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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

September 2009

Autism impedes ability to read body language

by  /  1 September 2009

A glitch in visual processing may explain why people with autism struggle to gauge emotions from the body language of others, according to a study published in the journal Neuropsychologia.
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August 2009

New autism risk genes may bolster fetal testosterone theory

by  /  25 August 2009

A team of British researchers has garnered some of the first genetic evidence supporting their theory that sex hormones play a role in the development of autism.


Study raises questions about autism-gut connection

by  /  18 August 2009

Children with autism are no more likely than healthy children to have some of the gastrointestinal symptoms — such as diarrhea, acid reflux and abdominal discomfort — previously tied to the disorder, according to one of the first long-term investigations of the supposed link.


X chromosome helps unravel complex genetics of autism

by  /  11 August 2009

Genetic studies to date have identified variations linked to autism in 21 of the 23 human chromosomes. Now, using a variety of new, high-resolution techniques, scientists are mining one of these chromosomes — the X — for a more comprehensive set of genetic anomalies associated with the disorder.


Atomic close-up of brain proteins hints at diversity of autism

by  /  6 August 2009

Scientists have unveiled the complete structure of an interwoven complex of two types of brain proteins necessary for forming and maintaining connections between neurons.


Gene ties trust hormone to Williams syndrome and autism

by  /  3 August 2009

Studying the relatively well-defined genetics of Williams syndrome may help unravel the poorly understood genetic and neurobiological roots of autism, researchers say.

July 2009

Eye-tracking brings focus to ‘theory of mind’

by  /  29 July 2009

People with Asperger syndrome don’t automatically show ‘theory of mind’, the ability to understand the desires and beliefs of others, according to a report published 16 July in Science. Instead, they seem to use deliberate reasoning to understand social behaviors, learned after years of practice in the real world.
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Schizophrenia risk genes tied to immunity, autism

by  /  24 July 2009

Several new genetic variants associated with schizophrenia lie in regions important for immune function and associated with autism. This suggests that both disorders stem partly from abnormal activation of the immune system, say some researchers.


Studies of brain structure boost ‘connectivity theory’ of autism

by  /  21 July 2009

The brains of people with autism have structural abnormalities that disrupt normal connections between brain regions and impede the flow of information across the brain. That’s the conclusion of a 20-year-old theory supported by several new studies.


New autism gene points to cellular calcium imbalance

by  /  14 July 2009

A common variant of a gene called CACNA1G — which makes a channel that helps regulate calcium flow between cells — may increase the risk of developing autism, according to research published in Molecular Psychiatry.