The etiology of autism may be best understood as an impairment of neuronal circuits, specifically interneurons that dampen signals in the brain, says neuroscientist Gordon Fishell.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.
Over the past 30 years, autism research pioneer Fred Volkmar says he has learned that researchers should be humble when assigning meaning to autism behavior, and seek to translate their findings into useful applications.
Individuals who have autism and dysmorphology comprise a distinct subgroup within the disorder, says geneticist Judith Miles.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and autism are both associated with alterations in the number of copies of certain genetic regions, mutations in multiple candidate genes and with both inherited and spontaneous mutations, notes human geneticist James Lupski.
Including more females in autism research studies will aid the search for genetic and environmental susceptibility factors for the disorder, says genetic psychiatrist Lauren Weiss.
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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