Category Archives: Press releases

ASD: Towards a Better Understanding of the Molecular Mechanisms of Autism


While great progress has been made in recent years in the understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), its underlying molecular mechanisms remain fairly poorly documented. Several hypotheses have been put forward regarding the possible dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, but rigorous scientific studies are still lacking in order to validate them. In a new publication, researchers from Inserm and Université de Tours at the Imaging and Brain unit have shown that specific receptors of glutamate, one of the most important neurotransmitters in the nervous system, are expressed in large quantities in the brains of adults with ASD. However, this overexpression of the receptors does not occur at earlier stages of development.

Tuberculosis: children hospitalized with severe pneumonia in high-incidence countries should be screened for TB

tuberculose enfants

Tuberculosis affects 1 million children each year; less than half of them are diagnosed and treated for the disease, which leads to more than 200,000 deaths. In a new study, researchers and clinicians from the TB-Speed consortium funded by global health agency Unitaid and led by the University of Bordeaux, in collaboration with the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and MU-JHU (a research collaboration between Makerere University and John Hopkins University in Uganda), showed that screening for tuberculosis at the time of hospital admission was feasible in children with severe pneumonia. In addition, screening with a molecular test called Xpert Ultra improved the diagnosis of tuberculosis in children in countries with high incidence of the disease. The results of the study argue for a more systematic use of the Xpert Ultra in these children, especially in those suffering from severe acute malnutrition. They also confirm the importance of tuberculosis as a cause of severe pneumonia.

A New Gene Therapy Strategy for Sickle Cell Disease and Beta-Thalassemia

Globules rouges en forme de faucille (drépanocytose)

Both sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia are genetic disorders that affect hemoglobin, and as such are categorized as beta-hemoglobinopathies. A team of scientists from Inserm, Université Paris Cité and the Paris Public Hospitals Group AP-HP at the Imagine Institute has shown the efficacy of a gene therapy approach to treat these two disorders. The principle is to reactivate in patients the production of fetal hemoglobin, a protein whose expression usually ceases after birth.

Alzheimer’s disease: newly identified rare gene variants significantly increase the risk of developing this pathology.


An international consortium has identified rare variants in two new genes that markedly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The work was led by two research groups in France (headed respectively by Gaël Nicolas, Rouen and Jean-Charles Lambert, Lille) and a group in the Netherlands (headed by Henne Holstege, Amsterdam). The new results provide a better understanding of the genetics of AD and open up new research themes on more relevant in vitro and in vivo models. The consortium’s findings are also likely to catalyze the development of new strategies for treating AD.

Research shows fatty liver disease endangers brain health

People with liver disease caused by eating too much sugar and fat could be at increased risk of developing serious neurological conditions like depression or dementia. In a study examining the link between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and brain dysfunction, scientists at the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology, affiliated to King’s College London and the University of La²usanne, found an accumulation of fat in the liver causes a decrease in oxygen to the brain and inflammation to brain tissue – both of which have been proven to lead to the onset of severe brain diseases.

A potential therapy to reduce the side effects of a chemotherapy

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy indicated to fight tumors in many types of cancer. However, it does have major side effects – especially kidney toxicity, that can lead to acute kidney failure. In addition, patients treated with cisplatin also often report high levels of neuropathic pain. Scientists from Inserm, Université de Lille, University Hospital Lille, CNRS and Institut Pasteur de Lille within the CANTHER and Lille Neuroscience & Cognition laboratories, in collaboration with researchers from Michigan State University (USA), have identified a drug that could be a game changer for patients. Istradefylline, which is already approved for Parkinson’s disease, could not only reduce the harmful effects of cisplatin but also improve its anti-tumor properties. These findings will now need to be confirmed in a clinical trial.

Rapport Euro-Peristat : état des lieux de la santé périnatale en France par rapport aux autres pays européens


Le 15 novembre 2022 est publié le nouveau rapport Euro-Peristat, projet européen coordonné par l’Inserm et mis en place depuis 2000. Celui-ci rassemble des statistiques sur la santé périnatale de 28 pays, pour la période allant de 2015 à 2019. La comparaison de la France à ses voisins permet d’aboutir à un bilan contrasté, avec en particulier un taux de césariennes maîtrisé, mais une situation moins favorable en ce qui concerne la mortinatalité (enfants mort-nés à partir de 24 semaines d’aménorrhée).

Des molécules couramment utilisées pourraient perturber la fonction thyroïdienne de la femme enceinte

Des chercheuses et chercheurs ont réalisé des dosages dans les échantillons biologiques de plus de 400 femmes enceintes et a constaté une association entre l’exposition à trois polluants couramment utilisés (le propyl-parabène, le bisphénol A et le butyl-benzyl phtalate) et des taux anormaux d’hormones thyroïdiennes.

Long COVID: A Dysregulated Immune Response Could Explain Symptoms Persistence


In a new study, scientists from Inserm and Université de Montpellier at the Montpellier Cancer Research Institute, in collaboration with Montpellier University Hospital, have highlighted the possible role of the dysregulation of a part of the innate immune defense. They suggest that the production of “extracellular neutrophil traps”, a first-line defense mechanism against pathogens, could play a role in the persistence of symptoms six months later in patients having developed a severe form of COVID-19.

L’anesthésie générale dans l’enfance pourrait-elle avoir des conséquences cérébrales structurelles et comportementales ?

Une étude publiée dans la revue internationale Anesthesia and Analgesia (2022) révèle les possibles conséquences cérébrales d’une exposition précoce à l’anesthésie générale en pré-clinique puis chez l’Homme. Mené par des scientifiques de l’Inserm et de l’Université de Caen Normandie avec le CHU de Caen Normandie, ce travail met en évidence une possible diminution localisée de volume de la substance grise associée à des modifications émotionnelles liée à une exposition précoce à l’anesthésie générale.

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