Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, Huda Zoghbi has won almost every major biology and neuroscience research award that exists. More than 20 years since she discovered the gene behind Rett syndrome, she remains laser focused on unlocking the condition’s secrets and finding effective treatments.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Autistic children are up to four times as likely as their non-autistic peers to have digestive problems, and several small studies show they may also have atypical microbial communities living in their guts.
On 20 September 2017, Hurricane Maria passed over Puerto Rico’s Cayo Santiago Island, home to more than 1,500 non-native rhesus macaques. After the storm, the monkeys formed new, unexpected relationships in ways that could offer clues about autism.
Some therapies use play and other activities to reinforce skills that autistic children often find challenging. Trials show these methods can change a child’s trajectory for the better, but the evidence base remains thin.
A Hollywood-inspired video tool that captures movement in three dimensions over extended time periods shows that rats lacking the autism-linked gene FMR1 have different grooming patterns than controls do.
The repetitive behaviors seen in autism may originate in the striatum, a cluster of neurons involved with initiating and executing movements.
New thinking about repetitive behaviors suggests they provide stress relief and fun for autistic people; as such, these behaviors deserve careful management.
In this video, professors Sam Wang and Peter Tsai explain the role of the ‘little brain’ in cognition, social skills, emotion control and repetitive behaviors.
Associated primarily with its role in movement, the striatum may also influence the social difficulties of autistic people.
The mutation that causes Angelman syndrome makes neurons hyperexcitable, which may explain the frequent seizures that most people with the syndrome have.