Chapter 7. Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior

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By Elizabeth Pennisi One of biology’s enduring mysteries is how some animals—from humans to honey bees—became so social. Now, a study suggests that, in the inconspicuous sweat bee, changes to the expression of a single gene could determine which bees are solitary and which are social. The gene, which has previously been linked to autism in humans, has also been connected to social behavior in animals like mice and locusts. The new discovery puts scientists one step closer toward demonstrating a common evolutionary basis for social behavior. “People have been taking about the genetics of sociality for years,” says Bernard Crespi, an evolutionary biologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, who was not involved with the work. “Finding this gene is a real watershed for the field.” Sweat bees don’t have the same massive colonies as honey bees, whose hundreds of workers care for and protect a single egg-laying queen. But the tiny, gentle bees have some interesting social arrangements: In some groups and species, workers help a reproducing queen, as honey bees do; in other groups, sweat bee females tend their own broods. This difference has led scientists to think sweat bees may hold the key to understanding how more complex insect societies began to evolve. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Autism; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25592 - Posted: 10.18.2018

Kerry Grens Nicotine can wield its effects on offspring in more ways than from exposures in utero or secondhand smoke: the sperm of mice that ingested nicotine carry epigenetic signatures of that exposure, a study published in PLOS Biology today (October 16) reports. The result might explain why the experiments also found the male mice’s offspring—and grandoffspring—exhibited abnormal behavior and learning impairments. “Until now, much attention had been focused on the effects of maternal nicotine exposure on their children,” Florida State University’s Pradeep Bhide, who led the study, tells The Boston Globe in an email. “Not much had been known about the effects of paternal smoking on their children and grandchildren. Our study shows that paternal nicotine exposure can be deleterious for the offspring in multiple generations.” To investigate paternal exposure, Bhide’s team spiked male mice’s drinking water with nicotine for 12 weeks. The researchers then bred those animals with unexposed females, and mated the offspring to produce the third generation. The second- and third-generation mice underwent a battery of cognitive and behavioral tests to see if their father’s or grandfather’s nicotine exposure had any effect. On some examinations, the mice performed typically, but they didn’t do as well on certain learning tasks as mice whose parent or grandparent had not been given nicotine. The second generation also exhibited hyperactivity and had lower levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain than the offspring of unexposed animals had. © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Epigenetics; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 25588 - Posted: 10.18.2018

By Nicholas Bakalar Having pre-eclampsia — dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy — is linked to an increased risk for dementia later in life, according to a new study. Up to 5 percent of pregnant women develop pre-eclampsia, usually after the 20th week. In addition to hypertension, the condition can include signs of diminished kidney or liver function. Researchers followed the 1,178,005 Danish women who had given birth between 1978 and 2015. More than 58,000 of them had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. The study is in BMJ. Having pre-eclampsia doubled the risk for vascular dementia, and quadrupled the risk for women over 65. There was a modest association of pre-eclampsia with Alzheimer’s disease, and none with any other type of dementia. “My advice to a woman who has had pre-eclampsia is the same for dementia as it would be for cardiovascular risk,” said the senior author, Heather A. Boyd, a researcher at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. “Get the hypertension down, get the weight within normal range, work on lowering the risk for Type 2 diabetes. We still need to confirm this finding in other populations, and then we need to figure out what to do about it. We don’t know at this point what the intervention should be.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Alzheimers
Link ID: 25587 - Posted: 10.18.2018

By Lena H. Sun Federal health officials took the unusual step on Tuesday of warning the public about an increase in a mysterious and rare condition that mostly affects children and can cause paralysis. So far this year, 127 confirmed or suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a significant increase over 2017 and a worrying perpetuation of a disease for which there is little understanding. Of the cases announced Tuesday, 62 have been confirmed in 22 states, according to Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the CDC. More than 90 percent of the confirmed cases have been in children 18 and younger, with the average age being 4 years old. The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases. They also wanted to raise awareness about the condition so parents can seek medical care if their child develops symptoms, and so physicians can quickly relay reports of the potential illness to the CDC. “We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned about AFM,” said Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Despite extensive laboratory and other testing, CDC has not been able to find the cause for the majority of the cases. “There is a lot we don’t know about AFM, and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness." © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Movement Disorders; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25586 - Posted: 10.17.2018

