Friday, December 19, 2008

How genes can contribute to hypersocial behavior in people with Williams Syndrome

How genes can contribute to hypersocial behavior « Biomarker-driven mental health 2.0:

"In their current paper, Sarpal and colleagues measured brain activity as well as correlations of activity (connectivity) between brain regions as patients with WS passively viewed visual objects (faces and houses). They report that connections from early visual processing areas (fusiform and parahippocampal gyrus) in WS are actually weaker to the frontal cortex and amygdala. Since activation of the frontal cortex and amygdala are associated with inhibition and fear, it may be case that the weaker connections from early visual areas to these regions gives rise to the type of gregarious and prosocial (a lack of fear and inhibition) behavior seen in WS. In further pinpointing where in the brain the genes for WS might be causing a developmental change, the authors point to the ventral lip of the collateral sulcus, an area situated between the fusiform and parahippocampal gyri. This may be the spot to more closely examine the role of genes such as LIMK1 - a gene that participates in the function of the actin cytoskeleton (an important process in synaptic formation)."

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