Antiepileptic Drug May Keep Synapses ‘Silent’ Longer So Brain Can Develop Normally, Penn Study Suggests Early-life seizures prematurely switch on key synapses in the brain that may contribute to further neurodevelopmental delay in children with autism and other intellectual disabilities, suggests a new study from researchers at Penn Medicine published online in Cell Reports. Importantly, the study shows that an existing targeted therapy may keep those synapses “silent” after seizures to allow the brain to develop normally during a critical time in a person’s life. “Silent” synapses become active with experience, and removal of the reservoir of these synapses due to seizures results in a decreased capacity to engage these synapses in later learning. Seizures from epilepsy earl...
A growing number of clinical trials are looking into whether compounds in marijuana can be used to treat some of the symptoms of autism. One of these clinical trials was just announced at the University of California, San Diego, and others are slated to take place in New York at Montefiore Medical Center and New York University, and in Israel at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. These trials were prompted, in part, by the success of other clinical trials investigating whether cannabis could effectively and safely treat other neurological disorders, including two rare forms of epilepsy and a condition called fragile X syndrome. [7 Ways Marijuana May Affect the Brain]
(Note: Up to 30% of children with Autism have epilepsy) Researchers led by those from Warwick University in the United Kingdom have developed a diagnosis test for autism that may predict it with an unprecedented level of accuracy. A new test may help physicians to diagnose autism in young children. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that impacts cognition, behavior, and social interaction.
About 1% of adults have Autism and autism is much more common in boys than in girls, with a male: female ratio of 4:1 Autism is a developmental disorder in which affected persons have problems with their emotions and behaviors, as well as delays in their social and communication skills. Most people with autism, appear normal, except that, they behave, act and react differently.
Scientists in Israel are conducting open clinical trials utilizing whole plant cannabis in search of an autism spectrum disorder treatment after stumbling upon a tremendous observation in an unrelated study. Bonni Goldstein M.D., resident Marijuana.com medical expert and published author, said the early evidence shows autism is a result of genetic mutations and a deficit in the endocannabinoid system. Goldstein noted, “one case report and numerous anecdotal reports [have revealed] that cannabinoids may help some children with this disorder have better communication, less repetitive behaviors, less anxiety, and better social interaction.”
Prenatal folic acid supplements were found to reduce the risk of autistic traits in children born to women who were taking antiepileptic drugs while pregnant, according to a study published online on December 26 in JAMA Neurology. The risk was less for these women compared with those who did not take folic acid supplements.
Adults with autism may overestimate the volatility of the world around them, finds a new UCL study published in Nature Neuroscience. The researchers found that adults with autism were less surprised by unexpected images in a simple learning task than adults without autism, and those who were the least surprised had the most pronounced symptoms. “We know from previous studies that people with autism often aren’t surprised by things that would surprise other people,” said lead author Dr Rebecca Lawson (UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging). “Our results suggest that this may be because of differences in how people with autism build expectations. Our expectations bias our behaviour in subtle ways, so being less susceptible to these effects may result in strengths...
A new study out in European Journal of Neuroscience could herald a new tool that helps physicians identify a sub-group of people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The test, which consists of measuring rapid eye movements, may indicate deficits in an area of the brain that plays an important role in emotional and social development. “These findings build upon a growing field of research that show that eye movement could serve as a window into a part of the brain that plays a role in a number of neurological and development disorders, such as Autism,” said John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester Medical Center Del Monte Neuroscience Institute and co-author of the study. ASD is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that can vary in severity from person to...
Oxytocin treatment has been proven efficient in improving the social behavior of some children with autism, studies have found. A new clinical trial investigates which children will respond best to this treatment and why. Autism is a developmental disability that often leads to struggles in communication, reduced empathy, and social inadaptability to a greater or lesser degree.
By analyzing the brains of mice, researchers have discovered how mutations in a gene called CHD8 may alter brain development and cognitive functioning to cause autism. Researchers from the United States and Canada found that CHD8 gene mutations altered gene expression in mice, impairing their cognitive functioning and increasing brain volume. Both of these characteristics are present in humans with autism who have CHD8 gene mutations.
Researchers are crowdsourcing mathematical whizzkids to help predict when a seizure might strike! When Dr Levin Kuhlmann (BSc(Hons) 2000) set about probing the mysteries of how and why epileptic seizures occur, he took a novel approach to advancing the cause. He organised an international crowdsourcing project. He and his Melbourne colleagues sought engineering talent rather than investors’ money, with the goal of writing computer algorithms capable of predicting epileptic seizures based on the electrical signals and activity recorded from patients’ brains.