Laura Sanders WASHINGTON — As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder increases, so too has research on the complex and poorly understood disorder. With powerful genetic tools, advanced brain-imaging methods and large groups of children to study, the field is poised to make big contributions in understanding — and potentially treating — autism. Neuroscientist Kevin Pelphrey, who is formerly of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., but has recently moved to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, studies autism’s beginnings. He described some of his findings about the link between brain development and the disorder on October 15 at a meeting of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Here are some of the key points Pelphrey made on how autism may get its start in the developing brain, how the disorder is different between boys and girls, and how large, long-term studies of children with autism might yield clues about the condition. What causes autism spectrum disorder? For most cases, no one knows. There’s likely no single cause — environmental and genetic risk factors work in combination. In some children, rare mutations in key genes have been linked to the disorder. More commonly, many genetic changes, each with a small influence on overall risk, may increase a child’s likelihood of developing the disorder. With the number of autism diagnoses growing, partly due to better detection, researchers are looking at potential factors beyond genetics, such as parents’ age, premature birth and maternal obesity. When does the disorder begin? |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 20

Keyword: Autism
Link ID: 25584 - Posted: 10.17.2018

By Jonathan D. Grinstein For the 50 million individuals worldwide ailing from Alzheimer’s disease, the announcements by pharmaceutical giants earlier this year that they will end research on therapeutics were devastating. The news is even more devastating considering projections that 100 million more people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease across the globe by 2050, all potentially without a medical means to better their quality of life. As it happens, though, the pursuit of a therapeutic has been given a lifeline. New research shows that physical exercise can “clean up” the hostile environments in the brains of Alzheimer’s mice, allowing new nerve cells in the hippocampus, the brain structure involved in memory and learning, to enable cognitive improvements, such as learning and memory. These findings imply that pharmacological agents that enrich the hippocampal environment to boost cell growth and survival might be effective to recuperate brain health and function in human Alzheimer’s disease patients. The brain of an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is a harsh place filled with buildups of harmful nerve cell junk—amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles—and dramatic loss of nerve cells and connections that occur with severe cognitive decline, such as memory loss. Targeting and disrupting this harmful junk, specifically amyloid plaques, to restore brain function has been the basis of many failed clinical trials. This futility has led to a re-evaluation of the amyloid hypothesis—the central dogma for Alzheimer’s disease pathology based on the toxic accumulation of amyloid plaques. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Alzheimers
Link ID: 25583 - Posted: 10.17.2018

By Jessica Wright Among the many things a woman is supposed to avoid when pregnant are antidepressants, particularly a subtype of the drugs that some studies have linked to an increased risk of autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Yet the evidence linking antidepressants to autism is thin. And untreated depression is dangerous for a mother and her child. Here we explain what scientists know about the link between antidepressants and autism. Does taking antidepressants during pregnancy increase the odds that your child will have autism? Maybe, but even if so, the risk is small. Several studies have looked at the health records of thousands of women for any boost in autism rates among the children of those who took antidepressants while pregnant. Some of these studies found up to a doubling of the odds of the women having a child with autism. However, because the initial risk of autism is small, this increase still adds up to a low absolute risk. More important, women who take antidepressants may have other traits that are responsible for the increased rates of autism in their children. Many studies that control for these traits conclude that there is no risk from the antidepressants themselves. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Autism; Depression
Link ID: 25580 - Posted: 10.16.2018

