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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion /

Viewpoint

Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles
July 2011
Neurons

Insights for autism from Angelman syndrome

by , ,  /  19 July 2011

Deletions or duplications of the UBE3A gene lead to both Angelman syndrome and some cases of autism, respectively. Studying the effects of altered gene dosage in this region will provide insights into brain defects and suggest targets for therapies for both disorders, says expert Benjamin Philpot.

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Studying infant sibs of children with autism spectrum disorder

by  /  5 July 2011

Studying the infant siblings of children who have autism to identify early signs of the disorder is expected to have enormous impact on the field from a clinical and a basic science standpoint, says psychologist Karen Dobkins.

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June 2011

Drug trials for fragile X syndrome lead the way for autism

by  /  21 June 2011

Several targeted trials on drugs that treat fragile X syndrome are under way. But accurate endpoints to measure the drugs’ effectiveness are crucial, argues developmental and behavioral pediatrician Randi Hagerman.

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Solving the complex causes of a multi-hit disorder

by ,  /  7 June 2011

What’s known about the genetics of autism supports the ‘snowflake’ hypothesis — that the molecular underpinnings of disease are essentially unique from individual to individual — says human geneticist Brett Abrahams.

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May 2011

Isabelle Rapin: Lessons from my clinic

by  /  24 May 2011

Autism is diagnosed based on the severity and variety of its symptoms. This makes it very difficult to diagnose and easy to confuse with other disorders, such as language delay and intellectual disability, cautions Isabelle Rapin.

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Promises and limitations of mouse models of autism

by  /  10 May 2011

Good mouse models of autism, and accurate tests to assay their phenotypes, are key to both narrowing down a cause and developing effective treatments, argues expert Jacqueline Crawley.

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April 2011

Uta Frith: Why I am obsessed with this cognitive thing

by  /  26 April 2011

No matter which of the numerous genetic and environmental risk factors has caused autism, the part of the system that is always affected is most likely to be found at the cognitive level, argues Uta Frith, a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

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Imaging biomarkers could signal autism spectrum disorder

by  /  12 April 2011

There does not appear to be a single genetic or environmental cause of autism, and given the heterogeneity of symptoms, coming up with a clear yes or no test for autism is challenging. Timothy Roberts argues that imaging and electrophysiology are key in the search for autism biomarkers.

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March 2011

Why fold Asperger syndrome into autism spectrum disorder in the DSM-5?

by  /  29 March 2011

In the new diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders, Asperger syndrome will be folded into autism spectrum disorder. Francesca Happé, a member of the committee that made the recommendation, explains the rationale behind the decision.

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False-belief tasks are distinct from theory of mind

by  /  15 March 2011

Languages lacking words for feelings can lead to ‘mind-blindness,’ a feature of autism, according to a 2009 study. Cognitive neuroscientist Helen Tager-Flusberg argues that language delay only partially explains the theory of mind deficits seen in people with autism.

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