Autism May Result From Communication Defect Between Brain Halves

A defect in communication between the two halves of the brain may be responsible for some cases of autism, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

They came to their conclusions by analyzing what’s called the human interactome — a vast network of interacting proteins — and by sequencing genomes and analyzing gene expression patterns in individuals with autism.

The study offers a possible explanation as to why the communication center of the brain, called the corpus callosum, is often abnormally small in people with the condition. Although most research has focused on neurons, this study also implicates the oligodendrocytes in the disorder. Oligodendrocytes coat the signaling arms of a neuron with an insulating substance called myelin, which enables electrical signals to move quickly from one neuron to another.

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