Applying an emerging technique that combines genetic data and brain scans, researchers have identified two new genes involved in schizophrenia. The method, called ‘imaging genetics’, holds promise for linking genes to brain function in complex psychiatric disorders, including autism.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: brain imaging
The answer to a long-standing mystery in visual neuroscience may also help explain how people with autism perceive faces, according to a study published in March in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The characteristic inability of a person with autism to respond to emotions may stem from sustained arousal in the amygdala, the brain region needed to interpret emotions from facial expressions.
In the spring of 2002, as a new graduate student at the University of Washington, Raphael Bernier was charged with introducing his advisor, Geraldine Dawson, before her lecture to a room of about 40 people from the psychology department. To Dawson’s astonishment, Bernier sang his introduction to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey. “[It was] a pretty gutsy thing for a first-year student to do,” Dawson says.
A child’s language ability correlates with the volume of his or her amygdala ― the small, deep brain region that is strongly associated with emotion processing ― according to an unpublished five-year longitudinal study presented Wednesday afternoon at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
As many as one in every three people with autism develop a macrocephalus, or extremely enlarged head, at some point in their lives, an observation largely accepted as fact. But how or why this happens ― and whether it happens consistently enough to be useful in diagnosing autism ― remains contentious.
Imagine being confined for at least half an hour to a dark, claustrophobic tunnel, in a machine so obnoxiously loud that it sounds like you’re in an oil drum with a jackhammer pounding on the outside. Thatʼs whatʼs involved in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an experience enough to make even the bravest among us flinch.
Gray matter, that mysterious brain substance, is thought to control everything from motor function to mental acuity. In recent years several studies have suggested that an excess of gray matter during childhood is to blame for the symptoms of autism.