Antibodies, behavior and cognition

  • Autism Research
Speaker Betty Diamond, M.D.
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Date & Time


Location

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010 United States

Autism Research

Autism Research lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse and important topics related to autism. The lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.

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On 30 May, Betty Diamond discussed how the immune system can mediate alterations in brain development and play a role in autism, as part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research lecture series.

Alan Brown provided a post-lecture commentary and context for Diamond’s work on epidemiological studies of autism and related disorders.

You can watch a complete video recording of the event above. Use the comments section below to discuss the lecture and pose follow-up questions.
 

About the Lecture

As neutralizers of microbial agents, antibodies are major contributors to immune competence. Occasionally, however, they act as autoantibodies, which bind to a person’s own tissue, triggering autoimmune disease. In adults, the blood-brain barrier protects the brain against autoantibodies, but that barrier is not fully competent in fetuses, allowing maternal antibodies to penetrate the fetal brain and potentially alter its development. This mechanism may contribute to some cases of autism.

About the Commentator

Alan S. Brown is professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University and director of the Unit in Birth Cohort Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His research has focused on prenatal exposure to infectious, immunologic, nutritional and toxic factors, and its association with risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. He demonstrated earlier this year that elevated maternal C-reactive protein, an inflammatory biomarker, is related to a significantly increased risk of autism in the child. He is leading large, multi-site national birth cohort studies of prenatal biomarkers, developmental pathways and familial vulnerability based on an archived biobank and nationwide registries in Finland.

About the Speaker

Betty Diamond is head of the Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York. Her research has focused on the induction and pathogenicity of anti-DNA antibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus. She received the American College of Rheumatology’s Distinguished Investigator Award in 2001, the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize from the Arthritis Foundation in 2002, and the Recognition Award from the National Association of M.D.-Ph.D. Programs in 2004. Diamond was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2006.

Past Lectures

Progress in understanding the genetic basis of mental health

Benjamin Neale, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associated Researcher, Broad Institute

On May 6, 2020, Benjamin Neale discussed progress in mapping genetic risk factors for autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Autism, autisms, or neurodevelopmental disorders?

Jason Lerch, Ph.D.Director of Preclinical Imaging, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford
Adjunct Scientist, Mouse Imaging Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children
Associate Professor in Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

On January 29, 2020, Jason Lerch explored this question: What do modern ways of looking at brains and genes tell us about autism – or autisms – and its relation to attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other related disorders of brain development?

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