Ashley P. Taylor Researchers have long believed that autism spectrum disorder is caused by some sort of imbalance between excitation and inhibition in the brain. In particular, studies have suggested that something is unusual about signaling controlled by the inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), whether it be lower levels of GABA or the receptor it binds to. But a study published last week (October 3) in Science Translational Medicine, which zeroed in on GABA receptor levels, finds no evidence that their abundance is any different between people with autism and people without. “We were unable to identify that individuals with autism had differences in GABAA receptor binding,” says Declan Murphy, a psychiatrist who studies brain development and neuropsychiatric disorders at King’s College London, who co-led the work with the Karolinska Institute’s Jacqueline Borg. “That’s important because it had previously been reported that they do have abnormalities in GABAA receptor binding, number one, and number two, it’s important because GABAA is a target of a number of pharmaceutical companies in terms of developing new treatments,” Murphy adds. GABAA is the most common form of the neurotransmitter in human brains, and since the early 2000s, reports have been piling up that associate deficits in the production of GABA or in GABA receptors to autism. For instance, studies in postmortem brains of people who had autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and of neurotypical subjects, led by Gene Blatt, a neuroscientist at the Hussman Institute for Autism in Baltimore, had found that people who had ASD had lower levels of the enzyme that makes GABA. Blatt’s investigations also found that people with ASD had lower GABAA receptor levels in the cingulate cortex and hippocampus. And an in vivo study by another group had detected reduced GABAA levels in the brains of children with ASD. © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist.

Keyword: Autism
Link ID: 25579 - Posted: 10.16.2018

By Hannah Furfaro, RICAURTE, COLOMBIA—It's late afternoon in this tiny town tucked into the Colombian Andes, when Mercedes Triviño, 82, lights the wood stove to start to prepare dinner. Smoke fills the two-bedroom home she shares with six of her adult children. Francia, 38, one of the youngest, is the family's primary breadwinner. She brings home 28,000 Colombian pesos (roughly $10) a day harvesting papayas in the fields just outside town. "Really, what I earn is just enough for eating and nothing else," she says. Four of her siblings have fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and often autism. Jair, 57, works alongside Francia when he can. Hector, 45, is also somewhat able to care for himself. Victor, 55, and Joanna, 35—who has both fragile X and Down syndrome—are less independent. As Mercedes serves coffee on this July afternoon, sweetening it with a hefty dose of sugar and offering her best cups to her guests, she talks about the condition that dominates the lives of her family and many others here. Her niece, Patricia, 48, who lives a few blocks away, cares for two adult sons and a nephew with fragile X. More distant kin in town, the Quinteros, also have grown children with the condition. Other neighbors are adults with fragile X who have no caretaker and look after one another. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Development of the Brain; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25570 - Posted: 10.12.2018

Cassie Martin A new microscope is giving researchers an unprecedented view of how mammals are built, cell by cell. Light sheet microscopes use ultrathin laser beams to illuminate sections of a specimen while cameras record those lit-up sections. Previous iterations of the device have captured detailed portraits of living zebra fish and fruit fly embryos as they develop. Kate McDole, a developmental biologist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., and colleagues used a new-and-improved version to monitor the development of a larger, more complex organism: the mouse. Algorithms in the microscope tracked six-day-old mouse embryos in real time over roughly two days, keeping the device focused on the cell clusters as they grew. A suite of computer programs used the data — about a million images per embryo — to map the life history of each embryo’s every cell, the team reports October 11 in Cell. The result: dazzling views of mouse organs taking shape. As an embryo rapidly expands in size, the gut starts to form when part of the embryo collapses into a craterlike hole. And a structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord, called a neural tube, appears like a comet shooting across the night sky. Researchers also captured the first beats of heart cells. “These are processes no one has been able to watch before,” McDole says. Seeing the gut form in minutes was stunning. “We never expected it to be that fast or that dramatic. It’s not like you can Google these things.” |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Keyword: Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25568 - Posted: 10.12.2018

By Carolyn Y. Johnson Kiara Eldred sometimes compares her nine-month-long scientific experiments, growing tiny human retinas in a laboratory dish, to raising children. Eldred, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, starts by growing thousands of stem cells and feeding them nutrients and chemicals that will steer them to develop into the retina, the part of the eye that translates light into the signals that lead to vision. After two weeks of painstaking cultivation, those cells typically generate 20 to 60 tiny balls of cells, called retinal organoids. As they mature, these nascent retinas get dirty and slough off lots of cells, so they also need to be washed off when they’re fed every other day — at least for the first month and a half. After nine months of assiduous care, Eldred has a batch of miniature human retinas that respond to light, are about two millimeters in diameter and are shaped like a tennis ball cut in half. But growing the organoids is only the first step. In a new study in the journal Science, Eldred and colleagues described using this system to understand a fundamental question about vision that has remained surprisingly mysterious: How does color vision develop? © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Vision; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25565 - Posted: 10.12.2018

