Understanding Autism Disorders Through Investigating the Visual System, Study – Medicine

(ANSA) — Trieste, Jun 11 — From hypersensitivity to clothing to extreme visual attention to detail: Nearly 90% of people with autism report atypical sensory experiences. The origin of this may be an imbalance in neuronal activity. A new project by Davide Zoccolan, neuroscientist at the International Graduate School of Advanced Studies (SISSA), funded by the Simons Foundation for Autism Research Initiative (Sfari), aims to test this hypothesis in the visual system.
The project, according to the schedule, will begin in October, and for two years the scientist will study the visual abilities and neural processes inherent in a type of genetically modified mice.
“Unlike rats, which have more limited cognitive functions and levels of social interactions than humans, the rat excels on a behavioral level, on the level of the social structure of the groups in which it lives and on the level of cognitive ability.”
Zoccolan will collaborate with behavioral and neurophysiological experiments to study visual processes in animals that carry a mutation in a gene strongly implicated in autism. The researchers will check for visual abnormalities similar to those reported in people with autism and will investigate the cortical processes involved: “We have proposed experiments that test this behavioral-perceptual viewpoint to investigate neural correlates and how they differ from animals.” The first objective will be “characterization of these models”. Next, “Exploring how visual properties are altered in these animals could have a powerful impact on understanding the neural processes that characterize autism spectrum disorders. This could pave the way for new therapeutic strategies that reactivate specific components of neural circuits through optics and genetics techniques.” chemical”.
This project is one of seven projects funded by Safari, which in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin has developed eight different mutant mouse models to enable the study of autism and preclinical testing of possible treatments. (Dealing).

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