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A piece of the puzzle: Eight autism-related mutations in one gene

Researchers discover a large number of clustered mutations in a single gene, TRIO, that disrupt the development of the brain's connections and likely contribute to the development of autism-spectrum disorders. The scientists also find that a sister gene linked to schizophrenia, KALRN, is inactive in early brain development, but becomes active in adolescence.

Cell model of the brain provides new knowledge on developmental disease

By reprogramming skin cells into nerve cells, researchers are creating cell models of the human brain. In a new study, the researchers describe how cells from patients with the severe developmental disease lissencephaly differ from healthy cells. The method can provide vital new knowledge on difficult-to-study congenital diseases.

Folic acid may mitigate autism risk from pesticides

Researchers have shown that mothers who take recommended amounts of folic acid around conception might reduce their children's pesticide-related autism risk.

Common cerebral white matter abnormalities found in children with autistic traits

White matter structural changes in children correspond to severity of autistic traits, a brain imaging study shows.

Contagious yawning more closely associated with perceptual sensitivity than empathy

Contrary to common belief that the yawning contagion is associated with empathy, it is in fact, more likely that perceptual sensitivity is to blame, research suggests.

Face value: Brain's ability to recognize faces is shaped through repeated exposure, study suggests

Scientists have long deemed the ability to recognize faces innate for people and other primates -- something our brains just know how to do immediately from birth. However, the findings of a new study cast doubt on this longstanding view.

New genetic risk factor for developing autism spectrum disorder identified

A new systematic analysis has been applied to a cohort of 2,300 families who have a single child affected with autism. The study focused on identifying and characterizing low-lying genetic mutations that may have been missed in previous research, given these mutations are only present in a fraction of the bulk DNA of an individual.

Yawning: Why is it so contagious and why should it matter?

Feeling tired? Even if we aren't tired, why do we yawn if someone else does? Experts have published research that suggests the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex -- an area of the brain responsible for motor function. Show More Summary

Using DNA to predict schizophrenia, autism

A single amino acid substitution in the protein CX3CR1 may act as predictor for schizophrenia and autism, a multi-institute collaboration demonstrates.

Neurodiversity and Autism in College

Another way to look at autism, neurodiversity, and how we face diversity as a society and as individuals

You may be as friendly as your genes

Scientists have found that CD38 and CD157 genes that regulate oxytocin, the supreme human social hormone, are associated with the sociality of young individuals. They found that young adults who have higher expression of the CD38 gene as well as differences in CD157 gene sequence are friendlier and more socially adept than others. Show More Summary

Gut microbes may talk to the brain through cortisol

Gut microbes have been in the news lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism. But just how do they communicate with the brain? Results from a new study suggest...Show More Summary

Novel stem cell-derived model created of inflammatory neurological disorder

An international team of scientists, has created a human stem cell-based model of a rare, but devastating, inherited neurological autoimmune condition called Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS). In doing so, the team was able to identify unusual and surprising underlying genetic mechanisms that drive AGS and test strategies to inhibit the condition using existing drugs.

Too near, or too far? What fruit flies teach us about personal space

Until now, little has been understood about the mechanisms that allow us to determine when someone is 'too near' our personal space or too far away. A biologist has found dopamine levels in fruit flies can give us clues into humans' need for personal space.

Tiny molecule has big effect on brain's ability to learn

Prenatal brain development is a crucial period, and as new research has found, even small alterations to the way brain cells develop can have significant effects later in life. Scientists have shed light on the role that small molecules called microRNAs play in early brain development. Show More Summary

MRI reveals striking brain differences in people with genetic autism

Researchers using MRI have identified structural abnormalities in the brains of people with one of the most common genetic causes of autism, according to a new study, the first major study of its kind.

High quality early intervention for children with autism quickly results in costs savings

The costs associated with the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), one evidence-based treatment for young children with autism, were fully offset after only two years following intervention due to reductions in children's use of other services, new research shows.

Autism may reflect excitation-inhibition imbalance in brain, study finds

Key features of autism reflect an imbalance in signaling from excitatory and inhibitory neurons in a portion of the forebrain, and that reversing the imbalance could alleviate some of its hallmark symptoms, explain researchers in a new article.

People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Adults with autism may overestimate the volatility of the world around them, finds a new study.

Autism severity detected with brain activity test

Children with autism have a tell-tale difference on brain tests compared with other children, researchers have found. Specifically, the researchers found that the lower a child's peak alpha frequency -- a number reflecting the frequency of certain brain waves -- the lower their non-verbal IQ was. This is the first study to highlight peak alpha frequency as a promising biomarker.

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