In the largest study of brain development in preschoolers with autism to date, a study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers has found that 3-year-old boys with regressive autism, but not early onset autism, have larger brains than their healthy counterparts.
Researchers at UCLA have demonstrated how genetic variants rewire the brain in autistic patients. Examining the role of the CNTAP2 gene, which is believed to boost the risk of autism, researchers discovered a difference in connectivity between the left and right sides of the brain, depending on which version of the gene the patients carried. This research could provide a positive outcome in developing treatments for re-balancing the brain circuitry for autistic patients and promote a more normal neurological development.
New research published by the APA has suggested new mothers brains can grow within months of giving birth. Researchers discovered a small, yet significant increase in gray matter within certain areas of the brain responsible for emotional processing, reward and maternal motivation, amongst others. Additionally, mothers who considered their babies to be extremely special or perfect were shown to be more likely to develop larger mid brains.
Neuroscientists at the University of Copenhagen have developed a model which demonstrates how the brain releases dopamine. The model could provide a key insight into how the brain perceives punishment and reward. The researchers hope that their newly developed model could assist other scientists to better understand drug addiction and provide new treatments for schizophrenia.
New research suggests heavy alcohol use in teens can detrimentally affect neural development. Researchers have concluded that binge drinking can negatively disrupt normal developmental processes, leading to problems with learning and social adjustment in the long term. The study also discovered that increased use of alcohol can result in a decrease in attention and executive function. Additionally, increased marijuana use was discovered to decrease memory performance.
Researchers at Washington University have discovered a link between the brains cognitive control and motivation networks. The research could provide an insight into how people pursue goals and how motivation drives goal orientated behavior.
A researcher at TAU is working to understand how the mechanisms of the fusiform gyrus process information about how we recognize faces and interpret facial expressions. Future research could help develop new computer algorithms for facial recognition.
Changes in cortical thickness correlate with a primary feature of addiction, could reflect both predisposition and effects of drug exposure.