March 10, 2014 |
Peter Lanza, the father of the man who killed 20 children and six educators in an elementary school in Connecticut, wishes his son, Adam, had never been born because the massacre was an act that “couldn't get any more evil.” In a series of interviews with the magazine the New Yorker, Peter Lanza broke his silence on the 2012 rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that stunned the nation and resumed a debate about...
February 6, 2014 |
A generic blood pressure drug could prevent hyperactive brain cell firing associated with early stages of autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. Injecting pregnant mice with Bumetanide, a diuretic, appears to correct a developmental switch flipped during childbirth that reverses the firing characteristics of neurons in newborns, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Bumetanide mimics the effects of oxytocin, a hormone released during labor that helps protect newborns from the stresses and complications of birth, the study found.
December 3, 2013 |
Oxytocin, the "cuddle" hormone that makes mothers' milk flow, men faithful to their mates and even tough negotiators more trusting, also makes children with autism more attuned to social cues in others, a new study says. The study found that compared to autistic children who got a placebo nasal spray, autistic children who got a puff of oxytocin up the nose responded to pictures of people's faces with greater activation in their brains' "social circuits" and in the regions key to reward and motivation.
November 20, 2013 |
The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but for those with autism, the mouth will have to do. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center isolated neurons in the brain's amygdala that respond to facial expressions, and tested patients with autism against those without. Both groups could correctly identify a "happy" or "fearful" face, a function long associated with the amygdala. But when the researchers examined which neurons fired in relation to areas of the face, they found that those with autism "read" the information from the mouth area more than from the eyes and seemed to be lacking a population of nerve cells that respond only to images of eyes.
November 6, 2013 |
Children with autism spectrum disorders usually aren't diagnosed until they are at least 2 years old, but a new study finds that signs of the condition are apparent as early as two months after birth. Researchers focused on babies' ability to make eye contact with caregivers, since lack of eye contact is one of the hallmarks of autism. Among typical children, interest in the eyes increased steadily with age. But for children with autism, interest in the eyes waned starting between 2 and 6 months of age. By the time they reached their second birthdays, levels of eye fixation among children with autism were only half as high as levels seen in typically developing children, according to a report published Wednesday by the journal Nature.
August 9, 2013 |
Do women who are on the autism spectrum have brains that are more “masculine”? A team of researchers at Cambridge University's Autism Research Center has found striking similarities between the structural anomalies found in the brains of women with autism spectrum disorder and neurobiological characteristics known to be different between males and females in general. The results, published online Thursday in the review Brain , partially confirm aspects of an “extreme male brain” theory of autism put forth by Cambridge neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues.