December 2014


Via medicalnewstoday.com:

Brains of autistic individuals show “inflammation response genes” are turned on…

After analyzing the brains, the researchers discovered that in the brains of individuals with autism, the microglia were constantly activated and their inflammation response genes were turned on.

Though this type of inflammation is not yet well understood, the researchers say it shines a light on the current lack of understanding regarding how immunity affects neural circuits.

“What we don’t know is whether this immune response is making things better in the short term and worse in the long term,” says Prof. Arking, who adds that this is “a downstream consequence of upstream gene mutation.”

By that, he means that given what they already know about genetic contributions to autism, inflammation is unlikely to be the root cause of the condition.

For further research, the team now wants to determine whether treating the inflammation could mitigate autism symptoms.

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https://www.yahoo.com/health/seeing-how-the-brain-responds-to-hugs-could-lead-104168308312.html

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Thanks to new research, we may be able to see autism in the same way we see a broken ankle on an X-ray. (Photo by Getty Images)

Psychiatric disorders – including autism – are currently diagnosed based on a clinical behavioral assessment, a process that’s highly nuanced and highly subjective.

To assess for autism in toddlers include, parents are asked: “If you point at something across the room, does your child look at it,” and “does your child play pretend or make-believe?” Anyone with a young child knows that these types of general questions are very difficult to conclusively answer.

But now, Carnegie Mellow University researchers have created a potentially decisive way to diagnose autism— and other psychiatric disorders — with 97 percent accuracy: By examining how our brains respond to the thought of a hug.