Key Insights – Armeanu et al. 2016

Armeanu, R., M. Mokkonen & B. Crespi. 2016. Meta-analysis of BDNF levels in autism. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. In press.

OVERVIEW:
This paper resulted from a systematic review of the literature on brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). These factors centrally mediate neurons, and recent literature indicate that individuals with psychotic-affective disorders experience lower levels of this protein compared to the general population. In line with the diametric model of psychological disorders, we found a general pattern of heightened levels of BDNF for individuals with autism.

NOVEL FINDINGS:
-a small-to-medium effect size for elevated levels of BDNF associated with autistic individuals compared to controls.
-no publication biases.

OTHER NOTABLE DETAILS:
-this study noted relatively high heterogeneity in the sample of studies, indicating that more studies are needed to increase sample size, as well as account for factors (e.g. age, sex) that may contribute to this variation.