Counting neurons in the brains of people with autism who died young might strike some people as grisly or tedious. But Eric Courchesne sees it is the key to understanding why people with autism experience rapid overgrowth of certain brain regions early in life.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: brain imaging
Siblings of children with autism who show no signs of the disorder may be compensating with increased activity in two brain regions that detect social cues, according to results presented yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
A Pittsburgh group has created a comprehensive database of brain scans and other medical and demographic data from nearly 800 individuals whose brains have been injured by strokes. The researchers showcased the collection, called the Western Pennsylvania Patient Registry, at a poster session yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Oxytocin may activate the mirror neuron system — a group of neurons that is active when people empathize with others — according to a paper published in the November Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Mice missing a large protein at the junction between neurons show motor impairments, anxiety and increased social behaviors, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The protein, postsynaptic density-95 or PSD-95, is part of a key molecular bridge connecting other proteins linked to autism.
Chemicals produced by their mother’s immune system in utero alter the size of several key brain regions in people with schizophrenia, enlarging chambers that store cerebrospinal fluids, and shrinking parts of the cortex involved in processing emotion and memory.
Telling jokes allows children to connect with others, refine their language skills and develop keen imaginations. Because these are precisely the skills lacking in people with autism, studying humor in children with the disorder may give insights into their abnormal brain circuitry and even lead to therapies, according to a review published in the Journal of Child Neurology.
Damage to the amygdala — a region of the brain that regulates emotional processing — does not cause autism, according to a study of two individuals with lesions in the region. The study, published in September in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, found that these individuals show no evidence of autism when given multiple diagnostic tests.