Podcast: Reusing and recycling autism data from brain tissue

On this week’s podcast, data obtained from brains of people with autism is reused and re-analyzed so that a new role of mitochondria and their relationship to the activity of synapse genes could be discovered. In addition, cellular stress is seen in the brains of people with autism. What comes first? Mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular stress or changes in brain development? These findings were thanks to resources provided by the Autism BrainNet. You can learn more about brain tissue donation by signing up at takesbrains.org.

On this week’s ASF podcast: By looking directly at the brains of people with autism, researchers at UC Davis MIND Institute, led by Dr. Thomas Avino and Dr. Cyndi Schumann, show a disruption of neuron number in the amygdala in autism. The amygdala is important because it is linked to emotion, fear and anxiety in people with autism. The shift in too many vs. too few neurons that occurs in adolescence may help explain anxiety in people with ASD. Read the full open-access article here.

Researchers at Autism BrainNet node UC Davis MIND Institute found that while typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults, people with ASD do not. The open access research published in PNAS studied 52 postmortem human brains, both neurotypical and ASD, ranging from 2 to 48 years of age. There were more neurons in young children with ASD, but as they got older, those numbers went down. The press release on this article can be read here.

In a new blog post, ASF CSO Alycia Halladay explains the newest research in understanding the brains of people with autism.