A five-minute brain scan can help diagnose developmental disorders including autism in young children, headlines blared last week. That may be true several years down the line, but I’d say it’s a pretty big exaggeration of the actual findings.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.
The protein missing in fragile X syndrome is necessary for the proper development of neural stem cells — self-renewing cells that can differentiate into more specialized types, including neurons — according to a paper published in the August issue of Human Molecular Genetics.
For nearly 20 years, Ralph Adolphs has been trying to figure out how the human amygdala works. An avid outdoorsman, Adolphs has run a dozen 50- and 100-mile races, and his colleagues say he approaches science with the same stamina and intensity. He has already published more than 100 scientific papers, several of them revealing intriguing ties between the amygdala and autism.
Researchers have devised a system to assign a unique identifier to each participant in an autism study. This Global Unique Identifier, or GUID, allows investigators to see which other studies participants have enrolled in, while maintaining participants’ privacy.
The amygdala, a brain region that regulates fear and anxiety, shows abnormal neuronal signaling in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, according to two studies published this summer. These are the first to explore cellular defects in the region in fragile X.
With robust training in developmental psychology and a techie’s fervor for new tools, Kevin Pelphrey is systematically investigating how the brain changes during development — starting in infants as young as 6 weeks old.
An imaging study widely interpreted as heralding a diagnostic brain scan for autism is more preliminary than popular media reports would indicate, according to experts familiar with the work.
Researchers have uncovered an important molecular piece of a learning mechanism that occurs at the junction between neurons. The findings, which may help understand how the brain is disrupted in disorders such as autism, appear in the 24 June issue of Neuron.