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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion /

Viewpoint

Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles
September 2012

Insights for autism from Williams syndrome

by  /  18 September 2012

Studying the well-characterized Williams syndrome could help researchers understand autism and discover new therapeutic targets, says Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg.

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Premature ideas

by  /  7 September 2012

A New York Times opinion column on 25 August suggested that at least some cases of autism could be considered inflammatory disorders. But this theory is still in its infancy.

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Postmortem brains crucial for autism research

by ,  /  4 September 2012

Postmortem brains from individuals with autism allow researchers to look at patterns of gene expression in different cell types, and to understand the interplay among neurons and neural circuits, says Dan Arking.

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August 2012

Heart matters

by  /  24 August 2012

Rather than make blanket decisions, doctors must gauge the level of cognitive impairment in individuals with autism when considering them for organ transplants, says bioethicist Arthur Caplan.

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Executive confusion

by  /  21 August 2012

Among siblings of children with autism, those with better prefrontal cortex functioning — observable as relatively strong executive functions for their age — are better able to compensate for atypicalities in other brain systems early in life, and are therefore less likely to receive a diagnosis of autism later in their development, argues Mark H. Johnson.

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Genes and environment are two-way street in autism risk

by  /  21 August 2012

Genes and the environment each influence the role of the other in determining the risk of developing autism. Genetics can determine how susceptible one is to the environment, and environmental factors can influence gene expression and introduce mutations, says immunologist Janine LaSalle.

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July 2012

Insights for autism from tuberous sclerosis complex

by  /  24 July 2012

Studying tuberous sclerosis provides researchers with a unique opportunity to find a common pathway among the various genetic causes of autism, says neurologist Mustafa Sahin.

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Targeting brain microcircuits may help treat autism

by  /  10 July 2012

Understanding the function of neuronal circuits, specifically microcircuits in the prefrontal cortex and elsewhere in the brain, will play a major role in translating research findings into new autism treatments, says Vikaas Sohal.

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June 2012

Focus on function may help unravel autism’s complex genetics

by ,  /  26 June 2012

To find the pathogenic mutations in complex disorders such as autism, researchers may need to conduct sophisticated analyses of the genetic functions that are disrupted, says geneticist Aravinda Chakravarti.

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The case for brain donation

by  /  26 June 2012

We can’t get back the tissue lost in the Harvard freezer malfunction, but we can try to create something positive from this tragic event, says Alison Singer.

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