By Christine Hauser Health authorities in the United States said this week that they were investigating an unusual spike in cases of a rare condition that causes limb paralysis and severe muscle weakness in children. Since mid-September, six cases of the condition, acute flaccid myelitis, in children under 10 years old have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, the agency said. Another two possible cases are pending confirmation, officials said. The number of cases of the illness, also known as A.F.M., is the highest in the state since 2014, when there were three reported cases, the health authorities said. Minnesota typically records one case of A.F.M. each year, and some years it does not have any at all, the department said. Officials have not found a specific cause for the illness. On Tuesday, the health authorities said three children suspected to have A.F.M. were being treated at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Officials in Colorado said this week that they were investigating a viral infection outbreak among children that included 14 cases of A.F.M. this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has seen an increasing number of people across the United States with the serious condition in the past four years. A.F.M. affects the nervous system and causes, mostly in children, paralysis similar to polio. The signs include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs; neck weakness or stiffness; a drooping face or eyelids; difficulty swallowing; and slurred speech, health officials say. Parents usually notice the child’s loss of the use of an arm or a leg. That was the case with Orville Young, a 4-year-old boy in Minnesota who lost mobility in his right arm and had difficulty sitting up and moving his legs. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Movement Disorders; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25562 - Posted: 10.11.2018

Richard Harris If you are one of the 5.7 million Americans who ends up in the intensive care unit each year, you are at high risk of developing long-term mental effects like dementia and confusion. These mental problems can be as pronounced as those experienced by people with Alzheimer's disease or a traumatic brain injury and many patients never fully recover. But research shows you are less likely to suffer those effects if the doctors and nurses follow a procedure that's gaining ground in ICUs nationwide. The steps are part of a bundle of actions aimed at reducing delirium in ICU patients. Doctors define delirium as a usually temporary state of mental confusion characterized by a lack of focus, difficulty in understanding what's going on around you and, sometimes, hallucinations. Following this checklist of actions can reduce the risk of mental impairment following an ICU stay by 25 to 30 percent, says Dr. E. Wesley "Wes" Ely at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (This post-ICU condition is separate from memory problems that can arise after heart surgery and general anesthesia in the elderly). It isn't simply detailed medical care — it's a philosophy. "I think the most modifiable piece of this is what we do to the patient," Ely says. "And what we do to the patient [that] is dangerous is immobilize them chemically [with drugs] and physically, and then not allow the family there, and allow them to subsist in delirium." © 2018 npr

Keyword: Alzheimers; Stress
Link ID: 25559 - Posted: 10.11.2018

By Melissa Bailey, Kaiser Health News Some patients refuse to answer. Many doctors don’t ask. Family members worry about offending a suffering loved one. As the number of Americans with dementia rises, health professionals are grappling with when and how to pose the question: “Do you have guns at home?” While gun violence data is scarce, a Kaiser Health News investigation with PBS NewsHour published in June uncovered over 100 cases across the United States since 2012 in which people with dementia used guns to kill themselves or others. The shooters often acted during bouts of confusion, paranoia, delusion or aggression — common symptoms of dementia. Tragically they shot spouses, children and caregivers. Yet health care providers across the country say they have not received enough guidance on whether, when and how to counsel families on gun safety. Dr. Altaf Saadi, a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been practicing medicine for five years, said that she recently realized that talking to patients with cognitive decline about guns in the home was a “blind spot” in her clinical practice. She looked up the American Academy of Neurology’s advice on treating dementia patients. Its guidelines suggest doctors consider asking about “access to firearms or other weapons” during a safety screen — but they don’t say what to do if a patient does have guns. With a dearth of national gun safety data, there are no scientific standards for when a health care provider should discuss gun access for people with cognitive impairment or at what point in dementia’s progression a person becomes unfit to handle a gun. Most doctors don’t ask about firearms, research has found. In a 2014 study, 58 percent of internists surveyed reported never asking whether patients have guns at home. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Alzheimers
Link ID: 25557 - Posted: 10.10.2018

