Tag Archives: White Matter

Question?: Rett Syndrome Treatment

Laura asks…

My 2 year daughter is severely developmentally delayed. We got the results of the MRI.?

The Dr gave me the full report but said it doesn’t explain the medical reason for her symptoms- hyponotia dev delayed globally- pectus excavatuum- feeding and swalloing issues drools all the time non verbal and presents as a child with cp and autism.
Small confluent areas of increased T2 and FLAIR signal abnormality within pertrigonal parietal white matter as well as mild cerebral volume loss. Can anyone possibly explain this to me ?
Thank you to all who have responded so far. We did have bloodwork taken in jan 2010 and still awaiting the results. They are apparently only testing that for rett angelman. We have been to a paed dr and he said she does not have autism but still displays many symptoms. My biggest issue right now is being undiagnosed. I am in Southerm Ontario. I do have a therapy team and medical team. We have more appointments in dec and jan coming up to go over her progress and do another checklist of behaviours.

admin answers:

With what you’ve defined, have they done any genetic testing, I’d visit a genetic counselor if only to rule out conditions like Rett Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome or Angelman Syndrome.

The right diagnosis is so very important to model treatments, therapies and known medical problems that could affect your child’s health and/or other members of your family.

Rett and Angelman Syndromes could be identified I believe by a chromosome or microarray analysis, Fragile X needs to be tested through a FMR1 DNA test (important that the run the correct test, this test is 99% accurate.) A genetic counselor with be more up-to-date on how to test for these conditions, better than many dev. Peds or neurologists who still try to use a chromosome analysis for fragile X, when the gene was discovered in 1991, and the DNA test was created shortly there after.

Big Hug, if you have any support groups in your area,, local or cyber you might find them helpful, I allow e-mail through yahoo and if you’d like me to try to help you find one just send me an e-mail, let me know where you are located.

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Question?: Autism Signs In Adults

Maria asks…

What would autistic parents teach an autistic child?

Autism is a mutation in the brain, and mutations can be either helpful or harmful (mutations are what brought mankind to where it is today). Suppose for a moment that we all see autism as normal yet different from what is socially normal. How would autistic people live in a society where everyone is also autistic? How would they interact, and what would they teach each other? What would career environments be like? How would homes be built? What would be valued, and what wouldn’t be?

What would the autistic life be like?
This is what I am trying to ask.

I don’t believe autism should be seen as a “disorder” or a handicap but rather a different way of thinking and different behavior.
I read in Times magazine that autistic people have less “grey matter” and more “white matter” in their brains, and that’s why there has to be a mutation in their genes that makes it that way.
And to the person who says that it’s a disorder and that autistic people cannot compete with the rest of society, what I am stating is: what if they didn’t have to compete and had dominance in society?

admin answers:

Autism is NOT a mutation in the brain. When looking at fMRI scans and regular MRI scans, you will NOT find some defining anomoly characteristic of autism.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. One should keep in mind however, that autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees – this is why early diagnosis is so crucial. By learning the signs, a child can begin benefiting from one of the many specialized intervention programs (see treatment and education).

And you are right, it should not be considered a disorder. It only is due to social standards created today. Austistic people are just different. They use their brain differently, and sometimes very uniquely. Like the Rain Man.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome Symptoms

Linda asks…

What are the effects on the brain from aspergers’ syndrome?

I need to know what are the effects on the brain from Aspergers syndrome is. This is very important because i have to write a 3 page report on Aspergers’!

admin answers:

Hi I have pasred this from an article I found on the subject. You can find the rest on the source page listed below.

“Asperger’s syndrome (an autistic disorder) is characterized by stereotyped and obsessional behaviours, and pervasive abnormalities in socio?emotional and communicative behaviour. These symptoms lead to social exclusion and a significant healthcare burden; however, their neurobiological basis is poorly understood. There are few studies on brain anatomy of Asperger’s syndrome, and no focal anatomical abnormality has been reliably reported from brain imaging studies of autism, although there is increasing evidence for differences in limbic circuits. These brain regions are important in sensorimotor gating, and impaired ‘gating’ may partly explain the failure of people with autistic disorders to inhibit repetitive thoughts and actions. Thus, we compared brain anatomy and sensorimotor gating in healthy people with Asperger’s syndrome and controls. We included 21 adults with Asperger’s syndrome and 24 controls. All had normal IQ and were aged 18–49 years. We studied brain anatomy using quantitative MRI, and sensorimotor gating using prepulse inhibition of startle in a subset of 12 individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and 14 controls. We found significant age?related differences in volume of cerebral hemispheres and caudate nuclei (controls, but not people with Asperger’s syndrome, had age?related reductions in volume). Also, people with Asperger’s syndrome had significantly less grey matter in fronto?striatal and cerebellar regions than controls, and widespread differences in white matter. Moreover, sensorimotor gating was significantly impaired in Asperger’s syndrome. People with Asperger’s syndrome most likely have generalized alterations in brain development, but this is associated with significant differences from controls in the anatomy and function of specific brain regions implicated in behaviours characterizing the disorder. We hypothesize that Asperger’s syndrome is associated with abnormalities in fronto?striatal pathways resulting in defective sensorimotor gating, and consequently characteristic difficulties inhibiting repetitive thoughts, speech and actions.”

