The architecture of the autistic brain is speckled with patches of abnormal neurons, according to research partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. Recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study suggests that brain irregularities in children with autism can be traced back to prenatal development .
The emerging field of epigenetics has added a new dimension to the “nature versus nurture” debate, by which researchers have historically attempted to determine whether a characteristic was influenced by genes or environment. Increasingly, it appears that environmental influences can affect gene expression, meaning that “nature” and “nurture” are inextricable from one another to an even greater extent than previously understood.
A study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine identified sets of genes in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that influence the effectiveness of chemotherapy . Researchers found that the tumor microenvironment, consisting of non-cancerous immune and structural cells along with tumor cells, has a significant influence on a patient’s response to treatment.