Research

Recent Autism Research – Possible Biomarkers and a New Treatment Methodology

By July 16, 2021No Comments

Functional connectivity within an anxiety network and associations with anxiety symptom severity in middle-aged adults with and without autism

Tung R, Reiter MA, Linke A, Kohli JS, Kinnear MK, Müller RA, Carper RA. Functional connectivity within an anxiety network and associations with anxiety symptom severity in middle-aged adults with and without autism. Autism Res. 2021 Jul 15. doi: 10.1002/aur.2579. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34264028.

  • “Anxiety is highly prevalent in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, few functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of ASDs have focused on anxiety (and fewer still on anxiety in middle-aged adults). Thus, relationships between atypical connectivity and anxiety in this population are poorly understood.”
  • “The current study contrasted functional connectivity within anxiety network regions across adults (40-64 years) with and without autism, and tested for group by functional connectivity interactions on anxiety. Twenty-two adults with ASDs (16 males) and 26 typical control (TC) adults (22 males) completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory and a resting-state fMRI scan.”
  • “Adults with autism were more anxious and showed weaker functional connections between these regions. Some relationships between functional connectivity and higher anxiety were specific to the autism group. Results suggest that anxiety functions differently in autism.”

Automatic classification of autism spectrum disorder in children using cortical thickness and support vector machine

Squarcina L, Nosari G, Marin R, Castellani U, Bellani M, Bonivento C, Fabbro F, Molteni M, Brambilla P. Automatic classification of autism spectrum disorder in children using cortical thickness and support vector machine. Brain Behav. 2021 Jul 15. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2238. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34264004.

  • “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition with a heterogeneous phenotype. The role of biomarkers in ASD diagnosis has been highlighted; cortical thickness has proved to be involved in the etiopathogenesis of ASD core symptoms. We apply support vector machine, a supervised machine learning method, in order to identify specific cortical thickness alterations in ASD subjects.”
  • “A sample of 76 subjects (9.5 ± 3.4 years old) has been selected, 40 diagnosed with ASD and 36 typically developed subjects. All children underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination; T1-MPRAGE sequences were analyzed to extract features for the characterization and parcellation of regions of interests (ROI); average cortical thickness (CT) has been measured for each ROI.”
  • “We found increased CT in various brain regions in ASD subjects, confirming their role in the pathogenesis of this condition. Considering the brain development curve during ages, these changes in CT may normalize during development. Further validation on a larger sample is required.”

Cariprazine alleviates core behavioral deficits in the prenatal valproic acid exposure model of autism spectrum disorder

Román V, Adham N, Foley AG, Hanratty L, Farkas B, Lendvai B, Kiss B. Cariprazine alleviates core behavioral deficits in the prenatal valproic acid exposure model of autism spectrum disorder. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2021 Jul 15. doi: 10.1007/s00213-021-05851-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34264367.

  • “The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of cariprazine, compared with risperidone and aripiprazole, in the rat prenatal valporic acid (VPA) exposure model on behavioral endpoints representing the core and associated symptoms of ASD.”
  • “To induce the ASD model, time-mated Wistar rat dams were treated with VPA during pregnancy. Male offspring were assigned to groups and studied in a behavioral test battery at different ages, employing social play, open field, social approach-avoidance, and social recognition memory tests. Animals were dosed orally, once a day for 8 days, with test compounds (cariprazine, risperidone, aripiprazole) or vehicle before behavioral assessment.”
  • “Cariprazine showed dose-dependent efficacy on all behavioral endpoints. In the social play paradigm, only cariprazine was effective. On the remaining behavioral endpoints, including the reversal of hyperactivity, risperidone and aripiprazole displayed similar efficacy to cariprazine.”

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