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.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.
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.
In the late 1990s, after Daniel Geschwind had established himself as an expert on the genetics of neurological diseases, a personal connection abruptly pulled him into autism research. Since then, he has participated in dozens of studies probing the genetic basis of autism and related neuro-developmental disorders.
The molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity ― the ability of neurons to change the strength of their connections ― can vary across different inhibitory neural circuits as much as they can vary across excitatory neural circuits, according to research presented this morning at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
Lithium treatment reverses some of the behavioral and brain-cell abnormalities in mouse models of fragile X syndrome ― an inherited form of mental retardation that includes learning deficits, aggressiveness, and social withdrawal ― according to research presented today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.