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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: brain imaging

November 2010

Wanted: Researchers interested in damaged brain regions

by  /  14 November 2010

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.


Cognition and behavior: Oxytocin improves sensitivity to social cues

by  /  11 November 2010

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.


Mutant mouse pins PSD-95 in Williams syndrome

by  /  2 November 2010

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.

October 2010

Speaking of genes

by  /  19 October 2010

The loss or delay of language is one of the most common — and most noticeable — features of autism.


Mother’s immune response alters brain structure

by  /  18 October 2010

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.

September 2010

Jokes crack open brain connectivity in autism

by  /  28 September 2010

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.


Cognition and behavior: Amygdala lesions don’t cause autism

by  /  27 September 2010

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.


Immature headlines

by  /  15 September 2010

A five-minute brain scan can help diagnose developmental disorders including autism in young children, headlines blared last week. That may be true several years down the line, but I’d say it’s a pretty big exaggeration of the actual findings.


Researchers debut unique identifiers for study participants

by  /  2 September 2010

Researchers have devised a system to assign a unique identifier to each participant in an autism study. This Global Unique Identifier, or GUID, allows investigators to see which other studies participants have enrolled in, while maintaining participants’ privacy.

August 2010

Kevin Pelphrey: Charting the course of the social brain

by  /  17 August 2010

With robust training in developmental psychology and a techie’s fervor for new tools, Kevin Pelphrey is systematically investigating how the brain changes during development — starting in infants as young as 6 weeks old.