Breaking News
August 21, 2018 - Clinical Trials Balance Out Urban, Rural Cancer Survival Rates
August 21, 2018 - New target found for treating thoracic aortic aneurysm
August 21, 2018 - Tumor cells’ ‘tells’ may allow some cancer patients to dodge unnecessary chemotherapy
August 21, 2018 - Dehydration changes shape and activity of the brain, reduces task performance
August 21, 2018 - Scientists discover peptides that can be used as new antibiotic candidates
August 21, 2018 - ‘Compulsivity circuit’ may drive alcohol-seeking behavior in heavy drinkers
August 21, 2018 - Type 2 diabetes on the rise among youngsters
August 21, 2018 - Genital warts may promote HIV sexual transmission
August 21, 2018 - Drop the C-word to reduce anxiety and overtreatment, say experts
August 21, 2018 - Kid-friendly MRI equipment has advantages for grown-ups, too
August 21, 2018 - Scleroderma Foundation names Tulane professor as ‘Doctor of the Year’
August 21, 2018 - Chagas disease causes chronic heart disease and has spread outside of Latin America
August 21, 2018 - FDA stirs debate by approving ‘natural’ app
August 21, 2018 - Clay may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds
August 21, 2018 - Emerging field of diabetology could address growing crisis in health care
August 21, 2018 - Experts examine stool protein biomarkers that indicate inflammatory bowel disease
August 21, 2018 - Orphazyme Announces Enrollment of First Patient in Phase III Clinical Trial of Arimoclomol for ALS
August 21, 2018 - Ovarian cancer cells hoard iron to fuel growth
August 21, 2018 - New Biodesign fellows will focus on vision care
August 21, 2018 - Prenatal DDT Exposure Associated with Greater Risk of Autism
August 21, 2018 - Cruciferous vegetables found to protect against colon cancer in mice
August 21, 2018 - New studies point to a promising future for bioengineered teeth
August 21, 2018 - ACR expresses concerns on step therapy in a recent meeting with HSS Secretary
August 21, 2018 - Gene therapy with telomerase does not increase cancer risk, study shows
August 21, 2018 - Ovarian cancer screening influenced by unconscious bias, study shows
August 21, 2018 - Scientists report novel gene therapy that halts vision loss in canine model of blinding disease
August 21, 2018 - RxBenefits introduces new tailored and flexible approach to managing hospital pharmacy benefits
August 21, 2018 - Motif Bio Announces FDA Acceptance of New Drug Application With Priority Review for Iclaprim for Treatment of Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infections
August 21, 2018 - Google Glass helps kids with autism read facial expressions, study finds
August 21, 2018 - Thrombospondin-1 contributes to development of aortic aneurysm in mice and humans, study finds
August 21, 2018 - National Foundation for Cancer Research receives Safeway Foundation grant
August 21, 2018 - Protein aggregation in neurons linked to gene regulation in Huntington’s disease
August 21, 2018 - Aravive Biologics gains Fast Track Designation for AVB-S6-500 from U.S. FDA
August 21, 2018 - FDA Approves Opdivo (nivolumab) for Certain Patients with Previously Treated Small Cell Lung Cancer
August 21, 2018 - Success of blood test for autism affirmed
August 21, 2018 - Diabetic patients with disrupted sleep may need more time to heal their wounds
August 21, 2018 - AADE honors six educators for achievements in diabetes education
August 21, 2018 - Scientists find two molecules that may combat cancer and chronic infections
August 21, 2018 - Two Strategies for Preventing Diabetes in Minority Patients
August 21, 2018 - Living as a Gallbladder Cancer Survivor
August 21, 2018 - Can we predict the long-term outcome of boys with ADHD?
August 21, 2018 - GBCA creates model for developing scientist-advocate collaborations in cancer research
August 21, 2018 - Healthy diet could help promote healthy cellular aging in women
August 21, 2018 - Researchers develop gene expression predictor for immunotherapy response in melanoma
August 21, 2018 - Genome sequences of ape parasites provide insights on origin and early evolution of malaria
August 21, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory introduces Morris Scientific Discovery Fund for eligible research programs
August 21, 2018 - Pediatric brain tumor patients who undergo radiation less likely to recall recently experienced events
August 21, 2018 - Micro-flow model reveals complex interactions between the brain’s blood vessels and nerve cells
August 21, 2018 - Study investigates impact of osteoporosis on risk of developing dementia
August 21, 2018 - Federal method fails to detect most stores that sell cigarettes to minors
August 21, 2018 - Workers in open office seating have less stress than those in private offices and cubicles
August 21, 2018 - 1 in 4 in U.S. Has a Disability, CDC Reports
August 21, 2018 - Studies provide new insights into the role of sleep in chronic pain
August 21, 2018 - Study shows that rogue proteins may underlie some ALS and frontotemporal dementia cases
August 21, 2018 - Elevated LDL cholesterol levels linked to higher risk of CVD death in young, healthy people
August 21, 2018 - Measles cases on the rise in Europe
August 21, 2018 - CURE Media Group welcomes CancerCare to Strategic Alliance Partnership Program
August 21, 2018 - Blood management program associated with fewer transfusions in orthopedic patients
August 21, 2018 - Researchers create the world’s first artificial retina
August 21, 2018 - Yale researchers identify racial disparities in prescribing opioids for chronic pain
August 21, 2018 - BOOST-3 clinical trial aims to improve outcomes for severe TBI patients
August 21, 2018 - New study highlights Alzheimer’s herpes link, experts say
August 21, 2018 - Airline crew don’t have significantly elevated risk of thyroid cancer, new study finds
August 21, 2018 - States leverage federal funds to help insurers lower premiums
August 21, 2018 - New badge course explores research around skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ
August 21, 2018 - TG Therapeutics Announces Completion of Target Enrollment in the ULTIMATE Phase 3 Trials in Multiple Sclerosis
August 21, 2018 - Increased levels of human herpesvirus ID’d in Alzheimer’s
August 21, 2018 - To help patients quash pain, researcher develops practical guide for health care providers
August 20, 2018 - Medicine on the front line to be presented at Medical Innovation 2018
August 20, 2018 - Harbour Biomed and Kelun-Biotech collaborate to develop, commercialize anti-PD-L1 antibody
August 20, 2018 - The man who sold America on vitamin D — and profited in the process
August 20, 2018 - Finding the light in antimicrobials
August 20, 2018 - Unique pain program helps surgical patients wean off opioids safely and effectively
August 20, 2018 - Strawberries could mitigate colonic inflammation
August 20, 2018 - FDA Accepts New Drug Application (NDA) to Review Midazolam Nasal Spray, an Investigational Product for the Acute Treatment of Seizure Clusters
August 20, 2018 - Using Facebook to help young adults quit smoking
August 20, 2018 - ‘Liquid biopsy’ predicts lymphoma therapy success within days | News Center
August 20, 2018 - 5 Questions with Jordan Orange, Chair of Pediatrics
August 20, 2018 - New assay may help improve both sarcoma diagnosis and treatment
August 20, 2018 - New information on the brain regions related to metacognition, tactile sense
Brain stimulation restores social behavior in mice

