Genetics & neurochemistry
The Nurmi/McCracken Laboratory studies genetic factors underlying brain functioning, psychiatric disorders, and effects of psychotropic medications.
To contact the Nurmi/McCracken Lab, please email Dr. Nurmi.
The world's largest DNA scan for familial autism has uncovered new genetic changes in autistic children that are often not present in their parents. Identified in less than 1 percent of the population, these rare variants occur nearly 20 percent more in autistic children. Published in the June 9 online edition of the journal Nature, the findings emphasize the need for larger study samples to illuminate the diverse genetic causes of the brain disorder.
Paul Thompson, professor of neurology and a member of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, appeared in news stories on April 19 about his research finding that a gene known to cause weight gain in more than a third of the U.S. population is linked to brain tissue loss. Coverage included reports by Reuters, Yahoo News, the Drudge Report, KABC-Channel 7, National Public Radio blog, New Scientist, London Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
The research was also cited in 21 TV news segments on television stations around the country.
In ongoing work to identify how genes interact with social environments to impact human health, UCLA researchers have discovered what they describe as a biochemical link between misery and death. In addition, they found a specific genetic variation in some individuals that seems to disconnect that link, rendering them more biologically resilient in the face of adversity.
Dr. Stan Nelson, professor of human genetics, appeared Feb. 9 as a guest on KPCC 89.3 FM’s “AirTalk” to explore a new study linking parents’ age to a higher risk for autism.
Advance for Speech Pathologists & Audiologists reported Dec. 3 on a Nature study led by Dr. Daniel Geschwind, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics, that links the capacity for speech and language in humans to the evolution of a single gene. Geschwind and first author Gena Konopka, a postdoctoral fellow in neurology, were quoted. The findings were also covered Nov.
A Nature study by Dr. Daniel Geschwind, professor of neurology and human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute, uncovering how the evolution of a single gene may explain why humans can speak and chimpanzees cannot, was covered Nov.