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Autism In The News, 2012, Week 28

Futurity.org – Rare mutations sharply spike autism risk

www.futurity.org7/18/12

Five rare mutations in a single gene appear to significantly increase the chances that a boy will develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), new research shows.

Futurity.org – Study: Immune system has role in autism

www.futurity.org7/18/12

“We have long suspected that the immune system plays a role in the development of autism spectrum disorder,” says Paul Patterson, a professor of biological sciences at Caltech, who led the work. “In our studies of a mouse

Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination – Care2.com (blog)

news.google.com

The mother of a teenage autistic son is suing the organization Autism Speaks for alleging rescinding a job offer after she asked if workplace accommodations might be possible due to her child’s needs.

That is, an organization that says it champions the needs of autistic individuals and their families is being sued for failing to accommodate the needs of a mother and of her autistic child.

Autism signs appear in baby’s brains as early as 6 months – Vitals

vitals.nbcnews.com2/17/12

The early signs of autism are visible in the brains of 6-month-old infants, a new study finds, suggesting that future treatments could be given at this time, to lessen the impact of the disorder on children.
Researchers looked at how the brain develops in early life, and found that tracts of white matter that connect different regions of the brain didn’t form as quickly in children who later developed autism, compared with kids who didn’t develop the disorder.Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/autism-mother-sues-autism-speaks-for-disability-discrimination.html#ixzz21H2BmAXf Tagged as: Autism

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Detecting The Early Signs Of Autism In Infant Brains

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 29 Jun 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Detecting The Early Signs Of Autism In Infant Brains
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A new study shows significant differences in brain development in high-risk infants who develop autism starting as early as age 6 months. The findings published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reveal that this abnormal brain development may be detected before the appearance of autism symptoms in an infant’s first year of life. Autism is typically diagnosed around the age of 2 or 3.

The study offers new clues for early diagnosis, which is key, as research suggests that the symptoms of autism – problems with communication, social interaction and behavior – can improve with early intervention. “For the first time, we have an encouraging finding that enables the possibility of developing autism risk biomarkers prior to the appearance of symptoms, and in advance of our current ability to diagnose autism,” says co-investigator Dr. Alan Evans at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – the Neuro, McGill University, which is the Data Coordinating Centre for the study.

“Infancy is a time when the brain is being organized and connections are developing rapidly,” says Dr. Evans. “Our international research team was able to detect differences in the wiring by six months of age in those children who went on to develop autism. The difference between high-risk infants that developed autism and those that did not was specifically in white matter tract development – fibre pathways that connect brain regions.” The study followed 92 infants from 6 months to age 2. All were considered at high-risk for autism, as they had older siblings with the developmental disorder. Each infant had a special type of MRI scan, known as diffusion tensor imaging, at 6 months and a behavioral assessment at 24 months. The majority also had additional scans at either or both 12 and 24 months.

At 24 months, 30% of infants in the study were diagnosed with autism. White matter tract development for 12 of the 15 tracts examined differed significantly between the infants that developed autism and those who did not. Researchers evaluated fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white matter organization based on the movement of water through tissue. Differences in FA values were greatest at 6 and 24 months. Early in the study, infants who developed autism showed elevated FA values along these tracts, which decreased over time, so that by 24 months autistic infants had lower FA values than infants without autism.

The study characterizes the dynamic age-related brain and behavior changes underlying autism – vital for developing tools to aid autistic children and their families. This is the latest finding from the on-going Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS), which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and brings together the expertise of a network of researchers from institutes across North America. The IBIS study is headquartered at the University of North Carolina, and The Neuro is the Data Coordinating Centre where all IBIS data is centralized.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The IBIS Network is supported by the NIH, Autism Speaks and the Simons Foundation.
McGill University Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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‘Detecting The Early Signs Of Autism In Infant Brains’

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Autism – Brain Biomarker May Predict Before Symptoms Appear

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Neurology / Neuroscience
Article Date: 18 Feb 2012 – 0:00 PST

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Considerable differences were found in white matter fiber tract development in the brains of high-risk 6 month-old infants who eventually developed symptoms of autism, compared to high-risk infants who did not, researchers from the Infant Brain Imaging Network reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

In this text, a “high-risk” infant is one who has an older sibling with autism.

Co-author, Sarah Paterson, PhD, said:

“It’s a tremendously exciting finding. We found that the brains of the children who developed autism were markedly different even prior to the onset of behavioral symptoms of autism. Thus, our findings, while requiring replication, are a very important first step towards identifying a biomarker for autism risk. This would enable specialists to diagnose autism much earlier than what is currently possible through behavioral observations.”
The authors added that autism signs and symptoms do not generally appear suddenly, but rather develop gradually during infancy. The earlier intensive intervention can begin, the better the outcomes tend to be for children with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder).

Paterson said:

“This research raises the possibility that we might be able to intervene even before a child is 6 months old, to blunt or prevent the development of some autism symptoms.”

