Researchers are exploring the possibility that gastrointestinal bacteria may influence brain development and play a role in autism.
Infection with swine flu in early pregnancy causes inflammation in the placenta, and raises the risk of schizophrenia and autism in the offspring, according to a study published in January in Neuropharmacology.
At birth, children with autism have lower blood levels of a class of antibody produced in response to infection compared with healthy controls, according to a report published in December in Autism Research.
Scientists are changing their minds about the role of microglia, the brain’s strongest and most agile soldiers against damage and infection. In healthy brains, microglia help build and eliminate synapses, the junctions between neurons, according to a study published 2 November in PLoS Biology.
Pregnant mice injected with the immune protein interleukin-6 give birth to pups that are less social than normal, an effect that results from the over-activation of two pathways critical in neurodevelopment, researchers reported Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Scientists have pinpointed two major gene networks relevant to autism by analyzing gene expression in brain tissue from individuals with the disorder. Researchers presented the data Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Infection early in pregnancy is more harmful to the fetus than at later stages, triggering brain and behavioral changes in the offspring similar to those seen in people with schizophrenia, according to two mouse studies published in October. A third study suggests that exercise can mitigate some of these effects.
People with autism may belong to one of four distinct categories based on their medical history, according to a study published in the October Autism Research.