Among the many talks given this week at the Cell Symposia: Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Mechanisms to Therapies conference in Washington, D.C, a satellite meeting of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Paul Patterson’s was the only one to mention the word ‘epidemiology.’
In his talk, Patterson referred to several large, multi-decade studies showing that the prevalence of autism and schizophrenia rise dramatically following outbreaks of the flu and other viral infections. Patterson’s lab at the California Institute of Technology is trying to understand the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon using animal models. His team activates the immune system of pregnant mice and monkeys and records the changes in the fetus’ brain and behavior.
On Tuesday evening, Patterson talked to SFARI.org and explained the key molecular players involved in these complex interactions.
For more reports from the 2011 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, please click here.