Researchers can reliably identify individuals with autism by looking at the expression pattern of a set of genes in cultured blood cells, according to a poster presented Friday at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.
Diagnosing autism is an evolving science but a crucial first step to understanding the disorder.
Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.
Variations in two genes needed to form connections between brain cells may be associated with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published 25 March in Molecular Autism. Some variants in the genes seem to increase susceptibility to autism, whereas others protect children from developing the disorder.
Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.
Researchers are tinkering with mouse models to investigate the function of a protein that helps wire neurons together and that has repeatedly been linked to autism. Three such reports of the protein, neuroligin-1, have appeared this year.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism may have more in common than childhood onset and a few similar symptoms. New research suggests the conditions share genetic roots.
Several studies in the past year in people, mice and honeybees have tied autism to a protein that helps neurons communicate. Problems with the protein, neurexin 1, are associated with a wide range of autistic behaviors, such as impaired social interactions, anxiety and problems with learning and memory.