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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Jessa Netting

Former News Editor,

May 2014

Mice with chromosome 16 deletion have faulty brain circuits

by  /  26 May 2014

Researchers have linked defects in the dopamine brain circuit to behaviors of a new mouse model of the 16p11.2 deletion. In a study in the 16 May Cell Reports, they suggest that the mutation alters the brain’s regulation of dopamine and may be responsible for behavioral problems, including autism.


Network of autism-linked proteins reveals new interactions

by  /  12 May 2014

Researchers have mapped interactions between hundreds of variants of proteins made from known autism risk genes, they reported 11 April in Nature Communications. The highly connected network reveals that autism genes tend to interact with each other and with many more partners than suspected.

April 2014

Genetic background may alter behavior of autism mice

by  /  14 April 2014

Differences in the background genetics of mouse strains may modify the effects of autism genes, suggests a study published 11 March in Autism Research. The study looked at the behavior of mice with a mutation in neuroligin-3, a strong autism candidate gene.

March 2014

Repetitive behavior in toddlers may signal autism

by  /  20 March 2014

Children who show several repetitive behaviors — such as flapping their hands or spinning their toys — at their first birthday have nearly four times the risk of autism of children who don’t show repetitive behaviors. That’s the conclusion from a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology.


Algorithm uncovers autism syndromes’ fingerprints

by  /  6 March 2014

An artificial-intelligence algorithm designed to analyze behavior has learned to recognize six genetic disorders associated with autism, according to a report published 11 February in Molecular Autism. The algorithm could be used to hone the search for autism’s genetic underpinnings.

February 2014

Social skills, contentment evade adults with autism

by  /  20 February 2014

The social lives of people with autism remain poor well into adulthood, and they struggle to find the sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from meeting one’s own goals and expectations, conclude two new reviews of long-term studies in people with the disorder.

January 2014

Study pinpoints autism gene in mutation-prone region

by  /  27 January 2014

Mutations in FAN1, a gene in the 15q13.3 chromosomal region, raise the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism and schizophrenia, according to a new study published 7 January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

November 2013

Technique visualizes networks processing theory of mind

by  /  14 November 2013

Pairing brain imaging with simple videos that mimic social interactions can help pinpoint the brain regions responsible for inferring others’ thoughts. Researchers described this approach Sunday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.


Williams syndrome reverses patterns of neuronal branching

by  /  12 November 2013

The branching patterns of excitatory neurons in people with Williams syndrome are roughly the opposite of the patterns seen normally, according to unpublished results from a small study presented Monday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.


Study traces link between social behavior, brain overgrowth

by  /  11 November 2013

Social difficulties and early overgrowth of the brain are trademarks of autism, yet a direct connection between the two has been elusive. One group of researchers may have found a link between the two symptoms and a way to treat both at once, they reported Sunday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.