Recent studies suggest that older adults with ASD may have shorter life expectancies and more physical and mental health difficulties than the general population. A new, landmark longitudinal study of aging and autism hopes to better understand how differences in aging may impact the health outcomes of individuals with ASD.
Janet E. Lainhart honored with AACAP George Tarjan Award
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) has awarded Janet E. Lainhart, MD, a pediatrician, psychiatrist, professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Waisman Center investigator, the 2021 AACAP George Tarjan, MD, Award for Contributions in Developmental Disabilities.
The social brain: A beautiful mind
What images come to mind when you hear the phrase social brain? Do you think of children running around on a playground laughing together? Do you think of problem solving or imagine colorful brain scans? Do you think of autism? These are the questions that inspired a breadth of autism research that was recently evaluated by a team of Waisman scientists and compiled into a new literature review.
Connecting research and clinics to help those with autism
One of the goals of the study is to discover how genetic variations in young people with ASD are related to brain changes that lead to clinical symptoms of the disorder, such as impaired social interaction and repetitive behaviors.
“If you think about it, in between genes and clinical symptoms [of ASD] are changes in brain development,” says Lainhart. “Genes first impact brain development, and as a result of changes in how the brain develops, there are clinical manifestations of what we recognize as ASD.”
Janet Lainhart, PhD – Slide of the Week
The thalamus is a key sensorimotor relay area that is implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, it is unknown how the thalamus and white-matter structures that contain thalamo-cortical fiber connections (e.g., the internal capsule) develop from childhood into adulthood and whether this microstructure relates to basic motor challenges in ASD.
Janet E. Lainhart, MD
Title: Longitudinal changes in cortical thickness in autism and typical development Legend: Abnormal age-related cortical thickness trajectories in ASD. Coloured brain regions identify significant group differences in age-related cortical thickness changes. Each scan is represented …
Frayed nerve bundle may spur autism’s motor, social deficits
A new study by Waisman Center investigators Andy Alexander, PhD, professor of medical physics and psychiatry, Janet Lainhart, MD, professor of psychiatry and Brittany Travers, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology, indicates a nerve bundle at the base of the brain is structurally compromised in people with autism. The study was recently featured by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.
Autism may be linked to faulty prenatal brain growth in at least some kids, small study says
March 28, 2014 Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press A small study that examined brains from children who died found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children. The research bolsters evidence that something before birth might …