Paterson and team gathered data on 92 high-risk infants. They all underwent DTI (diffusion tensor imaging); a type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), when they were six months old. Their behaviors were assessed when they reached two years of age. The majority of the children also had further brain scans at 12 and/or 24 months.

30% (28 total) of the children were found to have met the criteria for ASD at the age of two years, while 70% (64 of them) didn’t. White matter fiber tract development, as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA), was found to be different between the two groups when imaging scans were done at the age of 6 months. FA measures white matter development and organizations by observing how water molecules more through brain tissue.

The researchers examined 15 different fiber tracts. They found considerable differences in FA growth trajectories in 12 of them; the differences were clear between those who developed autism and those who did not.

FA at six months was elevated among the infants who went on to develop autism. However, development slowed down over time. By the time they were two years old, those with autism had inferior FA values compared to the other children.

A recent study, carried out in London and reported in Current Biology, found different brain responses in high-risk infants who were later diagnosed with the conditions, compared to low-risk ones, or high-risk ones who did not develop autism. In that study, the babies were shown pictures of faces that were either looking at them or looking away.

Paterson says that the two studies together provide more compelling evidence that researchers are successfully identifying markers for diagnosing autism and potential autism earlier on.

Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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9 Mar. 2012. APA

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posted by Madalina Lnte on 18 Feb 2012 at 6:16 am

Incredible discover! Thanks for sharing!

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‘Autism – Brain Biomarker May Predict Before Symptoms Appear’

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Unlocking Autism’s Mysteries: Predicting Autistic Brain Activity And Behavior

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Alzheimer’s / Dementia;  IT / Internet / E-mail
Article Date: 08 Mar 2012 – 1:00 PST

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New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Marcel Just provides an explanation for some of autism’s mysteries – from social and communication disorders to restricted interests – and gives scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies.

Autism has long been a scientific enigma, mainly due to its diverse and seemingly unrelated symptoms until now.

Published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Just and his team used brain imaging and computer modeling to show how the brain’s white matter tracts – the cabling that connects separated brain areas – are altered in autism and how these alterations can affect brain function and behavior. The deficiencies affect the tracts’ bandwidth – the speed and rate at which information can travel along the pathways.

“White matter is the unsung hero of the human brain,” said Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the university’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging. “In autistic individuals, we can measure the quality of the white matter, and our computer model can predict how coordinated their brain activity will be. This gives us a precise account of the underlying alterations affecting autistic thought.”

These findings build on Just’s 2004 influential “Frontal-Posterior Underconnectivity Theory of Autism,” which first discovered and explained that the synchronization of the activation between frontal and posterior brain areas is lower in autism. Since then, Just and his team have used more advanced imaging technologies, particularly diffusion imaging of white matter and sophisticated computer models to uncover that the white matter is also altered in autism. Using their computer model, they can relate the poorer quality of the white matter – connecting frontal and posterior brain areas – to the poorer synchronization in the frontal and posterior areas in individual people with autism.

The computer model is able to solve some visual puzzles called the Tower of London (used in neuropsychological testing of frontal lobe function) through the coordinated activity of several computational systems that correspond to frontal and posterior brain areas. The model makes it possible to manipulate the communication bandwidth between the frontal and posterior areas. The findings were that the inter-regional synchronization of activation in a particular individual’s brain could be predicted by calibrating the model’s frontal-posterior communication bandwidth to the quality of that individual’s white matter. Furthermore, the autism model solved the problems by relying less on frontal executive functioning and more on posterior “visual thinking.”

“The brain’s processing of social information is performed by a network of areas, some of which are frontal, and some of which are posterior,” Just explained. “Social impairments in autism are likely caused by the poor frontal-posterior connectivity. Similarly, language comprehension is performed by a network of frontal and posterior areas, and once again, poor connectivity may impair that network’s functioning.”

Just added, “This tells us where the problem lies in autism. We can now focus on designing therapies that attempt to either improve the white matter – something we have already proven is possible through behavioral interventions – or help the brain develop work-around strategies.”

In a groundbreaking study published in 2009, Just and his colleagues showed for the first time that compromised white matter in children with reading difficulties could be repaired with extensive behavioral therapy. Their imaging study showed that the brain locations that had been abnormal prior to the remedial training improved to normal levels after the training, and the reading performance in individual children improved by an amount that corresponded to the amount of white matter change.

“This new research and model makes way for modifying people’s brains and possibly helping people with autism. It also points at the likely source of autism,” Just said.

In addition to autism, these findings also have implications for a number of other psychiatric illnesses that involve white matter deficiencies, such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, providing a way to relate the anatomical deficiencies to thought processes.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The Autism Centers of Excellence, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of Naval Research funded this research.
For more information on this study and where leading cognitive neuroscientist Marcel Just sees this research going in the immediate future, watch this video: http://youtu.be/eSR94zW8mrA.
Carnegie Mellon University Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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Carnegie Mellon University. “Unlocking Autism’s Mysteries: Predicting Autistic Brain Activity And Behavior.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Mar. 2012. Web.
9 Mar. 2012. APA

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‘Unlocking Autism\’s Mysteries: Predicting Autistic Brain Activity And Behavior’

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