No Link Between Assisted Reproduction Techniques and Autism Related Genetic Events

(Editor’s note:  I’m very pleased to be able to present this guest post by one of our new child psychiatry fellows, Sean Ackerman, who recently published this important study – DR). These days autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and assisted reproduction are both medical issues that frequently wind up in the media and are becoming ever […]

Tags: , , ,

Patches of Brain Disorganization Identified in Autism

Characterizing the precise pathology in autistic spectrum disorders, let alone other psychiatric disorders, has remained challenging. Postmortem studies of actual brain tissue are rare but have the potential to provide important clues regarding specific abnormalities in neurodevelopment that are not detectable through other means such as neuroimaging. This major study published in the New England […]

Tags: , ,

Autism Linked to Maternal Antibodies Reacting to Specific Antigens

While there is quite strong support to view autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder, the precise mechanisms that underlie this spectrum remain elusive.  A research group from the University of California at Davis previously found evidence for autism specific antibodies that were able to recognize fetal proteins.  They now turn to the specific targets or antigens […]

Increaed Brain Connectivity Found in Childhood Autism

While there have been many findings in the literature demonstrating that the brains of those with autism differ from non-autistic individuals, the results often do not agree.  This study used neuroimaging techniques to examine the degree to which the level of brain connectivity was a distinguishing feature of autism. The study compared 20 rigorously diagnosed […]

Tags: ,

FDA approves EEG Diagnostic Aid for ADHD

One of the holy grails in mental health assessment is the search for some kind of objective test that can accurately diagnose psychiatric disorders.  While the literature is full of genetic, imaging, neuropsychological, and other factors that show statistically significant links with many psychiatric conditions, none has proven robust enough for clinical use. However, the […]

Tags: , ,

Same Genes, Different Disorders

The phenomenon of comorbidity is extremely common in psychiatry.  While the term is used to denote the occurrence of two or more independent psychiatric disorders in the same individual, there is increasing evidence to suggest that different types of psychopathology share common etiologic factors.  This molecular genetic study, recently published in The Lancet, was done […]

Tags: , ,

Genetics Largely Underlies Intelligence to School Acheivement Link

While the genetic influence on intelligence has been well studied, less is known about school achievement and the genetic/environmental links between intelligence and school achievement. Previous work has also struggled with potential measurement and sampling bias.  This study used national data from large Dutch and English samples to address some of these concerns. The total […]

Tags: , ,

A Teen’s Brain: Driving Without the Breaks

by David Fassler, MD Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UVM College of Medicine The following was previously posted in a blog for Scientific American and adapted for this blog. The next time a teenager behaves inexplicably, remember: his brain is like a car without brakes. The more primitive parts of the brain are well developed, acting […]