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Epigenetics research opens potential door to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders

Sai Ma, for­mer Vir­ginia Tech bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing Ph.D. stu­dent, and Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Vir­ginia Tech. Cred­it: Vir­ginia Tech

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Epi­ge­net­ic Changes Guide Devel­op­ment of Dif­fer­ent Brain Regions (Dana Foun­da­tion):

It’s one of the great­est stand­ing mys­ter­ies in neu­ro­science: Giv­en that each cell in the human body con­tains the same DNA, how, exact­ly, does the brain devel­op into dis­tinct func­tion­al regions, sup­port­ed by dif­fer­ent cell types? And how might that devel­op­men­tal pro­gram go awry, result­ing in neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders like schiz­o­phre­nia or autism? The answers may be the epigenome Read the rest of this entry »

Photobiomodulation: A new and promising way to enhance brain function

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As is increas­ing­ly evi­dent, there are mul­ti­ple meth­ods aimed at enhanc­ing brain func­tion.

Brain train­ing and mind­ful­ness prac­tices are com­mon­ly used. Sub­stance-based meth­ods are pop­u­lar too, includ­ing hal­lu­cino­gens in the form of plant extracts, and drugs. Same as tran­scra­nial direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tDCS) and tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic stim­u­la­tion (TMS): All of these are promis­ing but have been chal­lenged — for exam­ple, the repro­ducibil­i­ty of elec­tri­cal-based stim­u­la­tion results is increas­ing­ly ques­tioned. Read the rest of this entry »

Study combines neuroimaging with machine learning to predict, with 96% accuracy, whether high-risk 6-month-old babies will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 2

Researchers use brain imag­ing and machine learn­ing to pre­dict which high-risk infants will devel­op autism. Cred­it: Car­oli­na Insti­tute for Devel­op­men­tal Dis­abil­i­ties.

A Sin­gle Brain Scan Has Been Used to Accu­rate­ly Pre­dict Autism at Just 6 Months Old (Sci­ence alert)

Researchers have used brain scans and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence to spot dif­fer­ences in how key areas of infant brains syn­chro­nise, allow­ing them to accu­rate­ly pre­dict which babies would devel­op autism spec­trum dis­or­der (ASD) as a toddler…The research, led by sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at  Chapel Hill and Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, comes hot on the heels of an ear­li­er study that used two scans tak­en at 6 and 12 months to make a sim­i­lar pre­dic­tion.

Not only has this new method reduced the num­ber of scans required to make the Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds large gaps between research and practice in ADHD diagnosis and treatment

doctor-office-illustration

Most chil­dren with ADHD receive their care from com­mu­ni­ty-based pedi­a­tri­cians. Giv­en the large num­ber of school-age chil­dren who require eval­u­a­tion and treat­ment ser­vices for ADHD, and the adverse impact that poor qual­i­ty care can have on children’s devel­op­ment, it is impor­tant for chil­dren to rou­tine­ly receive care in the com­mu­ni­ty that is con­sis­tent with best-prac­tice guide­lines.

The Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics has clear­ly rec­og­nized this and pub­lished guide­lines for Read the rest of this entry »

Sensible and perplexing changes in ADHD diagnostic criteria (DSM-V)

Taking a Closer Look at ADHD Attention Deficit DisorderThe Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion recent­ly pub­lished DSM-V, the first major revi­sion to the diag­nos­tic man­u­al for psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders since 1994. In DSM-V, ADHD is includ­ed in the sec­tion on Neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal Dis­or­ders, rather than being grouped with the dis­rup­tive behav­ior dis­or­ders, i.e., Oppo­si­tion­al Defi­ant Dis­or­der and Con­duct Dis­or­der. This change bet­ter reflects the way ADHD is cur­rent­ly con­cep­tu­al­ized.

Below I review changes that have been made to the actu­al diag­nos­tic cri­te­ria for ADHD. Read the rest of this entry »

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