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.
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.”
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.
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 …
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.
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 …