Cognition

Genetic Discovery Links Autism and Schizophrenia

Source: 
Nature Neuroscience
Date Published: 
August 4, 2013
Abstract: 

Nelson Freimer and colleagues at UCLA studied a population in an isolated area of Finland where Schizophrenia is more common than in the average Finnish population. In this small group, it was discovered that the presence of a deletion on part of chromosome 22 was much more prevalent than in the rest of the population. This deleted region normally contains an enzyme, TOP3B. This lack of TOP3B is also linked to disruptions that can lead to Fragile X Syndrome, showing there may be a biological link between Fragile X and Schizophrenia.

An article about this study can be found here:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23995-genetic-discovery-links-auti...

Group Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders and Anxiety: A Randomized Trial

Source: 
J Child Psychol Psychiatry
Date Published: 
April, 2012
Year Published: 
2012
Abstract: 

Fifty children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and anxiety were randomized to group Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) or treatment-as-usual (TAU) for 12 weeks.

Synaptic Dysfunction in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Associated with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.

Source: 
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol
Date Published: 
March 1, 2012
Year Published: 
2012
Abstract: 

The human studies unveiled the sensitivity of cognitive function to precise levels of different proteins.

Study Finds Hyperconnectivity in Certain Brain Regions in Individuals with Autism.

Source: 
JAMA Psychiatry
Date Published: 
June 26, 2013
Abstract: 

During a brain study, researchers found that individuals with autism have specific areas of hyperconnectivity in the brain. This supports the theory that unique autistic behaviors stem from differences in brain wiring.

Two Studies Isolate Specific Brain Circuits That Underlie Compulsive Behaviors Seen in Individuals with OCD and Autism

Source: 
Science
Date Published: 
June 7, 2013
Abstract: 

Two studies successfully attempted to shut down and trigger compulsive behaviors in mice by using light to target certain brain circuits. These studies helped isolate the obsessive brain circuits believed to underlie compulsive behaviors in individuals with OCD and autism.

1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23744950
2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23744948

Voices May Not Trigger Brain's Reward Centers in Children with ASD

Source: 
PNAS
Date Published: 
June 17, 2013
Abstract: 

This Stanford study identifies an underconnectivity between the voice-selective cortex and the reward centers in the brain. This could suggest why children with autism have trouble grasping the social and emotional aspects of human speech.

Brief Report: Is Cognitive Rehabilitation Needed in Verbal Adults with Autism? Insights from Initial Enrollment in a Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
February 5, 2013
Abstract: 

Early results from this pilot trial of cognitive enhancement therapy (CET) indicate that despite above-average intelligence, verbal adults with ASD can have significantly impaired neurocognition and social cognition. The authors suggest CET, which is designed to remediate both social and non-social deficits through computer-based neurocognitive training, could be useful for cognitive rehabilitation in this population.