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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

November 2008

Onward to the capital

by  /  14 November 2008

Even as I type this, thousands of neuroscientists are descending on Washington D.C. for an annual event that is almost beyond description. An estimated 36,000 people are expected to attend Neuroscience 2008, this yearʼs meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, hobnob, listen to lectures, present posters and down drinks at the many social events.


‘Master switch’ molecule keeps overexcited brain in check

by  /  12 November 2008

Some small fragments of RNA are expressed differently in people with autism than in controls, according to two new studies. The findings unveil another layer of complexity in the genetics of autism.


Chromosome 16 variations not autism specific, company says

by  /  7 November 2008

Deletions or duplications of a specific segment of chromosome 16 ― which has previously been fingered as a ‘hotspotʼ for autism susceptibility ― may be present in a surprising number of people who don’t have autism, according to researchers presenting preliminary data today at the annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society in Santa Clara, California.

October 2008

TSC genes required for axon formation, study says

by  /  29 October 2008

Mutations in the two genes that cause the disease tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, interfere with the normal formation of axons, the long and thin strands that conduct electrical signals between brain cells, researchers contend in a report in Genes and Development.


Researchers find sleep, not sedation, ideal for imaging children

by  /  20 October 2008

In imaging studies of children with autism, researchers are increasingly turning to methods that enhance natural sleep, rather than the traditional approach of sedating the children.


Seeking genes that protect from autism

by  /  14 October 2008

In the past few years, scientists have uncovered a handful of genes that increase the risk of autism. In an interesting twist, others are instead looking for genetic factors that protect from autism.


Chinese study reports no difference in schizophrenia CNV rate

by  /  9 October 2008

People with schizophrenia have roughly the same rate of copy number variations as do healthy controls, according to a study in the Chinese Han population published in Molecular Psychiatry.


Mouse model links gene on chromosome 22 to schizophrenia

by  /  5 October 2008

A specific gene in the chromosomal region 22q11 is important for normal brain connectivity and synapse formation, and its absence may lead to schizophrenia, researchers are reporting today in Nature Neuroscience. The same team first linked a deletion in the chromosomal region to the disorder 13 years ago.

September 2008

Rett syndrome gene involved in obesity and aggression

by  /  25 September 2008

The gene that causes Rett syndrome, a rare disorder on the autism spectrum that affects only females, may also play a key role in aggressive behavior and overeating in mice, according to a study published today in Neuron.


Autism mouse models may share defects in brain circuits

by  /  22 September 2008

In the past year, researchers have debuted a growing number of mouse models that they say exhibit the subtle behaviors of autism. In the midst of controversy over whether these mouse models represent autism, one team of scientists is looking for quirks in the animalsʼ neural circuits.