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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

February 2009

Scandinavian registries boost autism research

by  /  9 February 2009

Every baby born in Denmark, within the first few days of life, receives a unique, 10-digit identification number. The babyʼs name and number become a part of the Danish Medical Birth Registry, a comprehensive electronic record of the birth details ― from birth weight and length to parents’ smoking habits ― established in 1968.


Imitative play improves symptoms of autism

by  /  4 February 2009

Playing with a child who has autism can be a strange experience, even for a parent. When a mother drives a toy car on the ground, the child picks it up and spins the wheels; when she bounces the ball to her son, he puts it on his head and rocks back and forth; when she presents him with a new toy, he turns away.

January 2009

Autism research expected to prosper under Obama

by  /  30 January 2009

At the height of his presidential campaign against Senator John McCain last July, Barack Obama declined the advocacy group Autism Society of Americaʼs invitation to discuss health reform at a town hall meeting. But in a written response, the then-Senator promised to increase federal funding for autism research and treatment to $1 billion each year by the end of his first term in office.


Epilepsy drugs during pregnancy up the risk of autism

by  /  22 January 2009

The risks of taking sodium valproate or VPA ― a commonly used antiepileptic drug ― during pregnancy may far outweigh the benefits, researchers are cautioning.


Chromosome 15 region associated with autism, epilepsy

by  /  15 January 2009

A specific deletion on chromosome 15 occurs in one percent of people with a common form of epilepsy, establishing the mutation as the most common risk factor for the disorder, according to research published online 11 January in Nature Genetics.


High fetal testosterone triggers autism, British group says

by  /  7 January 2009

In the past few years, studies have linked various chromosomal regions, candidate genes and copy number variations to a higher risk of autism. But none of those findings explain why the condition is four times more common in boys than in girls.

December 2008

Autism and fragile X marked by striking differences in the brain

by  /  23 December 2008

Autism and fragile X syndrome are characterized by very different brain processes, even though the two disorders show similar social deficits, say authors of the first functional imaging study to compare the two disorders.


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.