Studying the well-characterized Williams syndrome could help researchers understand autism and discover new therapeutic targets, says Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Individuals with autism rely more on words than on facial expressions when interpreting social cues, and this may result from low activity in two brain regions, according to a paper published 22 June in PLoS One.
Men with a common autism-linked variant of CD38, a gene that regulates levels of the ‘trust hormone’ oxytocin, benefit more from the hormone than do those with other variants, according to a study published in the May issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.
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.
Age-related changes to the mirror neuron system — a pathway thought to be involved in empathy — are no different in individuals with autism compared with controls, according to a meta-analysis published 1 February in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. The results challenge previous reports that suggest deficits in the mirror neuron system diminish with age in individuals with autism.
A detailed brain imaging study of people with Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by a highly sociable personality, has found a series of structural, functional and connectivity deficits that converge on a part of the brain called the insula. The findings were published online 12 March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The brains of men and women with Asperger syndrome are more similar than are those of male and female controls, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology. The results lend support to the ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism, the researchers say.
Toddlers with autism do not anticipate emotional moments in videos of social scenes, unlike controls, according to a study published 27 December in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.