Mutations of the PTEN gene cause neurons to grow to twice the size and form four times the number of synaptic connections to other neurons as a normal neuron. Removing the RAPTOR gene, an essential gene in the mTORC1 signaling pathway, prevents the neuronal and synaptic overgrowth associated with PTEN mutations. Using Rapamycin to inhibit mTORC1 recues all the changes in neuronal overgrowth.
Pressure chamber therapy significantly improved social skills and reduced inflammation in animal models of autism.
New machine learning models assess the connection between hundreds of clinical variables, including doctor visits and health records for seemingly unconnected conditions, to predict the likelihood of ASD in young children.
Investigating the effects of genetic abnormalities associated with autism and human brain development, researchers found brain organoids engineered to have lower levels of the ASD-associated SHANK3 gene had distinct features including neural firing hyperactivity, disruptions in pathways that cause cells to adhere to each other, and indications of ineffective neurotransmission.
Orbit, an interactive robot, helps teach children on the autism spectrum to develop social appropriateness and emotion via storytelling, physical interaction, and visual communication.
Female mice show effects of the DAT mutation in brain regions unaffected in males, and vice versa. The findings reveal surprising differences in dopamine synapses between males and females controlling attention, pleasure, and motivation
Loperamide, a common anti-diarrhea medication, could help treat core symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder. The drug activates the μ-opioid receptor, helping to improve social behaviors.
Researchers discovered the link between autism and maternal infection does not appear to be causal. Results suggest the increased autism risks are more likely to be explained by shared familial factors including genetics or aspects of a shared environment.
Using large data sets, researchers determined children on the autism spectrum can be broken into three subgroups based upon co-occurring conditions, and those subgroups are associated with different prenatal risk factors. Infections, anti-inflammatory and other complex medications were associated with one group, while joint disorders and immune system problems were associated with another. The third subgroup was associated with overall pregnancy complications. Researchers have developed a new blood test that can for autism and prenatal risk factors for ASD.