trial of a theatre-based intervention for youth with autism spectrum disorder," recently published ahead of print in the journal Autism. The randomized clinical trial reports that youth with autism spectrum disorder showed changes in anxiety following participation in a peer-mediated, theatre-based intervention.
Michelle Failla, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Carissa Cascio's lab, was one of two postdocs selected to present her research at the Postdoctoral Association & Shared Resources Symposium in late April. Failla used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a ‘communication independent’ tool to measure pain responses and found that individuals with ASD seem to register pain in a similar manner as individuals without ASD.