The protein missing in fragile X syndrome is necessary for the proper development of neural stem cells — self-renewing cells that can differentiate into more specialized types, including neurons — according to a paper published in the August issue of Human Molecular Genetics.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
The amygdala, a brain region that regulates fear and anxiety, shows abnormal neuronal signaling in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, according to two studies published this summer. These are the first to explore cellular defects in the region in fragile X.
People with autism are asserting their right to be different. They say so-called ‘neurotypicals’ are the ones with communication problems, relying on the ‘animalistic means’ of body language, and they don’t understand why their focused, repetitive behaviors are thought to be problematic when neurotypicals indulge in obsessions such as sports and soap operas.
If you believe the hype about oxytocin, it’s nothing short of a wonder drug: it can make you trust a stranger, enhance a mother’s bond with her child and, according to a study published earlier this year, improve social skills in individuals with autism. But look more closely, and there is ample cause for caution.
With robust training in developmental psychology and a techie’s fervor for new tools, Kevin Pelphrey is systematically investigating how the brain changes during development — starting in infants as young as 6 weeks old.