Richard Harris Doctors have gradually come to realize that people who survive a serious brush with death in the intensive care unit are likely to develop potentially serious problems with their memory and thinking processes. This dementia, a side-effect of intensive medical care, can be permanent. And it affects as many as half of all people who are rushed to the ICU after a medical emergency. Considering that 5.7 million Americans end up in intensive care every year, this is a major problem which, until recently, has been poorly appreciated by medical caregivers. Take, for example, the story of Richard Langford, a 63-year-old retired minister who lives with his mother in East Nashville. He went into the hospital for knee surgery 10 years ago, "because I was playing tennis with an 85-year-old and he beat my butt," Langford says with a chuckle. "So I wanted fresh knees to help me play better." But after that routine knee surgery, Langford developed a serious lung infection, which sent him to the intensive care unit. He had developed sepsis, a life-threatening condition sometimes called blood poisoning. With sepsis, the body overreacts to an infection and that can lead to crashing blood pressure, multiple organ failure and often death. During his four-week stay in the hospital and the rehab that followed, Langford suffered from long spells of delirium. That's a state of muddled thought, confusion and even at times hallucinations in some patients. All Langford remembers is the sensation of a near-death experience. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Alzheimers; Stress
Link ID: 25553 - Posted: 10.10.2018

Jon Hamilton As a specialist in Alzheimer's prevention, Jessica Langbaum knows that exercising her mental muscles can help keep her brain sharp. But Langbaum, who holds a doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology, has no formal mental fitness program. She doesn't do crossword puzzles or play computer brain games. "Just sitting down and doing Sudoku isn't probably going to be the one key thing that's going to prevent you from developing Alzheimer's disease," she says. Instead of using a formal brain training program, she simply goes to work. "My job is my daily cognitive training," says Langbaum, the associate director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix. And that's true of most working people. "While you're still in the work force you are getting that daily challenge of multitasking, of remembering things, of processing information," she says. Langbaum offers that perspective as someone who has spent years studying the effects of brain training programs, and as someone who has seen Alzheimer's up close. "My grandfather was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment when I was in graduate school getting my Ph.D.," she says. "That transitioned into full-blown Alzheimer's dementia." So Langbaum began to ask herself a question: "How can I in my career help ensure that we aren't suffering from the disease when we reach that age?" And she realized early on that puzzles and games weren't the answer because they tend to focus on one very narrow task. The result is like exercising just one muscle in your body, Langbaum says. That muscle will get stronger, but your overall fitness isn't going to change. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Learning & Memory; Alzheimers
Link ID: 25546 - Posted: 10.08.2018

By Carl Zimmer People of Asian and European descent — almost anyone with origins outside of Africa — have inherited a sliver of DNA from some unusual ancestors: the Neanderthals. These genes are the result of repeated interbreeding long ago between Neanderthals and modern humans. But why are those genes still there 40,000 years after Neanderthals became extinct? As it turns out, some of them may protect humans against infections. In a study published on Thursday, scientists reported new evidence that modern humans encountered new viruses — including some related to influenza, herpes and H.I.V. — as they expanded out of Africa roughly 70,000 years ago. Some of those infections may have been picked up directly from Neanderthals. Without immunity to pathogens they had never encountered, modern humans were particularly vulnerable. “We were actually able to not only say, ‘Yes, modern humans and Neanderthals exchanged viruses,’” said David Enard, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona and co-author of the new paper, published in the journal Cell. “We are able to start saying something about which types of viruses were involved.” But if Neanderthals made us sick, they also helped keep us well. Some of the genes inherited from them through interbreeding also protected our ancestors from these infections, just as they protected the Neanderthals. Lluis Quintana-Murci, a geneticist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris who was not involved in the new research, said that until now, scientists had not dreamed of getting such a glimpse at the distant medical history of our species. “Five years ago, we would never have imagined that,” he said. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Evolution; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25533 - Posted: 10.05.2018

