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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: OCD

February 2013

Clinical research: Oxytocin may improve quality of life

by  /  22 February 2013

People with autism who inhaled regular doses of the hormone oxytocin were better at recognizing others’ emotions and reported a higher quality of life than those who took a placebo, according to a small study published 5 December in Molecular Autism.

October 2012

Technique follows calcium trail to track changes in signaling

by  /  24 October 2012

Researchers have genetically engineered neurons to fluoresce in response to the calcium signals emitted when they fire, according to a study published 18 October in Neuron.

August 2012

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.

January 2012

Clinical research: Prozac may help adults with autism

by  /  25 January 2012

Fluoxetine, an antidepressant marketed as Prozac, may alleviate repetitive behaviors in adults with autism, according to a study published 2 December in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

August 2011

New focus on repetition, obsession in autism studies

by  /  18 August 2011

New studies of restricted and repetitive behaviors link autism to other disorders and may lead to more effective treatments.

July 2011

Cognition and behavior: SHANK1 mutant mice keep quiet

by  /  26 July 2011

Mice lacking SHANK1, a member of a family of autism-associated proteins, communicate less with their mothers and potential mates than controls do, according to a study published 9 June in PLoS One.


Molecular mechanisms: Neurexin 1 forms flexible shape

by  /  12 July 2011

Neurexin 1, an autism-associated protein that functions at the junctions between neurons, has a flexible hinge that can toggle the protein between a more compact or a more accessible shape, a crystal structure published 8 June in Structure reveals.

June 2011

Molecular mechanisms: Mouse model supports role for SHANK3 in autism

by  /  3 June 2011

Mice with a mutation in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate gene, show moderate social defects, including less-than-normal interest in other mice. The findings, published 27 May in Cell, suggest that mutations in different sites on the gene can lead to different behaviors. This paper was retracted on 17 January 2013. Associate director of research Alan Packer discusses the implications of the retraction here.

May 2011

Cognition and behavior: Drug enhances social learning

by  /  27 May 2011

A compound that activates a pathway related to learning and memory can enhance pair-bonding between prairie voles, according to a study published 7 April in Biological Psychiatry. Enhancing social learning — an individual’s response to social cues — during development could help treat autism.


Cognition and behavior: Brain volume signals repetitive behavior

by  /  10 May 2011

Smaller-than-normal volume in several brain regions, including a region involved in relaying motor signals, could be a marker for repetitive behavior in 3-year-old children, according to a study published 7 April in Autism Research.