A surprising new study reveals a common molecular vulnerability in autism and fetal alcohol disorder. Both have social impairment symptoms and originate during brain development. The study found male offspring of rat mothers given alcohol during pregnancy have social impairment and altered levels of autism-related genes found in humans. But the damage was reversed with a thyroid hormone given to the mothers during pregnancy.
Smile and the world smiles with you -- but new research suggests that not all smiles are created equal. The research shows that people actually anticipate smiles that are genuine but not smiles that are merely polite. The differing responses may reflect the unique social value of genuine smiles.
Scientists have deciphered how a protein called Arc regulates the activity of neurons -- providing much-needed clues into the brain's ability to form long-lasting memories. These findings also offer newfound understanding as to what goes on at the molecular level when this process becomes disrupted.
Researchers have uncovered a mechanism that guides the exquisite wiring of neural circuits in a developing brain -- gaining unprecedented insight into the faulty circuits that may lead to brain disorders ranging from autism to mental retardation.
By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, neuroscientists have shown that they can block a compulsive behavior in mice -- a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome.
Cells from individuals with autism spectrum disorders showed significantly decreased metabolism of the amino acid L-tryptophan, new research shows. The article shows promise for understanding the mechanism of the pathogenesis, as well as developing an early ASDs screening test by measuring the metabolism of L-tryptophan using advanced Biolog Phenotype MicroArray cell scanning technology.
The pattern of brain responses to words in 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder predicted the youngsters' linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at ages 4 and 6, according to a new study. The findings are among the first to demonstrate that a brain marker can predict future abilities in children with autism.
Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. To accomplish this small daily miracle, the brain has developed a circuit that's rapid enough to detect the tiny lag that occurs between the moment the auditory information reaches one of our ears, and the moment it reaches the other. The mastermind of this circuit is the "Calyx of Held." Scientists have revealed the role that a certain protein plays in initiating the growth of these giant synapses.
Researchers have for the first time used a novel form of MRI to identify crucial developmental processes in the brain that are vulnerable to the effects of premature birth. This new study shows that disruption of these specific processes can have an impact on cognitive function.
In the first successful experiment with humans using a treatment known as sensory-motor or environmental enrichment, researchers documented marked improvement in young autistic boys when compared to boys treated with traditional behavioral therapies, according to new research
Human intelligence cannot be explained by the size of the brain's frontal lobes, say researchers. Research into the comparative size of the frontal lobes in humans and other species has determined that they are not -- as previously thought -- disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to the most accurate and conclusive study of this area of the brain. It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes cannot solely account for humans' superior cognitive abilities.
Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, and this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to a fundamental cause of the developmental disorder, according to a new study.
Medical researchers have manipulated human stem cells into producing types of brain cells known to play important roles in neurodevelopmental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism. The new model cell system allows neuroscientists to investigate normal brain development, as well as to identify specific disruptions in biological signals that may contribute to neuropsychiatric diseases.
The Early Start Denver Model, a comprehensive behavioral early intervention program that is appropriate for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as young as 12 months, has been found to reduce the need for ASD therapies and special education services through the school years following their early intervention compared to early intervention services typically available in the community.
Most infants respond to a game of peek-a-boo with smiles at the very least, and, for those who find the activity particularly entertaining, gales of laughter. For infants with autism spectrum disorders, however, the game can be distressing rather than pleasant, and they'll do their best to tune out all aspects of it -- and that includes the people playing with them.
Researchers have figured out how to measure an infant's risk of developing autism by looking for abnormalities in his/her placenta at birth, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment for the developmental disorder.
Scientists are showing that while not all of the current interventions used to improve language among Autistic children are effective, there is real hope for progress by using interventions based on understanding natural language development and the role of motor and "motor mirroring" behavior in toddlers.
A specific region of the brain is in play when children consider their identity and social status as they transition into adolescence -- that often-turbulent time of reaching puberty and entering middle school, says a psychologist.
Maternal use of valproate (a drug used for the treatment of epilepsy and other neuropsychological disorders) during pregnancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of autism in offspring, according to a new study. The authors caution that these findings must be balanced against the treatment benefits for women who require valproate for epilepsy control.
