HomeScienceGeneticsCommunity Newsletter: Neuroscience Game Changers, Genetics Meeting Highlights | Spectrum

Community Newsletter: Neuroscience Game Changers, Genetics Meeting Highlights | Spectrum

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The September equinox, when the Earth’s tilt causes nearly equal day and night around the world, happened last week. As the Earth continued to spin, these Twitter threads made heads turn about two influential studies as people from around the world shared thoughts and images of the World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics (WCP).

This preprint has “serious consequences in the field of neuroscience,” tweeted Camille Testarda graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and one of the research researchers.

Brain activity that corresponds to a specific cognitive process does not necessarily indicate a real connection, according to Testard’s study, which showed a statistically significant association between monkeys’ performance on cognitive tests and areas of the brain known not to be involved in that particular process. This finding “suggests that unnecessary cognitive cues are prevalent in the primate cerebral cortex during task performance, questioning one of the fundamental assumptions of cognitive neurophysiology.”

The neurotwitter community responded in too many numbers to share it all, but here are some highlights.

“Really cool and disturbing findings!” tweeted Scott Tyler, a computational biologist at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. “Would your interpretation be that these regions that are not required for the task of interest are required for secondary tasks that are not monitored (or even noticed?) that are correlated actions?” he asked.

Testard replied that this was one of many possible explanations, saying, “Our point is that we should be aware of this phenomenon and future work should explore why.”

“My colleagues @CamilleTestard and @seb_trem set the saw on the foundation of system neuroscience”, tweeted Konrad Kordingprofessor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.

Some had a more reserved response to the paper. “I think neuroscientists understand that” correlation is not causation and neural attunement to tasks does not mean that those neurons are functionally required. . .” tweeted Ella Battycomputational neuroscientist at Harvard University.

Do you think the paper represents a potential revolution in neuroscience? Let us know in the comments.

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Another “potential game changer,” divided by John Lukensa neuroimmunologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, caught our attention this week, this one for the treatment of neurological diseases.

The Nature study demonstrated a way to inhibit a pathway called mTOR only in brain tissue, minimizing the potential for side effects in non-brain tissue. This famous cancer path is overactive in various forms of autism and related disorders.

“Sun brilliant strategy”, tweeted Steven Shukena postdoctoral researcher in the Gygi Laboratory at Harvard University.

Next, we take a virtual tour via tweet from the WCPG, which took place September 13-17 in Florence, Italy. The WCPG is an international scientific meeting for research in psychiatric genetics and related fields, with the participation of experts in genetics, neuroscience and psychiatry from around the world.

Jakob Groveassociate professor of biomedicine at Aarhus University in Denmark, presented updated findings from his genome-wide association study to identify regions in the genome harboring risk factors for autism, according to this tweet from Tinca Polderman, associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC in the Netherlands. Grove’s new work identifies 12 regions of the genome that harbor autism-specific variants, an increase over the 5 autism-specific regions he and his colleagues identified. reported in 2019.

Great findings presented by @jakob_grove of the updated autism PGC, positive direction and progress but still a way to go,” tweeted Jack Underwooda clinical researcher at Cardiff University in Wales.

The following is a thread from Veera Rajagopal, a scientist at the biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, New York, who noted a theme in some of the research being presented: “using the knowledge of biological pathways to better insights in genetic associations.”

Kristen Brennanprofessor of psychiatry and genetics at Yale University, called the thread a thoughtful one that “synthesizes a number of conversations pointing to convergence in psychiatric genetics.”

Next stop on our virtual tour: some photos from the poster hall.

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“Come and see @JFGUnderwoodwork. . . On polygenic scores in autism and their relationship to mental health phenotypes,” tweeted Kimberley Kendall, a psychosis and genetics researcher at Cardiff University.

“If you are interested in the autism polygenic score and how it relates to ASD diagnosis and characteristics, comorbid mental health and general psychopathology, come see my poster today,” tweeted Melanie de Wita graduate student of developmental psychology at the VU University Amsterdam.

In addition to the research, a meeting at a reception is a big highlight for meetings, and if Sarah Marziprofessor at Imperial College London in the UK, said: “#WCPG2022 chose a good location for the network reception.”

Finally, it’s time to say arriveci, often with a goodbye tweet, like this one from Jacob Forestman, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Canada, who wrote: “What a blessing to be able to reconnect with so many colleagues personal again.”

That’s it for this week’s Community Newsletter! If you have suggestions for interesting social posts you’ve seen in the field of autism research, feel free to email [email protected].

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