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Science News About Autism

Inflammation in Pregnant Moms Linked to Child’s Brain Development

Science Update

High levels of maternal inflammation during pregnancy have been linked to effects in children, including reduced brain circuit communications and altered long-distance brain wiring at birth, poorer cognitive function at one year – and to reduced impulse control and working memory at two years.

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“Covert” Neurofeedback Tunes-up the Social Brain in ASD

Science Update

Young people with autism unknowingly tuned up flagging neural connections by playing a picture puzzle game that was rigged by their own brain activity.

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Inherited Variations in Noncoding Sections of DNA Associated with Autism

Science Update

A new study has identified an association between paternally-inherited rare structural variants in noncoding segments of genes and the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study adds to a growing body of research describing genetic contributors to ASD.

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Suspect Molecules Overlap in Autism, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Science Update

Depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder share some of the same patterns of suspect gene expression – molecular signatures.

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NIMH’s Dr. Ann Wagner Designated as the National Autism Coordinator

Institute Update

NIMH’s Dr. Ann Wagner has been designed as the National Autism Coordinator. In this role, she will play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of national autism spectrum disorder research, services, and support activities across federal agencies.

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Our Brains Harbor “Residual Echo” of Neanderthal Genes

Science Update

Researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a “residual echo” from our ancient past. The more a person’s genome carries genetic vestiges of Neanderthals, the more certain parts of his or her brain and skull resemble those of humans’ evolutionary cousins that went extinct 40,000 years ago.

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Neuroimaging Technique May Help Predict Autism among High-Risk Infants

Press Release

Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) may predict which high-risk, 6-month old infants will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 2 years.

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Brain Circuit Tweak Wins Her Affection (if she’s a vole)

Science Update

For the first time, neuroscientists have boosted a female rodent’s partnering with a male by stimulating connectivity of a brain reward circuit. Understanding the circuitry of such affiliative behaviors may lead to improved treatments for social impairment in severe mental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder.

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Human Forebrain Circuits Under Construction – in a Dish

Press Release

Neuroscientists have created a 3D window into the human brain’s budding executive hub assembling itself during a critical period in prenatal development.

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Delayed Walking May Signal Spontaneous Gene Anomalies in Autism

Science Update

Researchers have discovered a pattern of genetic glitches and behavioral features, such as delayed walking, in some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that could ultimately lead to identification of subgroups and improved treatment.

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A Third of Suspect Mutations in ASD Just “Noise”

Science Update

Researchers have narrowed suspected genetic causes of autism and related developmental disabilities by ruling out what they call the “noise of benign variation.”

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Schizophrenia, Autism Risk Gene Trajectories Point to Shared Causes

Science Update

Schizophrenia, autism risk gene trajectories point to shared causes

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NIH-supported NeuroBioBank Joins Autism BrainNet in Brain Donation Initiative

Press Release

Two of the world’s largest brain tissue banks unify efforts to collect and distribute a critical number of brain donations for important autism research.

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NIH Joins Public-Private Partnership to Fund Research on Autism Biomarkers

Press Release

James McPartland, Ph.D. of Yale University will lead a new four-year $28 million Biomarkers Consortium project that aims to improve clinical evaluation of treatments for social impairment in children with autism.

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Dr. Insel Reflects on Autism Awareness Month

Science Update

Dr. Insel describes recent accomplishments related to autism spectrum disorder over the past year—from the reauthorization of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to promising therapeutic results from clinical trials.

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Largest Autism Gene Dragnet Fingers 33 Prime Suspects

Science Update

Many patients with psychosis develop health risks associated with premature death early in the course of their mental illness, researchers have found.

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New Grants Fund Cross-lifespan Services Research for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Press Release

NIH-funded projects aim at improving access, timeliness of interventions.

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Common Gene Variants Account for Most Genetic Risk for Autism

Press Release

Most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches.

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NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

Science Update

NIMH Twitter Chat on Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

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Disorganized Cortical Patches Suggest Prenatal Origin of Autism

Press Release

The architecture of the autistic brain is speckled with patches of abnormal neurons, according to research partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 27, 2014.

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Brain Region Singled Out for Social Memory, Possible Therapeutic Target for Select Brain Disorders

Science Update

The hippocampus houses learning and memory—specifically the storage of knowledge of who, what, where, and when. Using a special transgenic mouse, researchers have now pinpointed a hippocampal region called CA2 that is important for social memory, the ability of animal to recognize another of the same species. Understanding this region could be useful in understanding and treating disorders characterized by altered social behaviors such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

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