Many researchers have reported atypical brain connectivity in people with autism lying passively in a brain scanner. But those differences may be the result of what participants are thinking about, rather than of an underlying neural defect, according to a poster presented Sunday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: connectivity theory
Researchers have developed an index that can predict the age of developing interneurons, which inhibit signals in the brain, according to a study published 24 August in PLoS One. They then used this measurement to show that interneurons are immature in autism brains.
MET, a leading candidate gene for autism risk, influences the strength of connections between brain regions involved in social behaviors, and this effect is especially prominent in people with the disorder. The findings are from a large study using several imaging techniques, published 6 September in Neuron.
Abnormalities in the connections between language-related brain regions are similar in people with autism and those with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disorder characterized by benign tumors throughout the brain and body, according to a paper published 1 June in Cerebral Cortex.
Two new studies of the brain’s electrical activity bring the autism field one step closer to a physiological measure that can detect the disorder and predict who will go on to develop it.
FMRP, the protein missing in people with fragile X syndrome, localizes in clusters of proteins at neuronal junctions that relay sensory and motor information, according to a study published 23 April in The Journal of Comparative Neurology.
Neurons that activate signals in a brain region important for language and imitation are smaller in the brains of individuals with autism than in those of controls, according to a study published 31 March in Acta Neuropathology.
Three independent studies presented in May at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Toronto suggest that much of the brain in people with autism looks the same as that of controls. The results contradict the so-called connectivity theory of autism, which holds that the brains of people with the disorder have weak long-range functional connections compared with controls.
Knocking out an autism-linked gene called PTEN only in neural stem cells of the hippocampus, a brain region central to learning and memory, throws the development of new neurons off course in adult mice, according to research published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience.