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UC Davis MIND Institute

UC Davis MIND Institute

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April 2014arrow

Progressive neurodegenerative disorder linked to R-loop formation, UC Davis researchers find

April 17, 2014

Researchers at UC Davis have identified a new feature of the genetic mutation responsible for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) — the formation of “R-loops,” which they believe may be associated with the disorder’s neurological symptoms, such as tremors, lack of balance, features of parkinsonism, and cognitive decline.

Rauen receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in White House ceremony

April 16, 2014

Professor Katherine A. Rauen, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a physician-scientist affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute and UC Davis Children’s Hospital, on April 15 received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

SSRI use during pregnancy is associated with risk of autism, developmental delays in male children

April 14, 2014

Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), medications frequently prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and other mental-health disorders, is associated with a higher incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental delays (DD) in male children, a study of nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs has found.

UC Davis MIND Institute hosts Northern California premiere of Sounding the Alarm with Autism Speaks

April 8, 2014

On Tuesday, April 29, the UC Davis MIND Institute hosts the Northern California premiere screening of “Sounding the Alarm,” a film that gives viewers a look at the profound changes that take place in the lives of 12 American families after their children receive an autism diagnosis. The screening will be held in the auditorium of the MIND Institute, 2825 50th St., Sacramento, as part of the institute's Autism Awareness Month activities.

New test makes Parkinson's-like disorder of middle age detectable in young adulthood

April 2, 2014

The very earliest signs of a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, in which physical symptoms are not apparent until the fifth decade of life, are detectable in individuals as young as 30 years old using a new, sophisticated type of neuroimaging, researchers at UC Davis, the University of Illinois and UCLA have found.

March 2014arrow

April Minds Behind the MIND features updates on autism research, treatment

March 28, 2014

Internationally respected autism researchers Sally J. Rogers and Judy Van de Water will provide updates on clinical and research advances in autism spectrum disorder on Wednesday, April 16 during the Autism Awareness Month Minds Behind the MIND presentation.

Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder, an Emerging Global Public Health Priority next MIND Institute Distinguished Lecture

March 24, 2014

Maureen Durkin, director of the Graduate Program in Population Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, will address "The Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder, an Emerging Global Public Health Priority," during the April UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series address.

UC Davis MIND Institute joins ranks of elite U.S. neurodevelopmental centers

March 11, 2014

The UC Davis MIND Institute has been named an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), through a prestigious grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health — a distinction held by only a handful of neurodevelopmental centers nationwide committed to the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of developmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome.

UC Davis MIND Institute announces 2014 Autism Awareness Month events

March 6, 2014

April is Annual Autism Awareness Month, and the UC Davis MIND Institute will hold a series of activities for people of all ages and abilities during this month-long observance. Unless otherwise noted, the eventsare free and open to the public and take place at the UC Davis MIND Institute, 2825 50th St., Sacramento, Calif.  

Atypical development in the siblings of children with autism is detectable at 12 months

March 5, 2014

Atypical development can be detected as early as 12 months of age among the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder, a study published by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute and UCLA has found.

February 2014arrow

MIND Institute launches "Colombia Project of Hope"

February 25, 2014

Researchers at the internationally respected UC Davis MIND Institute are collaborating with scientists at two Colombian universities to investigate the very high rate of fragile X-related disorders in one region in the South American country. [en español]

Connecting the dots between motor, social and communication skills in autism

February 20, 2014

Stewart H. Mostofsky, director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive and Imaging Research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University, will discuss “Motor and Social Skill Function: Connecting Learning and Brain Function in Autism” during the March UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation.

January 2014arrow

Distinguished lecture to explore implementing school programs for children with autism

January 13, 2014

David S. Mandell, associate director of the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania, will present “Context Matters: Implementing Evidence-based Practices for Children with Autism in Public Schools” during the February UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecture.

Complementary medicine in wide use to treat children with autism, developmental delay

January 11, 2014

In a study of the range of treatments being employed for young children with autism and other developmental delays, UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have found that families often use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments and that the most frequent users of both conventional and complementary approaches are those with higher levels of parental education and income. [en español]

Katherine Rauen receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

January 10, 2014

Katherine A. Rauen, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a physician-scientist affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute and UC Davis Children’s Hospital, has received a 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

December 2013arrow

MIND Institute research named a Top 10 Scientific Advance for 2013 by Autism Speaks

December 18, 2013

A study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers has been named one of the Top 10 Scientific Advances of 2013 by Autism Speaks, the international science and advocacy organization.

January distinguished lecture to address the link between the gut and the brain in autism

December 12, 2013

Alessio Fasano, an internationally respected pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist and founder of the Center for Celiac Research at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, will present “Gut-brain interaction in autism spectrum disorder: What language do they speak, and do they understand each other?” during the January 2014 UC Davis MIND Institute distinguished lecture.

November 2013arrow

The woman's view from the heart of families with fragile X syndrome

November 20, 2013

"Fragile X-Associated Disorders: A Woman’s View from the Heart of the Family," is the topic of the December UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecture Series presentation.

Children who have autism far more likely to have tummy troubles

November 6, 2013

Children with autism experience gastrointestinal (GI) upsets such as constipation, diarrhea and sensitivity to foods six-to-eight times more often than do children who are developing typically, and those symptoms are related to behavioral problems, including social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behaviors, a new study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. [en español] [中文 Chinese]

Children's book by MIND Institute author wins national award

November 6, 2013

Percy Learns to Fly, a children’s book by Patricia Schetter, project coordinator at the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has received a gold medal for outstanding contributions to children’s literature in the 2013 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award competition.

October 2013arrow

Social brain development in autism the topic of November distinguished lecture

October 25, 2013

James C. McPartland, director of the Developmental Disabilities Clinic at the Child Study Center at Yale University, will discuss “Motivated for Change: Rethinking Models of Social Brain Development in Autism Spectrum Disorder” during the November UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series presentation. The lecture will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the MIND Institute, 2825 50th St., Sacramento. 

MIND Institute researcher partners to speed development of treatments for autism

October 15, 2013

Jacqueline Crawley, the Robert E. Chason Endowed Chair in Translational Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, will participate in the Preclinical Autism Consortium for Therapeutics (PACT), a new partnership sponsored by Autism Speaks to facilitate the discovery of effective treatments for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Other collaborators in the initiative are at Boston Children's Hospital and at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

UC Davis MIND Institute announces 2013-2014 Minds Behind the MIND speaker series

October 10, 2013

The 2013-14 season of the UC Davis MIND Institute's Minds Behind the MIND series begins in November with nationally recognized MIND Institute researchers partnering with community representatives to provide the latest information on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of many neurodevelopmental disabilities studied at the MIND Institute. Subsequent presentations focus on how technology can aid people with developmental disabilities and on new findings in autism treatments.  

UC Davis study finds potential biomarker differentiating the inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD

October 8, 2013

Using a common test of brain functioning, UC Davis researchers have found differences in the brains of adolescents with the inattentive and combined subtypes of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and teens who do not have the condition, suggesting that the test may offer a potential biomarker for the types of the disorder. [中文 Chinese] or [en español]

MIND Institute to participate in international study of schizophrenia in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

October 7, 2013

Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute will participate in an international consortium spanning four continents that will study the genetics of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome through a four-year, $12 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the International Consortium on Brain and Behavior in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

September 2013arrow

12th Annual UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series kicks off Oct. 9

September 23, 2013

The UC Davis MIND Institute begins the 12th year of its Distinguished Lecturer Series on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The venerable series' presenters include nationally and internationally recognized researchers in autism spectrum disorder, fragile X-associated disorders and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

UC Davis researchers find how viral infection disrupts neural development in offspring, increasing risk of autism

September 19, 2013

Activating a mother’s immune system during her pregnancy disrupts the development of neural cells in the brain of her offspring and damages the cells' ability to transmit signals and communicate with one another, researchers with the Center for Neuroscience and Department of Neurology have found. The researchers said the finding suggests how maternal viral infection might increase the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia.

UC Davis MIND Institute researcher receives grant to explore four neurodevelopmental disorders

September 19, 2013

Jacqueline N. Crawley, an internationally renowned behavioral neuroscientist, has received a five-year, nearly $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to understand the synaptic dysfunctions that limit how people with certain neurodevelopmental disorders form memories and learn. The research also will investigate the effectiveness of potential targeted therapies for the disorders: fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome, Down syndrome and Angelman syndrome.

Study finds that a subset of children often considered to have autism may be misdiagnosed

September 17, 2013

Children with a genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, who frequently are believed to also have autism, often may be misidentified because the social impairments associated with their developmental delay may mimic the features of autism, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute suggests.

Virtual reality and social training for autism study seeks participants

September 3, 2013

Using a virtual‐reality game, UC Davis researchers have begun to examine how children with high‐functioning autism learn in classroom settings, where social deficits can form obstacles to the engagement with teachers and classmates necessary for academic success. The study will examine their virtual classroom behavior and attention and compare it with that of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and those with typical development.

August 2013arrow

How a cancer drug unties knots in the chromosome that causes Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes

August 5, 2013

UC Davis researchers have identified how and where in the genome a cancer chemotherapy agent acts on and ‘un-silences’ the epigenetically silenced gene that causes Angelman syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severe intellectual disability, seizures, motor impairments, and laughing and smiling.

Hertz-Picciotto appointed to prestigious NIH scientific review committee

August 1, 2013

Environmental epidemiologist Irva Hertz-Picciotto, UC Davis professor of public health sciences, has been appointed to the Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME) Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The appointment is effective immediately and ends in June 2017.

July 2013arrow

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers seek participants for study on generalizing learning in autism

July 18, 2013

Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute are seeking adolescents to participate in a groundbreaking brain imaging study aimed at understanding one of the most critical aspects of autism spectrum disorders: how people with autism generalize things they learn to new contexts.

Excessive cerebrospinal fluid and enlarged brain size in infancy are potential biomarkers for autism

July 9, 2013

Children who were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had excessive cerebrospinal fluid and enlarged brains in infancy, a study by a multidisciplinary team of researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found, raising the possibility that those brain anomalies may serve as potential biomarkers for the early identification of the neurodevelopmental disorder. [en español or 中文 Chinese]

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers find exposure to prenatal maternal antibodies affects behavior, development in offspring

July 9, 2013

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found that prenatal exposure to specific antibodies found only in mothers of children with autism leads to changes in the brain that adversely affect behavior and development. [en español]

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers identify specific fetal antigens attacked by maternal antibodies

July 9, 2013

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have identified the specific antibodies that target fetal brain proteins in the blood of a subset of women whose children are diagnosed with autism. The finding is the first to pinpoint a specific risk factor for a significant subset of autism cases, as well as a biomarker for drug development and early diagnosis. The researchers have named autism related to these antibodies “Maternal Autoantibody-Related," or MAR autism. [en español] [中文 Chinese]

June 2013arrow

UC Davis holds Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders

June 26, 2013

UC Davis holds its annual Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Research to Practice on Friday, Aug. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center. The daylong conference offers nine interactive seminars on a broad array of subjects by some of the world’s leading experts on neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Symptoms of Prader-Willi syndrome associated with interference in circadian, metabolic genes

June 25, 2013

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute and Agilent Laboratories have found that Prader-Willi syndrome — a genetic disorder best known for causing an insatiable appetite that can lead to morbid obesity — is associated with the loss of non-coding RNAs, resulting in the dysregulation of circadian and metabolic genes, accelerated energy expenditure and metabolic differences during sleep.

May 2013arrow

Hales named Health Care Hero by Sacramento Business Journal

May 24, 2013

Robert Hales, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has been named a Health Care Hero by the Sacramento Business Journal. The honor was announced today.

UC Davis researchers receive grant to study neurodegenerative disease FXTAS

May 22, 2013

Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute and the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct the first long-range study of the mental and psychological decline that accompanies the age-related neurological disorder fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, or FXTAS.

UC Davis MIND Institute partners in nationwide brain tissue collection program

May 2, 2013

UC Davis Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences David Amaral, director of research at the UC Davis MIND Institute, will be the first director of a new network of sites that will collect and disseminate autism brain tissue to advance research in the field.