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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.

August 2015

Autism may arise from brain’s response to early disturbances

by  /  18 August 2015

Autism is not a developmental disorder, but rather the brain’s adaptive response to early genetic or environmental disturbances, says Mark Johnson.


U.S. revives failed autism study amid lingering skepticism

by  /  17 August 2015

The National Institutes of Health is reviving a defunct study that aimed to identify environmental risk factors for autism and other childhood disorders. Some researchers say the do-over is unlikely to live up to the original project’s promise.


Sibling study questions cesarean section link to autism

by  /  4 August 2015

Contrary to previous findings, children born by cesarean section are not at an increased risk of autism, says a Swedish sibling study.

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Control centers for genes rife with autism-linked DNA blips

by  /  3 August 2015

DNA sequences called enhancers — which boost the expression of genes from within or outside them — are enriched for genetic variants linked to autism, suggests a new study. The finding may help researchers understand how variants outside genes contribute to autism.

July 2015

Marmosets that miss social cues may mimic autism

by  /  29 July 2015

Marmosets exposed to an epilepsy drug in the womb do not recognize reciprocity — the social give-and-take that is a challenge for some people with autism — suggests a new study. The findings add to mounting evidence that these tiny monkeys offer clues about autism.


New method vets quality of antibodies for experimental use

by  /  15 July 2015

Researchers have devised a reliable technique for evaluating how well antibodies home in on specific molecules in scientific experiments. The new approach could take some of the guesswork out of studies that use antibodies to label and isolate proteins.


Obesity during pregnancy may not boost child’s autism risk

by  /  10 July 2015

Women who are overweight while pregnant have an increased risk of having a child with autism. But a new study suggests that genetics, not the obesity per se, underlies the association.

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Method improves analysis of chemical tags that control genes

by  /  8 July 2015

A new strategy sharpens the analysis of chemical tags on the DNA-protein complexes that regulate gene expression. The method may help researchers decipher how gene expression goes awry in disorders such as autism.


Short chromosome caps may up autism risk in families

by  /  6 July 2015

Telomeres, the structures at the tips of chromosomes, tend to be unusually short in people with autism and their immediate family members.

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June 2015

Young women bear high risk of having children with autism

by  /  25 June 2015

Older women and men are at high risk of having a child with autism — and so are teenage girls and parents whose age differs by at least a decade, according to a multinational study of more than 5 million children.

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