In order to ensure that researchers have enough brain tissue to understand autism spectrum disorders, the education and outreach campaign of the Autism BrainNet is being expanded past families to doctors and professionals that have access to tissue. One of these groups is neuropathologists. At their annual meeting this past week in Los Angeles, an entire afternoon was spent dedicated to autism and the features of autism in the brain. A summary of the presentations is included in this podcast. Speakers emphasized that the way the brain works in childhood is not the same as the way it works in adulthood, and a study out of UCSD showed that the genes that are affected in children with autism are different than those in adults with autism. The mechanisms of genes controlling the developing brain vs. those which affect ongoing maintenance are different. This calls to make sure scientists understand all ages of people with autism, because as the brain changes, so do the needs of people with ASD.
Click here to listen to this week’s podcast with ASF Chief Science Officer Dr. Alycia Halladay Ross.