Skip to main content

Home/ Autism Teachers/ Group items tagged brain

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Tero Toivanen

Researchers reveal first brain study of Temple Grandin - - 0 views

  •  
    Unlike controls ..., Temple Grandin has lateral ventricles... that are significantly larger on the left side of her brain than on the right.
Tero Toivanen

Marlene Behrmann: Connecting Autistic Behavior to Brain Function - 0 views

  • It turns out that in all three of the primary cortices -- visual, auditory and somatosensory -- we did not see the typical response trial after trial in the individuals with autism. Instead, we saw considerable variability -- sometimes a strong response, sometimes a weak response. The fact that we did not see precise responses in autism was a really important result. It suggests that there is something fundamental that is altered in the cortical responses in autism. This variability in the brain response might also possibly explain why individuals with autism find visual stimulation, touch and sound to be so strong and overwhelming.
  • We know from genetic research that many of the neurobiological changes that occur in autism have to do with changes at the level of the synapse, the way that information is transmitted from one neuron to another.
  •  
    "A team of researchers ... were interested in trying to understand on a basic neural level what happens inside the brain that might give rise to the altered behaviors in autism."
Tero Toivanen

Oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism - 1 views

  •  
    "Preliminary results from an ongoing, large-scale study by Yale School of Medicine researchers shows that oxytocin -- a naturally occurring substance produced in the brain and throughout the body -- increased brain function in regions that are known to process social information in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)."
Tero Toivanen

Scientists have shown how a single protein may trigger autis - 0 views

  •  
    Scientists have shown how a single protein may trigger autistic spectrum disorders by stopping effective communication between brain cells. While hundreds of genes linked to the condition have been found, the precise combination of genetics, biochemistry and other environmental factors which produce autism is still unclear.
Tero Toivanen

Research on the genomics of autism from the Center for Biom - 0 views

  • Research on the genomics of autism from the Center for Biomedical Informatics at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia indicated that several genes and genomic variants contribute to autism. The gene alterations are rare but when they are in play, they seem to disrupt genes that are significantly involved in brain development and nerve signaling.
  • According to the September 15, 2010 issue of Science Translational Medicine, males with certain DNA alterations to their X-chromosome are at high risk of having autism.
  • This research was performed at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), in Toronto Canada.
  • ...6 more annotations...
  • One percent of boys with autism involved in the study had mutations in the PTCHD1 gene on the X-chromosome. No boys without autism showed this mutation.
  • Girls who also had this mutation did not seem to exhibit autistic traits. It appears that girls may be protected from developing autism because they have a second X-chromosome.
  • Still these girls could be carriers, passing on the mutation to their children. Their sons could then have autism.
  • Certain rare genetic variants were found 20 percent more in children with autism than in other children. Researchers also discovered new disruptions, where a child of non-autistic parents had autism.
  • t appears that some children have private genetic mutations not passed on genetically, and this leaves them more susceptible to autism.

    Interestingly, each child showed a different disturbance in a different gene.

  • Researchers hope to gain more information as they identify groups of disrupted genes. Ultimately they hope to be able to develop treatments for autism.
Tero Toivanen

In a recent study, the experimental test identified nine-mon - 1 views

  •  
    Autism: Will brain wave test bring early diagnosis?
Tero Toivanen

YouTube - Aditi Shankardass: A second opinion on learning disorders - 3 views

  •  
    Developmental disorders in children are typically diagnosed by observing behavior, but we should be looking directly at their brains. 
Tero Toivanen

The Advantages of Tourette's : The Frontal Cortex - 0 views

  •  
    Tim Howard: "I like the way I am. If I woke up tomorrow without Tourette's, I wouldn't know what to do with myself."
Tero Toivanen

Intendix, The Brain Computer Interface Goes Commercial (video) | Singularity Hub - 0 views

  •  
    With this, what is going to happen to facilitated communication?
Tero Toivanen

Research adds to evidence that autism is a brain 'connectivity' disorder - 1 views

