April 11, 2016 3:00 pm Published by Francisco Monegro, Ph.D., M.D.
There is a hypothesis that the autistic disorder may result from an imbalance between excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory GABAergic pathways. Some studies have investigated the potential role of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) modulators such as valproate (Depakote), Acamprosate (Campral), and Arbaclofen (Brondine et.al 2016); Memantine (Namenda) and Minocycline (Minocin) (Kumar & Sharma, 2016).
Depakote is an anticonvulsant medication. Acamprosate (Campral) is a GABA analog indicated for maintenance of alcohol abstinence. Arbaclofen is a derivate of Baclofen, a skeletal muscle relaxant. Bumetanide (Burnex) is a chloride co-transporter NKCC1 antagonist diuretic which can reduce intracellular concentration of chloride in neurons. Dipeptide L-carnosine acts by reducing zinc and copper influx near GABA receptors. Riluzole (Rilutex) is used for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Kumar and Sharma (2016) have studied the role of Minocycline and Memantine to reduce maladaptive behaviors. Minocycline is a tetracycline indicated to treat inflammatory lesions. Memantine is used for the treatment of moderate to severe dementia. While the authors did not study its effect specifically in Autistic subjects, they were able to demonstrate that Minocycline and Memantine reduced locomotion, anxiety, brain oxidative and nitrosative stress, inflammation, calcium and blood brain barrier permeability when these symptoms were induced by Valproic acid.
All of the above medications are not yet approved by the FDA for treatment of autism, although they may have potential off label use for autistic individuals.
Francisco Monegro MD., PhD., currently serves as the residential Clinical Director of adult services programs at QSAC. He is also a consultant on autism for the PSCH clinic and the Shield Institute. Dr. Monegro received his MD/PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Santo Domingo/University of Kansas. In 1988, he received a diploma from the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists, Nashville, and from the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy, Dallas, TX.
April 6, 2016 10:00 am Published by Joseph Amodeo
New York, N.Y. – QSAC’s CFO of more than 20-years, Paul Naranjo, will retire in late September 2016. After an extensive search, Douglas “Doug” Axenfeld will assume the role of CFO after Mr. Naranjo’s retirement.
Over the last two decades, Mr. Naranjo has helped oversee the significant growth that QSAC has undergone throughout New York City and Long Island. When Paul joined the agency in the 1990s, it had an annual budget of a little over $389,000; today, QSAC’s annual budget is more than $70 million. In recognition for his years of service to the organization, and the autism community, Mr. Naranjo will be honored at QSAC’s annual gala on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan (additional details available online at www.qsac.com/gala).
Regarding Paul’s tenure, Gary Maffei, QSAC’s CEO said, “For 20-years, Paul has been an integral member of QSAC’s management team. He has served as a mentor to many of our employees, a friend, and has left an indelible mark on this organization. I know that Paul and his family will continue to be involved with QSAC. We wish him the very best in retirement and thank him for his many years of service. His work and tireless commitment have truly touched the lives of the families we support.”
Doug Axenfeld, an executive with more than two decades of finance experience, will join QSAC as its new CFO. In order to ensure a smooth transition, Mr. Axenfeld will join QSAC in April 2016 and will assume full responsibility for the role upon Paul’s retirement in late September. Mr. Axenfeld joins QSAC after his tenure at FEDCAP Rehabilitation Services where he served as Director of Financial Operations having previously served as Director of Financial Operations for nearly 10-years at YAI. Earlier in his career, Doug served as QSAC’s Controller. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics.
“Drawing on more than 20-years of experience in nonprofit finance, Doug poses significant knowledge regarding state and local funding agencies. We look forward to having Doug join us as our new CFO. We’re confident that he’ll provide the fiscal leadership needed as we continue to grow to meet the needs of the autism community,” said Gary Maffei.
QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services. QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills. Learn more about QSAC online at www.QSAC.com.
April 1, 2016 9:00 am Published by Kristen DuMoulin, Ph.D.
Tomorrow, April 2nd is the eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day.
This years theme is “Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”
Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity. As such, the United Nations has emphasized the need to mainstream disability in the Organization’s development agenda. Mainstreaming disability requires an integral approach in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that inequality is not perpetuated.
Disability and persons with disabilities are explicitly referenced in the following goals: 4) Quality Education; 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth; 10) Reduced Inequalities; 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities; and 17) Partnerships for the Goals.
QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.
Kristen DuMoulin, Ph.D., BCBA, SAS, has been a devoted professional to the field of special education and individuals with autism since 1995. She joined Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) in 2002 and is currently the Director of Children’s Clinical Services, where she is responsible for managing the clinical and administrative aspects of the Early Intervention (EI), Special Education Itinerant Teachers (SEIT), Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) as well as the CPSE and OPWDD evaluation programs. She is a permanently certified New York State Special Education Teacher and School Administrator.