In a study of high-functioning adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder, scientists using functional brain imaging have found reduced connectivity selectively affecting parts of the brain that form circuits supporting social behavior. The findings sharpen the focus of previous reports suggesting disruptions in connectivity across the brain in autism, and offer a target for future studies to search for the genes that shape the development of these circuits and how they become disrupted in the disorder.
Tag Archives | Autism
Compared with youth with other disabilities, young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face a disproportionately difficult time navigating work and educational opportunities after high school, finds a new study by Paul Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Included in this report is a video summary of the study results.
National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An experimental compound, called GRN-529, increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors, the researchers say. Included in this report are two video demonstrations of the study results.
Most cases of autism are not caused by a single genetic mutation. However, several disorders with autism-like symptoms, including the rare Fragile X syndrome, can be traced to a specific mutation. Several years ago, MIT neuroscientist Mark Bear discovered that this mutation leads to overproduction of proteins found in brain synapses — the connections between neurons that allow them to communicate with each other.
Potential clues to how autism miswires the brain are emerging from a study of a rare, purely genetic form of the disorders that affects fewer than 20 people worldwide. Using cutting-edge “disease-in a-dish” technology, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have grown patients’ skin cells into neurons to discover what goes wrong in the brain in Timothy Syndrome. Affected children often show symptoms of autism spectrum disorders along with a constellation of physical problems. Included in this report is a video summary of the study results.
Investigators in a population-based study in Denmark reporting today at the American Epilepsy Society’s 65th annual meeting have found there is an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder and childhood autism in children born of mothers who are exposed to the anticonvulsant valproate during pregnancy. The Lead investigator was Dr. Jakob Christensen of Aarhus University […]
Epilepsy is common in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A new study indicates their epilepsy is surprisingly photosensitive as well. Since photosensitive epilepsies can be triggered by flickering lights, the self-stimulatory behavior of ASD children, such as hand flapping in front of the face, has the potential to dramatically increase the risk of inducing photosensitive seizures.
Research presented today at the American Epilepsy Society’s 65th annual meeting suggests that systematic screening for developmental delay (DD) and autism should be routine for all children seen in epilepsy clinics. Investigators at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, evaluated the potential of giving screening questionnaires to parents of pediatric epilepsy patients seen in an epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and a ketogenic diet clinic.