  • Now, researchers led by Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, of Children's Department of Neurology, provide evidence that mutations in one of the TSC's causative genes, known as TSC2, prevent growing nerve fibers (axons) from finding their proper destinations in the developing brain.
  • Sahin and colleagues showed that when mouse neurons were deficient in TSC2, their axons failed to land in the right places.
  • Further investigation showed that the axons' tips, known as "growth cones," did not respond to navigation cues from a group of molecules called ephrins.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • Although the study looked only at retinal connections to the brain, the researchers believe their findings may have general relevance for the organization of the developing brain. Scientists speculate that in autism, wiring may be abnormal in the areas of the brain involved in social cognition.
  • there are either too many connections or too few connections between different parts of the brain
  •  
    Research evidence suggesting that autism spectrum disorders, which affect 25 to 50 percent of TSC patients, result from a miswiring of connections in the developing brain, leading to improper information flow.
Tero Toivanen

Inside the Mind of a Savant: Scientific American - 0 views

  • Theory guides us in one respect. Kim’s brain shows abnormalities in the left hemisphere, a pattern found in many savants. What is more, left hemisphere damage has been invoked as an explanation of why males are much more likely than females to display not only savantism but also dyslexia, stuttering, delayed speech, and autism.
  • The proposed mechanism has two parts: male fetuses have a higher level of circulating testosterone, which can be toxic to developing brain tissue; and the left hemisphere develops more slowly than the right and therefore remains vulnerable for a longer period. Also supporting the role of left hemisphere damage are the many reported cases of “acquired savant syndrome,” in which older children and adults suddenly develop savant skills after damage to the left hemisphere.
  • although autism is more commonly linked with savantism than is any other single disorder, only about half of all savants are autistic.
  •  
    Article about Kim Peek and mind of savant.
Tero Toivanen

Deep Brain Stimulation May Be Effective Treatment for Tourette Syndrome - 1 views

  •  
    Deep brain stimulation may be a safe and effective treatment for Tourette syndrome, according to research published in the October 27, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Tero Toivanen

Autism disorders might be reversible. | - I Teach Autism.com - - 0 views

  • Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have proposed a sweeping new theory of autism that suggests that the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.
  • The central tenet of the theory, published in the March issue of Brain Research Reviews, is that autism is a developmental disorder caused by impaired regulation of the locus coeruleus, a bundle of neurons in the brain stem that processes sensory signals from all areas of the body.
  • The new theory stems from decades of anecdotal observations that some autistic children seem to improve when they have a fever, only to regress when the fever ebbs.
  • ...8 more annotations...
  • Einstein researchers contend that scientific evidence directly points to the locus coeruleus–noradrenergic (LC-NA) system as being involved in autism. “The LC-NA system is the only brain system involved both in producing fever and controlling behavior,” says co-author Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., dean emeritus and distinguished professor of neuroscience at Einstein.
  • The locus coeruleus has widespread connections to brain regions that process sensory information.
  • It is also involved in a variety of complex behaviors, such as attentional focusing (the ability to concentrate attention on environmental cues relevant to the task in hand, or to switch attention from one task to another).
  • “What is unique about the locus coeruleus is that it activates almost all higher-order brain centers that are involved in complex cognitive tasks,” says Dr. Mehler.
  • Drs. Purpura and Mehler hypothesize that in autism, the LC-NA system is dysregulated by the interplay of environment, genetic, and epigenetic factors (chemical substances both within as well as outside the genome that regulate the expression of genes). They believe that stress plays a central role in dysregulation of the LC-NA system, especially in the latter stages of prenatal development when the fetal brain is particularly vulnerable.
  • Drs. Purpura and Mehler believe that, in autistic children, fever stimulates the LC-NA system, temporarily restoring its normal regulatory function.
  • the future of autism treatment probably lies in drugs that selectively target certain types of noradrenergic brain receptors or, more likely, in epigenetic therapies targeting genes of the LC-NA system.
  • “You can’t take a complex neuropsychiatric disease that has escaped our understanding for 50 years and in one fell swoop have a therapy that is going to reverse it — that’s folly. On the other hand, we now have clues to the neurobiology, the genetics, and the epigenetics of autism. To move forward, we need to invest more money in basic science to look at the genome and the epigenome in a more focused way.”
  •  
    Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have proposed a sweeping new theory of autism that suggests that the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.
Tero Toivanen

How to unleash your brain's inner genius - life - 03 June 2009 - New Scientist - 0 views