Scientists have identified patterns of epigenetic changes involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by studying genetically identical twins who differ in autism traits. The study is the largest of its kind and may shed light on the biological mechanism by which environmental influences regulate the activity of certain genes and in turn contribute to the development of ASD and related behavior traits.
Children and teens with autism spectrum disorder use screen-based media, such as television and video games, more often than their typically developing peers and are more likely to develop problematic video game habits, a researcher found.
Mutations found in individuals with autism block the action of molecules made by the brain that act on the same receptors that marijuana's active chemical acts on, according to new research. The findings implicate specific molecules, called endocannabinoids, in the development of some autism cases and point to potential treatment strategies.
When a child with autism copies the actions of an adult, he or she is likely to omit anything "silly" about what they've just seen. In contrast, typically developing children will go out of their way to repeat each and every element of the behavior even as they may realize that parts of it don't make any sense.
Children with autism have increased levels of genetic change in regions of the genome prone to DNA rearrangements, so called "hotspots," according to a new research discovery. The research has relevance in a vigorous ongoing debate in the research community about the degree of genetic versus environmental contributions to autism.
A broad spectrum of developmental and psychiatric disorders, ranging from autism and intellectual disability to schizophrenia, should be conceptualized as different manifestations of a common underlying denominator, "developmental brain dysfunction," rather than completely independent conditions with distinct causes, new research suggests.
Kennedy Krieger Institute has announced a new, pilot initiative to help identify the red flags of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in infant siblings of children with ASD as early as possible. Research studies have found that for families who have one child with ASD, the chance of a subsequent sibling developing the disorder is one in five. The goal of this new initiative is to put a national spotlight on children most at risk -- infant siblings -- and to bring support and awareness to those families already affected by the disorder.
Although scientific evidence suggests that vaccines do not cause autism, approximately one-third of parents continue to express concern that they do; nearly 1 in 10 parents refuse or delay vaccinations because they believe it is safer than following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) schedule. A primary concern is the number of vaccines administered, both on a single day and cumulatively over the first 2 years of life. Researchers concluded that there is no association between receiving “too many vaccines too soon” and autism.
A genetic pathway involving proteins in the endosomes of cells appears to be misregulated in the brains of children with autism, according to a newly published statistical analysis. Previously, the genes were shown to cause rare forms of the disease, but the new study suggests they have a wider role.
Men who have children at older ages are more likely to have grandchildren with autism compared to younger grandfathers, according to new research. This is the first time that research has shown that risk factors for autism may accumulate over generations.
An interdisciplinary team of mechanical engineers and autism experts have developed an adaptive robotic system and used it to demonstrate that humanoid robots can be powerful tools for enhancing the basic social learning skills of children with autism.
Infants at 7 months of age who go on to develop autism are slower to reorient their gaze and attention from one object to another when compared to 7-month-olds who do not develop autism, and this behavioral pattern is in part explained by atypical brain circuits.
Children who are later diagnosed with autism have subtle but measurable differences in attention as early as 7 months of age, finds a new study. Results indicate a precursor to “sticky attention” problems seen in children with autism.
Neuroscientists have discovered a brain anomaly that explains why some people diagnosed with autism cannot easily recognize faces -- a deficit linked to the impairments in social interactions considered to be the hallmark of the disorder.
Autism results from abnormal cell communication. Testing a new theory, researchers have used a newly discovered function of an old drug to restore cell communications in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the devastating disorder.
It is possible to tell who a person is thinking about by analyzing images of his or her brain. Our mental models of people produce unique patterns of brain activation, which can be detected using advanced imaging techniques according to a new study.
Study could reveals key predictors of speech gains. New findings reveal that 70 percent of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who have a history of severe language delay, achieved phrase or fluent speech by age eight.
Combining hospital MRIs with the mathematical tool known as network analysis, a group of researchers has mapped the three-dimensional global connections within the brains of seven adults who have genetic malformations that leave them without the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain.