Maternal Immune Response, the Autistic Brain and Memory Retention from Early Childhood

November 20, 2023

Pioneering Research Reveals that Kids with ASD Retain More Memories from Early Childhood Than Neurotypical Children

Neuroscientists at Trinity College Dublin have discovered a fascinating new link between the retention of early life memories and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This innovative study reveals that children on the spectrum retain memories from early childhood, while neurotypical children tend to forget them. The authors found that the maternal immune response, triggered by infection during pregnancy and known to contribute to the cause of ASD, prevents the loss of memories formed during infancy. Using a mouse model, the research team showed that memories normally forgotten from infancy can be permanently reinstated if the correct memory cells, called engrams, are activated in adults. These findings suggest that infantile amnesia stems from a retrieval deficiency, as early childhood memories are still stored in the adult brain but are generally not accessible through natural recall. The study sheds light on the connection between early childhood memories and maternal immune responses associated with ASD. It highlights the adaptability of brain function in response to environmental challenges across embryonic and early postnatal development.

Original Article

Original Study

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