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The push to screen newborns for rare autism-linked genetic conditions

by  /  28 July 2021

As treatments for some autism-linked genetic conditions inch closer to the clinic, researchers are talking more urgently about screening all newborns for such conditions.

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Sleep problems in autism may stem from leaky brain barrier

by  /  23 July 2021
Problems with falling and staying asleep are common in autism, and they may be due in part to leaks in the blood-brain barrier, according to a new study in fruit flies.
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Illustration shows a woman whose mouth is covered by a cloud and whos eyes are covered by a cloud.

Double empathy, explained

by  /  22 July 2021
The double empathy theory challenges the idea that social difficulties are specific to autism and suggests that problems arise from a mismatch in perspective between autistic and non-autistic people.
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Ultra-rare variants point to new autism candidate genes

by  /  26 July 2021
A large, whole-genome sequencing study of families yields insights into ultra-rare genetic variants that contribute to autism.

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Sex, age of diagnosis correlate with autism comorbidities

by  /  30 July 2021

Girls are more likely to have various other conditions, such as anxiety or an eating disorder, if they are diagnosed with autism as a teenager, compared with girls diagnosed as children. The findings may suggest that clinicians miss diagnosing some autistic girls unless they also have co-occurring conditions.

Speech bubble formed by a network of communication
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Community Newsletter: Controversial ‘cost of autism’ paper, ‘doctors’ speak,’ double empathy explained

by  /  25 July 2021

In this week’s community newsletter, we dissect reactions to an anti-vaccine activist’s controversial paper, how doctors talk about autism and our new double empathy explainer.

Micrographs comparing motor cortex neurons in mice with and without an extra copy of MECP2 gene.
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Blocking key pathway reverses brain, behavior changes in autism mouse model

by  /  19 July 2021

Neurons in mice with an autism-linked mutation sprout extraneous protrusions, an overgrowth accompanied by above-average motor learning. Inhibiting a cell signaling pathway reverses the effect.

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Community Newsletter: Online theory-of-mind test, strengths-based autism diagnosis, mapping trajectories

by  /  18 July 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we dissect a new online version of the Frith-Happé test, a strengths-based diagnostic approach, and autistic children’s trajectories after diagnosis.

Immature inhibitory cells surround mature neuron.
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Critical time window flagged for autism gene’s influence

by  /  16 July 2021

A transplant of inhibitory neurons during the second week of life prevents social difficulties and a brain signaling imbalance in mice missing a copy of FOXG1.

Four brown lab mice in a cage, top-down view, with one mouse away from the group.
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Autism-linked mutation may blur brain’s boundary between self, others

by  /  15 July 2021

A mutation in the autism-linked gene SHANK3 changes how neurons encode information about social agency in mice.

Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results
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Null and Noteworthy: Oxytocin, parental training, outcome assessments

by  /  15 July 2021

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, researchers open the case on acetaminophen and close it on oxytocin.

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Patchwork mutations present a new frontier for autism research

by  /  12 July 2021

Mosaic mutations, which affect only some of the body’s cells, play a small but meaningful role in autism. Though they are difficult to study, researchers are working to master their complexity.

Speech bubble formed by a network of communication
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Community Newsletter: Autism and the thalamus, recreational drug use in autistic people, new IACC members

by  /  11 July 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we discuss the role of the thalamus in autism, recreational drug use by autistic people and the newest lineup of IACC members.

researchers analyzing a big change in a DNA helix
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Evolutionary approach reveals impact of missense variants in autism

by  /  7 July 2021

Cross-species comparisons can help make sense of subtle genetic variants in people with autism and identify hundreds of new genes that may contribute to the condition.

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