  • A flurry of research published earlier this year in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B paints a very different picture. It turns out that these skills are far more common than previously thought. They may even arise from traits found in the general population, implying that savants are not fundamentally different from the rest of us. What's more, these skills may only blossom after years of obsessive practice, raising the question of whether many more people might cultivate similar skills, if only they had the motivation.
  • One of the biggest clues to the origins of savant talent lies in the fact that savants are far more common within the autistic population than among people with other mental difficulties.
  • ...11 more annotations...
  • Savant skills included more fully developed talents, such as being able to name the elevation of both the sun and the moon at any time of day, on any specified date; being able to name the day of the week for any date in the distant past or future (a talent known as calendrical calculation) and perfect pitch. Importantly, the abilities and the skills had to be exceptional by the standards of the general population, but also well above the individual's overall level of ability. In total, roughly 30 per cent had some kind of special ability (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1359).
  • For musical savants like Paravicini, Happé suggests that a bias towards small details might have led their developing brains to focus more on the exact notes than the overall melody, leading to perfect pitch and an exceptional musical memory. In art, a focus on small regions of a picture could lead to accurate perspective drawing.
  • Most people find this harder when they are shown an unsegmented version of the pattern versus a segmented one, but people with autism don't have this preference, demonstrating their skill at seeing a whole in terms of its parts even if there are no obvious dividing lines (see diagram). "It shows they are able to do the segmentation in their minds," says Winner. The precocious realists did not have this preference either, indicating a talent for realistic drawing may arise from this isolated trait commonly found in autism (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1449).
  • Although these results help to pinpoint exactly what it is about autism that predisposes people to talent, it's still not clear why an eye for detail is more common in autistic people in the first place. Clues might lie in the work of Simon Baron-Cohen from the University of Cambridge, which suggests that people with autism are "hypersensitive" to sensory information
  • Daniel Tammet, a prodigious savant who has memorised pi to 22,514 digits, believes his own talents have arisen from a special ability to connect different pieces of information together. "Savant abilities are linked to a highly associative type of thinking, an extreme form of a kind that everyone does - examples would include daydreaming, puns and the use of metaphors," he says.
  • The few studies of savant brains certainly suggest they are physically different from the average brain. For example, when Happé and Wallace studied the brain of a savant gifted at art, calendrical calculation and memory, they found his cortex was thicker in the areas associated with visuospatial processing and calculation and thinner in other regions associated with social cognition, compared with people who were neither savants nor autistic. But whether these differences were innate or grew with lifelong practice was still unclear.
  • The answer to that question may come from an unlikely source - a study of London taxi drivers who have acquired an encyclopedic memory of the streets of London known as "the Knowledge". Given that taxi drivers must remember the layout of 25,000 streets and the location of thousands of places of interest, and retrieve the information instantaneously, some researchers like Happé believe the Knowledge qualifies as a savant-like skill.
  • Eleanor Maguire and colleagues at the Institute of Neurology at University College London and colleagues found that drivers with the Knowledge have a bigger rear hippocampus than bus drivers and adults who do not drive taxis. In addition, the hippocampus appears to be larger the longer a taxi driver has been working, and shrinks once they retire (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0288).
  • In fact, it seems the remaining mystery is not so much how savants achieve their talents, but what drives them in the first place. "Motivation is a big unknown," says Wallace. "It's an enormous driving force in giftedness and in savants, but we don't know a lot about it."
  • One person who has something of an inside view on what contributes to savant ability is Paravicini's mentor, Adam Ockelford, a professor of music at Roehampton University in London who has watched Paravicini's talent blossom since the age of 4. When they first met, Paravicini was entirely self-taught and bashed at his plastic keyboard with his fists and elbows to reproduce the sounds he was hearing. It was only after years of practice that his technical skills developed.
  • But as researchers like Wallace have suggested, Paravicini seemed motivated way beyond the average music student. In fact, he seemed to be playing as if his life depended on it, and Ockelford thinks it's this that truly sets savants apart from their peers. "The survival instinct gets turned with extraordinary force into something else - in Derek's case music," says Ockelford. "When people see Derek, they think it is amazing, almost religious. But to me, it's mainly just hard work."
  •  
    But now researchers are beginning to unearth clues as to how savants' formidable brains work, and that in turn is changing our view of what it means to be a savant.
Tero Toivanen

