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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

December 2008

Cancer protein’s loss triggers autism-like symptoms in mice

by  /  17 December 2008

The absence of a protein involved in a prominent cancer pathway leads to repetitive behaviors and learning deficits in mice, creating a viable model for autism research, according to a study published last week in Neuron.


Autism gene linked to language deficits

by  /  12 December 2008

Variants in contactin-associated protein-like 2 or CNTNAP2 ― a gene thought to be involved in nerve cell communication ― are associated with language deficits in families affected by specific language impairment (SLI), a developmental disorder that affects roughly seven percent of kindergarten-age children, according to a study published in late November.


Sound response may explain language problems in autism

by  /  9 December 2008

Children with autism process sounds a split second slower than typically developing children, according to a new study that measured the magnetic fields emitted from the children’s brains.


Chromosome 15 duplication has unpredictable brain effects

by  /  3 December 2008

The first postmortem study to examine the effects of chromosome 15 duplication on gene expression shows completely divergent results, suggesting that the effect of genetic duplications is far from predictable, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

November 2008

MicroRNAs may play a role in autism, studies find

by  /  26 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.


Size of infant’s amygdala predicts language ability

by  /  21 November 2008

A child’s language ability correlates with the volume of his or her amygdala ― the small, deep brain region that is strongly associated with emotion processing ― according to an unpublished five-year longitudinal study presented Wednesday afternoon at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.


Beyond mirror neurons

by  /  20 November 2008

High-functioning children with autism may understand another personʼs intention when, for example, that person reaches for a glass of water ― a simple, goal-directed task ― without help from the mirror neuron system, according to research reported Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.


Finding the right (synaptic) partners

by  /  19 November 2008

Researchers are narrowing in on a pool of genes that may be involved in helping neurons find their targets, according to unpublished work presented today in a poster session at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.


A drug that lasts for days

by  /  19 November 2008

A new slow-release form of the drug risperidone ― an antipsychotic given to people with schizophrenia, autism and other psychiatric conditions ― lasts in the blood days instead of hours, according to research presented today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.


microRNAs in mental illness

by  /  19 November 2008

Some small fragments of RNA, called microRNAs, are under-expressed in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder compared with controls, according to unpublished research based on postmortem brain tissue presented this morning at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.