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Autism (sometimes called “classical autism”) is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.
Scientists measure electrical activity of individual brain cells responsible for body recognition

Scientists measure electrical activity of individual brain cells responsible for body recognition

Specific regions of the brain are specialized in recognizing bodies of animals and human beings. By measuring the electrical activity per cell, scientists from KU Leuven, Belgium, and the University of Glasgow have shown that the individual brain cells in these areas do different things. Their response to specific contours or body shapes is very selective. [More]
Key gene changes reveal four previously unknown conditions within schizophrenia

Key gene changes reveal four previously unknown conditions within schizophrenia

Changes in key genes clearly define four previously unknown conditions within the umbrella diagnosis of schizophrenia, according to a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center published online April 28 in EBioMedicine, a Lancet journal. Cases associated with changes in each of the four genes were different from each other in terms of symptoms, intelligence level and other disease features. [More]
Exposure to SSRI during gestation increases chances of adolescent offspring depression

Exposure to SSRI during gestation increases chances of adolescent offspring depression

A study to be published in the May 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) reports that use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy can result in offspring depression by early adolescence. [More]
Maternal exposure to air pollution increases risk of long-term health problems in children

Maternal exposure to air pollution increases risk of long-term health problems in children

Even small amounts of air pollution appear to raise the risk of a condition in pregnant women linked to premature births and lifelong neurological and respiratory disorders in their children, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. [More]
Novel spoken-language intervention could benefit children, adolescents with developmental disabilities

Novel spoken-language intervention could benefit children, adolescents with developmental disabilities

Sean Sawicki, who has fragile X syndrome, can be hard to understand and doesn't always have the attention span to carry on a sustained conversation. But a novel intervention developed by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers seems to be making a difference. [More]
Experimental cancer drug Nutlin-3 shows promise in cancelling effects of fragile X syndrome

Experimental cancer drug Nutlin-3 shows promise in cancelling effects of fragile X syndrome

A University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who studies the most common genetic intellectual disability has used an experimental drug to reverse — in mice — damage from the mutation that causes the syndrome. [More]
Group of gamma-protocadherins linked with neurons help regulate growth of dendrites

Group of gamma-protocadherins linked with neurons help regulate growth of dendrites

When you think of a neuron, imagine a tree. A healthy brain cell indeed looks like a tree with a full canopy. There's a trunk, which is the cell's nucleus; there's a root system, embodied in a single axon; and there are the branches, called dendrites. [More]
Study reveals new function for CACNA1C gene in psychiatric diseases

Study reveals new function for CACNA1C gene in psychiatric diseases

A new study shows the death of newborn brain cells may be linked to a genetic risk factor for five major psychiatric diseases, and at the same time shows a compound currently being developed for use in humans may have therapeutic value for these diseases by preventing the cells from dying. [More]
New fruit fly model study reveals metabolic pathway that can be targeted to treat FXS patients

New fruit fly model study reveals metabolic pathway that can be targeted to treat FXS patients

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common genetically inherited cause of intellectual disability in humans. New research shows how the hormone insulin -- usually associated with diabetes -- is involved in the daily activity patterns and cognitive deficits in the fruitfly model of FXS, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published online this month in Molecular Psychiatry in advance of the print issue. [More]
Single season of contact sports can cause measurable brain changes

Single season of contact sports can cause measurable brain changes

Repeated impacts to the heads of high school football players cause measurable changes in their brains, even when no concussion occurs, according to research from UT Southwestern Medical Center's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. [More]
Same genetic changes responsible for gastrointestinal problems in children with autism

Same genetic changes responsible for gastrointestinal problems in children with autism

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found evidence in mice that, for some types of autism, gastrointestinal difficulties may originate from the same genetic changes that lead to the behavioral and social characteristics of the condition. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. [More]
Lab-grown mini-brains shed light on health crisis posed by Zika virus in fetal brains

Lab-grown mini-brains shed light on health crisis posed by Zika virus in fetal brains

Studying a new type of pinhead-size, lab-grown brain made with technology first suggested by three high school students, Johns Hopkins researchers have confirmed a key way in which Zika virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains: by infecting specialized stem cells that build its outer layer, the cortex. [More]
Long way to go in better understanding brain abnormalities linked with autism

Long way to go in better understanding brain abnormalities linked with autism

A recent review that examined all published studies on anatomical abnormalities in the brains of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder found substantial discrepancy throughout the literature regarding the reported presence and significance of neuroanatomical findings. [More]
Scientists uncover unique cellular defects linked with SLOS using novel stem-cell model

Scientists uncover unique cellular defects linked with SLOS using novel stem-cell model

Studies performed by a Sanford Research scientist using an innovative stem-cell model for a fatal developmental disorder is the focus of a recent study published in Nature Medicine. Kevin Francis, Ph.D. uncovered unique cellular defects associated with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) by modeling this disease using induced pluripotent stem cells. [More]
Scientists identify genetic variants that may influence wellbeing, depression and neuroticism

Scientists identify genetic variants that may influence wellbeing, depression and neuroticism

An international group of more than 190 scientists who analyzed the genomes of 298,420 individuals have found genetic variants that may influence our sense of wellbeing, depression and neuroticism. [More]
Scientists identify pSTS region in the brain responsible for recognizing human facial expressions

Scientists identify pSTS region in the brain responsible for recognizing human facial expressions

Researchers at The Ohio State University have pinpointed the area of the brain responsible for recognizing human facial expressions. [More]
Study shows Americans live longer, but in poor health

Study shows Americans live longer, but in poor health

Americans are living longer but in poorer health, according to a new study. The USC-led study examined life expectancy trends and disability rates in a 40-year period, from 1970 to 2010. The analysis of U.S. vital statistics found that the average total lifespan increased for men and women in those 40 years, but so did the proportion of time spent living with a disability. [More]
New classifier method may improve diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders

New classifier method may improve diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders

Many doctors and scientists think they could improve the diagnosis and understanding of autism spectrum disorders if they had reliable means to identify specific abnormalities in the brain. [More]
Coronary heart disease, cancer less likely among people with learning disabilities

Coronary heart disease, cancer less likely among people with learning disabilities

Coronary heart disease and cancer rates among people with learning disabilities are nearly a third lower than the general population, says new research. [More]
Telemedicine makes diagnosis and treatment more easy, cost-effective for ASD patient families

Telemedicine makes diagnosis and treatment more easy, cost-effective for ASD patient families

Telemedicine - connecting health care providers and patients via computer or smart phone for diagnosis and treatment -- has been making it easier, and more cost-effective, to "see" the doctor. Using a camera-enabled computer or smart phone, patients with common health concerns can get some diagnoses without leaving their homes. Emergency room doctors and nurses are able to communicate with their peers in larger trauma centers via computer, as well. [More]
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