New guidelines employ a team approach to autism diagnosis and care

Clinicians should routinely look for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in young children undergoing developmental assessments, and in all psychiatric evaluations. If significant symptoms are detected, clinicians should then coordinate a careful medical, psychological, and communication evaluation. These evaluations should differentiate between autism and a variety of developmental and other disorders, as well as intellectual and behavioral disabilities.

Fruit fly's pruning protein could be key to treating brain injury

This research could also potentially impact how science and healthcare think about and treat brain injuries, Kuo said. Currently, damaged neurons that have lost their dendrites are unable to properly communicate with their neighbors, rendering them nonfunctional. The problem could be reversed, he said, by helping neurons modify their original developmental program and regrow new dendrites.

From Undiagnosed to Diagnosed: Why it Matters

In order to properly treat a patient, doctors must first understand what is amiss. Anyone with severe, debilitating disease will benefit from an etiologically-relevant diagnosis. Etiological diagnosis directs symptomatic care, and raises the hope for disease-driven therapies. Identifying the malfunctioning gene is a necessary first step towards knowledge-based medical care.

Internal Logic: Whole-Brain Atlas of Neural Networks Reveals Eight Distinct Subnetworks in Mouse Cerebral Cortex

Researchers have identified eight distinct neural subnetworks that together form the connectivity infrastructure of the mammalian cortex, the part of the brain involved in higher-order functions such as cognition, emotion and consciousness. This study is the first comprehensive mapping of the most developed region of the mammalian brain: the cerebral cortex. The cortex is highly complex and made up of many densely interconnected structures, but when you strip it down, is organized into a small number of subnetworks

Speech disrupts facial attention in 6-month-olds who later develop autism

These findings indicate that infants who later develop ASD have difficulty maintaining attention to relevant social information as early as 6 months of age, a phenomenon that could reduce the quality of their social and communicative exchanges with others and, consequently, the trajectory of their social development.

Helping young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities

Transition in health care is the process during which adolescents gradually prepare for and shift toward care in the adult system. Several challenges exist in this transition process, including the lack of preparation for the transfer; adult health care providers’ lack of experience, training and expertise in traditionally paediatric diseases and conditions; the loss of a longstanding and trusting relationship with the paediatrician; and poor relationships and communication between adolescents and their adult health care physicians.

Study Shows Autistic Brains Create More Information at Rest

New research from Case Western Reserve University and University of Toronto neuroscientists finds that the brains of autistic children generate more information at rest – a 42% increase on average. The study offers a scientific explanation for the most typical characteristic of autism – withdrawal into one’s own inner world. The excess production of information may explain a child’s detachment from their environment.