Newly discovered clusters of proteins in the brains of mice might help researchers understand how connections between neurons go awry in disorders such as mental retardation and autism.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Most young animals, from newly hatched chicks to 2-day-old humans, are exquisitely sensitive to the movements of other animals. But 2-year-old children with autism don’t pay special attention to this so-called ‘biological motion’, according to a study published today in Nature.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday committed $60 million from the stimulus package to fund research goals for autism laid out in the first federal ‘strategic plan’ for autism research. That plan, published 5 March, and crafted by a federal advisory panel over the past year, recommends 40 research studies with a projected cost of $800 million over the next decade.
A single gene variant is found more often in people who have both autism and gastrointestinal problems than in healthy controls, and could help explain the mysterious link between autism and the gut, according to a study published in the March issue of Pediatrics.
A new way of analyzing the data gathered from electroencephalography (EEG) ― a non-invasive technique that measures brain waves through the scalp ― provides much more information about how brain regions coordinate with one another than standard EEG analysis.
MeCP2, the gene that causes the autism-related Rett syndrome, is expressed not just in neurons but in glia ― cells that support neurons and help process information ― in the brain, according to a study published online in the March issue of Nature Neuroscience.
The sponsors of the largest clinical trial of a treatment for autism on 18 February revealed disheartening results: fluoxetine ― commonly marketed as the antidepressant Prozac ― is no more effective than placebo at reducing repetitive behaviors in children with autism.
‘Eagle-eyed’ vision, characteristic of many people on the autism spectrum, stems at least in part from abnormal variations in the early stages of visual processing, according to two reports published in the January issue of Biological Psychiatry.