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Showing posts from July, 2017

Targeting Dendritic Spines to Improve Cognitive Function and Behavior in Autism; plus Hair Loss/Graying

I have written several posts about dendritic spines and their varying shapes (morphology).This sounds like a rather obscure subject, but it looks like it may be a key area where both behavior and cognition can be modified, even later in life.

Homer Simson after using a Wnt Activator
Dendritic spines
In a typical neuron (brain cell) you have dendrites at one end and so-called axon terminals at the other. When neurons connect with each other, an axon terminal connects with a dendritic spine from another close by neuron.Axons transmit electrochemical signals from one neuron to the dendrites of other neurons.The junction formed between a dendritic spine and an axon terminal is called a synapse.

One neuron can have as many as 15,000 spines, some of which are picking up signals from axon terminals of other neurons. The number and shape of these spines is constantly changing and not surprisingly defects in this process affect both cognition and behavior. The other end of the neuron, with the axon …

Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and Cannabidiol (CBD) in Autism

Today�s post is another one to fill in some of the gaps in this blog.
Psychiatrists have long been using electric shocks, of one kind or the other, to treat their patients. There is even a special school in the US (the Judge Rotenberg Center) where they used electric shocks as aversive therapy, until very recently. 
FDA Proposes Ban On Electric Shock Devices Used On Autistic Children
Cannabis, in the form of Cannabidiol (CBD), is currently the subject of an autism trial in Israel, home to some very innovative people.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock therapy, and often referred to as shock treatment,is a psychiatrictreatment in which seizuresare electrically induced in patients to provide relief from mental disorders. The ECT procedure was first conducted in 1938 is often used as a last line of intervention for major depressive disorder, mania, and catatonia. As of 2001, it was estimated that about one million people received EC…

Neurodiversity or the Truth?

This blog is about the science behind autism and does try to avoid political agendas, which may make it seem somewhat cold and unemotional. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of places to go and read about other views on autism. I was reading one of the few scientific blogs about autism recently and I was surprised how much time was spent attacking neurodiversity and in the end it detracts from the science part of the blog. Political agendas, like �America first�, or �Brexit means Brexit� and indeed �Neurodiversity� usually start with some truth and then everything gets lost in gross over-simplification. The more we move away from getting our information from serious considered sources and move to catchy snippets of information, the more people there are that think they have the knowledge to form a considered opinion, but the less valid those opinions may be. Neurodiversity sounds like a nice idea; people are all a little bit different. Anyone who went to a non-selective school wil…