New Theory Of Autism Suggests Symptoms Or Disorder May Be Reversible - 0 views

  • the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.
  • autism is a developmental disorder caused by impaired regulation of the locus coeruleus, a bundle of neurons in the brain stem that processes sensory signals from all areas of the body.
  • The new theory stems from decades of anecdotal observations that some autistic children seem to improve when they have a fever, only to regress when the fever ebbs.
  • ...11 more annotations...
  • This study documented that autistic children experience behavior changes during fever.
  • Einstein researchers contend that scientific evidence directly points to the locus coeruleus–noradrenergic (LC-NA) system as being involved in autism. "The LC-NA system is the only brain system involved both in producing fever and controlling behavior," says co-author Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., dean emeritus and distinguished professor of neuroscience at Einstein.
  • The locus coeruleus has widespread connections to brain regions that process sensory information. It secretes most of the brain's noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in arousal mechanisms, such as the "fight or flight" response. It is also involved in a variety of complex behaviors, such as attentional focusing (the ability to concentrate attention on environmental cues relevant to the task in hand, or to switch attention from one task to another). Poor attentional focusing is a defining characteristic of autism.
  • "What is unique about the locus coeruleus is that it activates almost all higher-order brain centers that are involved in complex cognitive tasks," says Dr. Mehler.
  • autism, the LC-NA system is dysregulated by the interplay of environment, genetic, and epigenetic factors
  • They believe that stress plays a central role in dysregulation of the LC-NA system, especially in the latter stages of prenatal development when the fetal brain is particularly vulnerable.
  • a higher incidence of autism among children whose mothers had been exposed to hurricanes and tropical storms during pregnancy.
  • autistic children, fever stimulates the LC-NA system, temporarily restoring its normal regulatory function. "This could not happen if autism was caused by a lesion or some structural abnormality of the brain," says Dr. Purpura.
  • future of autism treatment probably lies in drugs that selectively target certain types of noradrenergic brain receptors or, more likely, in epigenetic therapies targeting genes of the LC-NA system.
  • If the locus coeruleus is impaired in autism, it is probably because tens or hundreds, maybe even thousands, of genes are dysregulated in subtle and complex ways," says Dr. Mehler. "The only way you can reverse this process is with epigenetic therapies, which, we are beginning to learn, have the ability to coordinate very large integrated gene networks."
  • "You can't take a complex neuropsychiatric disease that has escaped our understanding for 50 years and in one fell swoop have a therapy that is going to reverse it — that's folly. On the other hand, we now have clues to the neurobiology, the genetics, and the epigenetics of autism. To move forward, we need to invest more money in basic science to look at the genome and the epigenome in a more focused way."
  •  
    the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.
Tero Toivanen

Eide Neurolearning Blog: Why Boys Need Alternatives with Reading and Writing - 0 views

  • If you give girls and boys language tasks, most girls will process the information in the same way (in a specialized language area)
  • help them with word storage and retrieval
  • But for boys, sensitivity to the modality of how words are presented means that an extra steps need to be taken to match words that are picked up by listening and words that are read on the printed page. No wonder dyslexia is much more common in boys - the separate system means that the sight and sound of words are learned as distinct processes.
  • ...4 more annotations...
  • As a result, verbal competence may be strong in one domain (oral speech for instance), but be weak in another (reading).
  • because boys require two areas and a matching of visual-auditory inputs, impairment in one system may cause the whole language coordination process to fail.
  • The visual-auditory gap may also be why some boys may need to read word-for-word outloud or to themselves (i.e. not silently read) in order to fully comprehend or remember the story.
  • Some careful consideration needs to made of instructional implications for boys given some of these new discoveries. Learning by listening and learning by reading are not synonymous; route-congruent factors(listening - oral presentation, reading - written response) may need to be considered when a learning gap or frank underachievement is seen, and an insistence on the availability of auditory-visual supports (reading along with books-on-tape, detailed handouts for lecture courses) should be a requirement of every classroom.
  •  
    Boys require two areas and a matching of visual-auditory inputs, impairment in one system may cause the whole language coordination process to fail.
Tero Toivanen

Wired 9.12: The Geek Syndrome - 0 views

  •  
    Autism - and its milder cousin Asperger's syndrome - is surging among the children of Silicon Valley. Are math-and-tech genes to blame?
1 - 18 of 18
Showing 20 items per page