IMFAR 2011: Neuropathology of the Amygdala in Autism

C. M. Schumann, UC Davis MIND Institute The following is a modified transcription of Ms Schumann’s talk. Any glaring omissions or errors are my own. INSAR members can listen to Ms Schumann’s talk in its entirety via the abstract page. -SR The amygdala is enlarged in children with autism, and this has been a consistent finding, in several studies. By 2.5 years of age, the amygdala is enlarged in children with autism by about six percent. Longitudinal studies show that amygdala enlargement continues to increase — by four years of age, there is a nine percent enlargement, compared to controls. What’s interesting is that the total brain volume is larger in children with autism in this age range, but that volume is not necessarily rapidly growing during this time — it’s staying fairly consistent, and not necessarily growing faster as the amygdala is. The growth pattern doesn’t occur in all…

IMFAR 2011: What Parents Expect For Their Autistic Children, High School and Beyond

As Peter Bell (Autism Speaks’ executive vice president for programs and services) reported at the Autism Speaks Blog, While IMFAR is first and foremost a scientific meeting, the meeting has developed into a healthy blend of science and stakeholder perspectives. John Elder Robison reported This year many scientists who have family members on the spectrum proudly wore stakeholder ribbons on their name tags One such scientist/presenter/stakeholder was Matthew J. Carey PhD, known to many as “Sullivan”, who blogs at LeftBrain/RightBrain. While Matt’s day-to-day research has to do with computer hardware, his avocation is writing about autism science. One area in which he excels is analyzing published papers and public datasets bearing on autism. For the 2011 IMFAR meeting, Matt submitted an abstract on the data presented by the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) The NHES surveys cover learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.…

IMFAR 2011: Proof of Evolution

Shannon Des Roches Rosa As an autism parent, I have a deep interest in seeing autism research proceed toward understanding and results with as few roadblocks or distractions as possible. So, for me, one of the most notable elements of IMFAR 2011 was seeing the Autism Science Foundation and Autism Speaks working alongside each other toward common goals, in the Autism Science Foundation’s tradition of “Funding Outstanding Science.” Anyone who has read my personal blog for more than a month or two knows I have been openly critical of Autism Speaks’ actions. I believe they have made some questionable decisions in how they approach and portray autism — but then so have I. If I’m going to give myself permission to evolve, I can’t very well fault them for past choices when their present direction includes wide-ranging funding of promising science, and listening to the community by broadening their…


IMFAR 2011: Intermission Teaser

From the presentation Neuropathology of the amygdala in autism C. M. Schumann, UC Davis MIND Institute. Here’s a preview of the research we were exposed to at IMFAR, and on which I’ll be reporting for the next few days if not next two weeks here at TPGA.  I’ve found that being immersed in the multifold information streams at IMFAR requires a bit of post-conference downtime for processing. Until tomorrow. -SR