By Simon Makin Neuroscientists know a lot about how individual neurons operate but remarkably little about how large numbers of them work together to produce thoughts, feelings and behavior. They need a wiring diagram for the brain—known as a connectome—to identify the circuits that underlie the organ’s functions. Now researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and their colleagues have developed an innovative brain-mapping technique and used it to trace the connections emanating from nearly 600 neurons in a mouse brain’s main visual area in just three weeks. This technology could someday be used to help understand disorders thought to involve atypical brain wiring, such as autism or schizophrenia. The technique works by tagging cells with genetic “bar codes.” Researchers inject viruses into mice brains, where the viruses direct cells to produce random 30-letter RNA sequences (consisting of the nucleotide “letters” G, A, U and C). The cells also create a protein that binds to these RNA bar codes and drags them the length of each neuron’s output wire, or axon. The researchers later dissect the mice brains into target regions and sequence the cells in each area, enabling them to determine which tagged neurons are connected to which regions. The team found that neurons in a mouse’s primary visual cortex typically send outputs to multiple other visual areas. It also discovered that most cells fall into six distinct groups based on which regions—and how many of them—they connect to. This finding suggests there are subtypes of neurons in a mouse’s primary visual cortex that perform different functions. “Because we have so many neurons, we can do statistics and start understanding the patterns we see,” says Cold Spring Harbor’s Justus Kebschull, co-lead author of the study, which was published in April in Nature. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Brain imaging; Autism
Link ID: 25527 - Posted: 10.04.2018

Sukanya Charuchandra More and more children around the world are being born to obese mothers than ever before. In the United States, 23.4 percent of women are obese before they become pregnant—a number that represents a growing phenomenon. From 1994 to 2014, the rate of women who were obese prior to pregnancy in the country shot up 86 percent, according to a nationwide nutrition program registry. The increasingly common condition has been associated with children being born obese as well as showing a greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cognitive and behavioral difficulties, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Incidentally, a growing numbers of children are being diagnosed with mental disorders, with up to one in five children in the US experiencing conditions that challenge their mental health in any single year. This summer alone, multiple studies have found that different facets of moms’ metabolic health and weight are linked with a greater risk for children being diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and mild neurodevelopmental problems. In June, Thomas Buchanan of the University of Southern Carolina and his colleagues reported how expectant mothers’ diabetes—experienced by one in 16 pregnant women in the US—is tied to a baby’s chances developing autism. The researchers found a clear divide: Mothers with a diabetes diagnosis by their 26th week of pregnancy gave birth to children with a higher likelihood of being on the autism spectrum compared to mothers with no diabetes or who received a diagnosis after their 26th week. “There appeared to be not a technical dose-response relationship, but a relationship in severity, according to the severity and timing of the diabetes: the more severe and earlier, the more the risk of autism,” Buchanan tells The Scientist. © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Autism; Obesity
Link ID: 25522 - Posted: 10.03.2018

Sarah Boseley and agencies One in two women will develop dementia or Parkinson’s disease, or have a stroke, in their lifetime, new research suggests. About a third of men aged 45 and half of women of the same age are likely to go on to be diagnosed with one of the conditions, according to a study of more than 12,000 people. The researchers, from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, said preventive measures could “substantially” reduce the burden of the illnesses. The findings have been published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. The health of 12,102 people was monitored between 1990 and 2016, with all participants initially under the age of 45. During this period 1,489 were diagnosed with dementia and 263 with parkinsonism – the generic term for a range of symptoms that can be seen in someone with Parkinson’s disease – while 1,285 had a stroke. The overall risk of a 45-year-old later developing one of the three conditions was 48% for women and 36% for men, the researchers said. Dementia was of greatest concern for women, who at 45 years old had a 25.9% risk of going on to develop the condition, compared with 13.7% for men. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Alzheimers; Parkinsons
Link ID: 25517 - Posted: 10.02.2018