Posts tagged Neuroscience
There was a great deal of excitement last week as intriguing findings published in Nature yield clues into the mystery of autism. Autism, or more correctly put Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are defects in neural development that manifest themselves early in childhood as affected children have difficulties in socialization and language skills. Like any childhood disease autism is unimaginably frustrating for the millions of parents and relatives that have to find the best way to cope with a child who will have unexpected needs. Even more frustrating perhaps is the unanswered questions surrounding the cause of the disease and the More >
In 2011, you would think that neuroscience is focused on discovering answers to high-level questions about the brain; how consciousness arises, how emotions work, what is autism, etc. Although progress is being made in all of those areas, it seems that we still have a great deal to learn about even the most basic components of the brain.
Recently, a group from Naples reports that D-Aspartic acid functions as a neurotransmitter in both a mammal the rats (Rattus norvegicus), and a mollusk (Loligo vulgaris). D-Aspartic acid (D-Asp) has been known to scientists for well over a century. However, its role as a More >
At the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the topics of music-education and neuroscience were highlighted by Nina Kraus, Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Communication Sciences at Northwestern University. In a study to be published in the April edition of Nature Neuroscience, his group demonstrated that children with some musical training were better able to distinguish sounds (in this case tonal variants of mandarin Chinese words) then their amusical peers. Specifically this study looked at distinguishing these sounds from a complicated sound background.
While this is a very focused study, it is clear from a More >
Bernard Crespi, an evolutionary geneticist at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, has proposed that schizophrenia and autism are the opposite ends of the same social spectrum. Speaking at the Sackler Colloquium on Evolution in Health and Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, Crespi noted that copy number variations (CNVs) in the human genome are similar for both schizophrenia and autism. What are CNVs and what evidence is their to support Crespi’s hypothesis?
What are CNVs?
Copy number variations are spontaneous mutations in the genome that result in duplications or deletions of the genomic sequence. Duplications can produce extra More >