Tag Archives: autism

BPA can induce multigenerational effects on ability to communicate

Findings could shed light on human health concerns and autism

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Past studies have shown that biparental care of offspring can be affected negatively when females and males are exposed to bisphenol A (BPA); however, previous studies have not characterized how long-term effects of BPA exposure in grandmothers and grandfathers might affect offspring communication ability. (more…)

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Misregulated genes may have big autism role

A genetic pathway involving proteins in the endosomes of cells appears to be misregulated in the brains of children with autism, according to a newly published statistical analysis in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Previously the genes were shown to cause rare forms of the disease but the new study suggests they have a wider role.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new study finds that two genes individually associated with rare autism-related disorders are also jointly linked to more general forms of autism. The finding suggests a new genetic pathway to investigate in general autism research. (more…)

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Genome-wide Atlas of Gene Enhancers in the Brain On-line

Collaboration Led by Berkeley Lab Researchers Creates High-Resolution Map of Gene Regulatory Elements in the Brain

Future research into the underlying causes of neurological disorders such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia, should greatly benefit from a first-of-its-kind atlas of gene-enhancers in the cerebrum (telencephalon). This new atlas, developed by a team led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is a publicly accessible Web-based collection of data that identifies and locates thousands of gene-regulating elements in a region of the brain that is of critical importance for cognition, motor functions and emotion.

“Understanding how the brain develops and functions, and how it malfunctions in neurological disorders, remains one of the most daunting challenges in contemporary science,” says Axel Visel, a geneticist with Berkeley Lab’s Genomics Division. “We’ve created a genome-wide digital atlas of gene enhancers in the human brain – the switches that tell genes when and where they need to be switched on or off. This enhancer atlas will enable other scientists to study in more detail how individual genes are regulated during development of the brain, and how genetic mutations may impact human neurological disorders.” (more…)

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New Study Analyzes Why People Are Resistant to Correcting Misinformation, Offers Solutions

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Childhood vaccines do not cause autism. President Obama was born in the United States. Global warming is confirmed by science. And yet, many people believe claims to the contrary.

In a study appearing in the current issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Western Australia and University of Queensland examined factors that cause people to resist correcting misinformation.

Misinformation can originate from rumors but also fiction, government and politicians, and organizations, the researchers say. (more…)

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More Sophisticated Wiring, Not Just a Bigger Brain, Helped Humans Evolve Beyond Chimps

Human and chimp brains look anatomically similar because both evolved from the same ancestor millions of years ago. But where does the chimp brain end and the human brain begin?

A new UCLA study pinpoints uniquely human patterns of gene activity in the brain that could shed light on how we evolved differently than our closest relative. The identification of these genes could improve understanding of human brain diseases like autism and schizophrenia, as well as learning disorders and addictions.

The research appears Aug. 22 in the advance online edition of the journal Neuron. (more…)

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Evolution’s Gift May Also be at The Root of a Form of Autism

A recently evolved pattern of gene activity in the language and decision-making centers of the human brain is missing in a disorder associated with autism and learning disabilities, a new study by Yale University researchers shows.

“This is the cost of being human,” said Nenad Sestan, associate professor of neurobiology, researcher at Yale’s Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, and senior author of the paper. “The same evolutionary mechanisms that may have gifted our species with amazing cognitive abilities have also made us more susceptible to psychiatric disorders such as autism.” (more…)

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A Bird’s Song May Teach Us About Human Speech Disorders

*UCLA scientists identify 2,000 important genes*

Can the song of a small bird provide valuable insights into human stuttering and speech-related disorders and conditions, including autism and stroke? New research by UCLA life scientists and colleagues provides reason for optimism.

The scientists discovered that some 2,000 genes in a region of the male zebra finch’s brain known as “Area X” are significantly linked to singing. More than 1,500 genes in this region, a critical part of the bird’s song circuitry, are being reported for the first time. Previously, a group of scientists including the UCLA team had identified some 400 genes in Area X. All the genes’ levels of expression change when the bird sings. (more…)

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