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Autism Affects Visual System Development in Pre-Symptomatic Infants

A new study indicates the brain’s visual processing system is impaired in infants who go on to develop autism. The authors reported that social deficits in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) correlate with early structural and connectivity traits particularly in the visual circuitry of the brain, in their infant siblings who later go on to develop ASD. This is the first report that inherited genetic ASD risks affect the development of the brain's visual system in pre-symptomatic infants.

Toxic Prenatal Exposure May Be Reversible Later in Life

A new study shows an industrial toxin found in vehicular exhaust and burning wood binds to an aryl hydrocarbon receptor on prenatal microglial cells that are important in brain immunity, altering their response to focal tissue injury. These changes could lead to deficits in the brain’s immune system later in life, compromise neural networks and result in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Pexidartnib that dampens microglial activation, causes renewal of these cells restoring normal function.

Study Discovers Sex-Specific Neural and Genetic Risks in Neglected Girls with...

Nearly four times more males are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than females. Consequently, most basic and preclinical studies on ASD have focused on males. A new study sheds light on how ASD manifests in the brains of females. Based on the findings, the researchers warn that conclusions drawn from studies conducted primarily in males should not be assumed to hold true for females.