Brain stimulation restores social behavior in mice

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
A magnified image of a mouse cerebellar section shows multiple layers. New research shows this part of the brain may be a target for treating autism through brain stimulation. Credit: UTSW

Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.

The research from the O’Donnell Brain Institute provides the first evidence that a specific part of the cerebellum, a region near the brain stem that has long been thought to only have roles in coordinating movement, is critical for autistic behaviors. It also establishes a more accessible target for brain stimulation than many autism-related neural circuits that are buried deep within the brain’s folds.

“This is potentially quite a powerful finding,” said Dr. Peter Tsai, who directed the research from UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. “From a therapeutic standpoint, this part of the cerebellum is an enticing target. And although neuromodulation would not cure the underlying genetic cause of a person’s autism, improving social deficits in children with autism could make a huge impact on their quality of life.”

The research – the cover story of December’s Nature Neuroscience – utilized neuromodulation to demonstrate that humans and mice have parallel connections between specific domains within the cerebellum and cerebral cortex that have been implicated in autism studies. Subsequent phases of the study showed that disrupting the function within the cerebellar domain resulted in autistic behaviors and that brain stimulation corrected social impairment in mice.

The next step is to ensure the same technique would be safe to conduct on children. Although doctors have safely applied cerebellar neuromodulation to disorders such as schizophrenia, it has not been studied in children with autism.

Dr. Tsai is planning on changing this situation through future studies at UT Southwestern’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

MRIs of a human brain and mouse brain highlight in red a domain in the cerebellum that scientists believe can be a new target in treating autism. Neuromodulation in this area of the brain corrected social impairment in mice. Credit: UTSW

“This area of the brain has not received the attention it deserves in regards to understanding autism,” said Dr. Tsai, noting that most of the focus of autism research has been on the cortex, a region of the brain associated with cognition.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects approximately 1 in 68 children in the U.S. It is characterized by social interaction and communication challenges, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.

To better understand the cerebellum’s role in mediating these behaviors, Dr. Tsai’s team used neuromodulation to show that humans and mice have parallel connections between the Right CrusI domain of the cerebellum and the cortex’s inferior parietal lobule.

The study authors next used brain imaging to demonstrate that those same connections are disrupted in a cohort of autistic children and an autism mouse model. They further showed that disrupting function within Right CrusI in normal mice resulted in impaired social interaction and abnormal, repetitive behaviors.

The team went further and asked whether neuromodulation could improve behaviors. By stimulating neurons in Right CrusI of the autism mouse model, the scientists showed that cerebellar stimulation improved social behaviors but not the repetitive behaviors characteristic of autism in these mice.

Dr. Tsai said the limited effects may reflect the involvement of additional parts of the cerebellum or perhaps the restricted timeframe for which some behaviors can be corrected. However, he also noted that this neuromodulation restored social behaviors even in adult mice. This result suggests autistic children may still benefit from treatments even if intervention is delayed until later in life.

“Our findings have prompted new thoughts on how the cerebellum may be involved in autism and most importantly suggest that the cerebellum could be a therapeutic target for treatment,” said Dr. Tsai, Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics, who cares for children with autism and cerebellar disorders as part of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.


Explore further:
Deleting a single gene results in autism-like behavior; immunosuppressant drug prevents symptoms

More information:
Catherine J. Stoodley et al. Altered cerebellar connectivity in autism and cerebellar-mediated rescue of autism-related behaviors in mice, Nature Neuroscience (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41593-017-0004-1

Journal reference:
Nature Neuroscience

Provided by:
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles