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Spectrum: Autism Research News


May 2021
Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results

Null and Noteworthy: Pregnancy factors, household language, toddler tests

by  /  20 May 2021

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, researchers rebut a controversial epidural study, test out autism assessments in toddlers and give the okay for multilingualism in autistic children.

April 2021
Two views of mouse brain slices colorized in green and red.

Jump-starting growth signaling reverses microcephaly in autism mouse model

by  /  29 April 2021

A genetic therapy and an existing drug both restore typical brain size in mice missing DYRK1A, a top autism candidate gene, in the cerebral cortex, a new study shows. The animals typically have smaller brains than controls.

November 2016

Growth factor levels may be elevated in children with autism

by  /  11 November 2016

Children with autism may have increased blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that spurs the formation of neuronal connections.

October 2015

Lab gearing up to screen candidate drugs for Rett syndrome

by  /  21 October 2015

Researchers have established a battery of robust rodent assays to screen treatments for Rett syndrome.

November 2014

Growth factor rescues neurons made from boys with Rett

by  /  18 November 2014

Neurons derived from the skin cells of boys with Rett syndrome can help screen potential treatments for the disorder, suggest unpublished results presented yesterday at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

April 2014

The case for using ‘prebiotics’

by ,  /  1 April 2014

Prebiotics — nutrients that promote the growth of some beneficial gut bacteria — can influence brain chemistry and behavior. New findings suggest prebiotics as treatments for people with neurological disorders, say Sarkis Mazmanian and Gil Sharon.

March 2014

No longer junk: Role of long noncoding RNAs in autism risk

by ,  /  4 March 2014

Long pieces of RNA that do not code for protein have diverse and important roles in the cell and may contribute to autism risk, say Nikolaos Mellios and Mriganka Sur.

December 2013

Molecular mechanisms: Rett gene boosts protein production

by  /  3 December 2013

MeCP2, the protein mutated in Rett syndrome, is normally responsible for boosting the expression of a large number of genes. This finding, published 3 October in Cell Stem Cell, may explain why growth factors that promote protein production are able to reverse features of the syndrome in mice.

November 2013

Existing drugs could treat Rett syndrome, studies suggest

by  /  13 November 2013

Rett syndrome affects many cellular pathways, but correcting just one of these with drugs approved for other purposes may be enough to alleviate symptoms of the disorder. This was the message from two presentations Tuesday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

October 2013

Molecular mechanisms: Study ties growth factor to autism

by  /  22 October 2013

Mutations in the autism-linked protein NHE6 may block the development of neuronal junctions by interfering with a growth factor called BDNF, according to a study published 2 October in Neuron.