Japanese autism research seminar at Macquarie University

Thursday 24th of January 2013, 11-1pm

The Australian Hearing Hub Meeting, Room 3.610, South Wing, Macquarie University

  • Introduction of the mission and program of Hokuriku Innovation Cluster for Health Science (HICHS)
  • Early diagnosis system of pervasive developmental disorders in young children
  • Brain activity and related network during moral judgment in autism -MEG study-
  • GPCRs play important roles in social behavior

Introduction of the mission and program of Hokuriku Innovation Cluster for Health Science (HICHS)

Dr. Yuki Kunioka

HICHS, has been promoting 12 scientific projects and 4 expansion program in the Hokuriku area in Japan supported by the MEXT (Japanese Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). The MEG standardization program by Prof. Isao Hashimoto in KIT and the research project on activated magnetometry utilizing SQUID efficacy by Prof. Gen Uehara in KIT are also belong to HICHS. The overview of the projects will be given.

Early diagnosis system of pervasive developmental disorders in young children

Dr. Hirotoshi Hiraishi and Dr. Naoki Furutani

We developed an integrated MEG and NIRS device optimized for the early diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) in young children. With this device, we recorded neurophysiological data from young children with PDD and typically developing young children (200 children in total). By obtaining non-invasive measurements with the child custom-sized MEG and NIRS, we demonstrated a rightward-lateralized neurophysiological network, and aberrant brain hemodynamic connectivity between the right and the left anterior frontal cortex under the concious conditions in young children with PDD. We found that these physiological features are available for the early diagnosis of PDD.

Brain activity and related network during moral judgment in autism

Dr. Hirotoshi Hiraishi

Morality is important for keeping human society stable. Typical developed people (TD) get morality through their development but autistic people (ASD) are difficult to get it. I measured ASD adolescents’ brain activities by using fMRI and also measured TD adults’ PFC activities and networks by using NIRS. There is a possibility that these blood changes are not directly reflect neural activity. Therefore, from the view points of developmental changes and networks, I want to compare neural activities related to moral judgment between ASD and TD. These data will be expected to establish an index of moral development.

GPCRs play important roles in social behavior

Dr. Naoki Furutani

Neuropeptide B/W receptor 1 (NPBWR1) is a G-protein coupled receptor and whose ligands were identified by my group in 2002. NPBWR1 is Gi-coupling and exists on GABAergic neurons in the central amygdaloid nucleus. Npbwr1⁻/⁻ mice showed abnormality in some behavioral experiments and these data suggest important roles of NPBWR1 in regulating amygdala function during physical and social stress. The human NPBWR1 gene has a single nucleotide polymorphism at nucleotide 404 (404A>T). This polymorphism results in an amino acid change Y135F and this change alters receptor function. In psychological experiment, a significant genotype difference was observed, suggesting that the polymorphism of NPBWR1 affects human behavior in a social context. We are investigating the relation between the polymorphism and autism spectrum disorder now.

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