Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus affects the brain, in addition to the lungs. Researchers are examining the threat COVID-19 posses to long term brain health. They speculate maternal inflammation could lead to an increased risk of autism-like behaviors and neurodevelopment deficits in children born to mothers diagnosed with coronavirus. Other studies are exploring how the virus may spread in the nervous system via synaptic transmission.
Marijuana use alters a gene associated with autism in sperm. Hypomethylation was identified in the DLGAP2 gene in the sperm of male rats exposed to THC. The hypomethylated state was also detected in the forebrains of their offspring. Further research is needed to establish if there is a definitive link between paternal cannabis use and ASD in humans.
Brain imaging studies shed new light on social behaviors such as empathy and team flow. The findings provide new understanding of the neural basis of social behaviors and conditions involving social dysfunction.
A new study in the BMJ links antidepressant use in pregnant women to a very small increased risk of autism in their offspring. Researchers discovered 4.1% of children exposed to antidepressants while in the womb were diagnosed with ASD, where as only 2.9% of children whose mothers had a history of mental health problems but did not take take medications were diagnosed with autism.
Researchers have performed an MRI study of people with a common form of genetic autism. They discovered those with abnormalities on 16p11.2 had structural abnormalities with the corpus callosum and white matter volume.
A new study reveals up to 30% of children diagnosed with autism had less severe symptoms at age six than they did at age three. In some cases, children lost their autism diagnoses entirely. Girls are more likely to show a greater reduction in autism symptoms and less of a rise in the severity of symptoms than boys on the autism spectrum.
A new PNAS study reveals typically developing children experience neurogenesis in the amygdala as they become adults. However, for those with autism, the amygdala loses neurons as they age.
Gastrointestinal and immune disorders, along with sleep disruptions and seizures often co-occur at similar points of time in those diagnosed under the autism spectrum. Analyzing patterns in diagnosis of co-occurring medical conditions allowed for the identification of three subtypes of children with ASD. The findings could provide new insight into the mechanics of ASD.
A new study reports children who have difficulties with social communication have an increased risk of sucidiality and self harm behaviors by the age of 16 than those who do not face such difficulties.
A new study backs up existing evidence that maternal immune activation can impact brain development in children. Researchers report immune activation during pregnancy or soon after birth can cause alterations to brain networks associated with social behavior, resulting in autism-like symptoms in the offspring.