Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Excess Calcium and Calcium Signalling in the Autistic Brain

Today's post is quite brief, but will get complicated if you watch the entire video that is included.

Some very smart Italian researchers have been looking into the various causes of autism to better understand the overall picture.

Two screen shots from the end of the presentation are below.  Professor Antonio Persico talks about his "epiphany" when he realized autism was not just about genetics and how he then redirected his research.

He came to a surprising conclusion.  Calcium.

He showed that in the autistic brain there is an excess of both physical calcium and calcium signalling (via ion channels)  We are not talking about rare types of autism, like Timothy Syndrome.

That expert on studies of autistic brains, Eric Courchesne, from the University of California in San Diego, seems to agree.  You can hear Persico mentioning Courchesne in the talk. 

Persico hereby joins Courchesne on my Dean's List of researchers.  This is the list of researchers that I think really know what they are doing.

The entire video should be a "must see" for any parent who really wants to know why their kid is different.  At around 50 minutes you get to the calcium part.


Here is the link to the video:-

Autism at the Crossroads between Genetics, Neurodevelopment and the Immune System

None of the good research papers published on this subject have free access.  You can google "Persico calcium autism".

Persico has plenty of other research ongoing, based on his large pool of Italian families affected by autism that provide him biological samples. He is looking for the trigger that starts autism.

Nowhere does he draw any therapeutic conclusions, which is a pity.



  1. Hi Peter, I am looking for the study where Persico states that there is an excess of physical calcium in the brains of people with autism. Is it somewhere in this one?

  2. Or this one by Palmieri?

    1. This paper is all about altered calcium homeostasis in autism. The video in the above post is easier to follow and I recall in it Persico refers to the excess physical calcium found in post mortem brain samples. There is the question of how much calcium but also where it is, inside cells or outside cells.


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