New DNA tests for fragile X syndrome are quick, but also raise ethical questions: they pick up abnormalities in some babies who won’t develop symptoms until adulthood, if at all.
From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.
A new wave of genetic tests for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism, may make it possible to routinely screen pregnant women and newborns for the syndrome.
A study of postmortem tissue shows that microglia, cells that provide immune protection to the brain, are altered in the brains of individuals with autism.
A drug that interferes with a biochemical pathway important in cancer can reverse some brain defects in mouse models of fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 11 August in the Journal of Neuroscience.
In order to understand the interaction between genes and environment in autism, researchers in different disciplines will have to move back and forth between those two realms, stretching out of their intellectual comfort zones. But if the mood at an interdisciplinary workshop two weeks ago is any indication, that challenge is also a source of excitement.
Changes in diagnostic practices, more active neighborhood networks, and an increase in the number of older parents may all contribute to the massive rates of autism in California, says a group of social scientists. But the numbers still don’t add up.
The Autism Birth Cohort, based on data from 100,000 Norwegian children and their families, aims to uncover genetic and environmental factors contributing to the disorder.
Researchers have uncovered an important molecular piece of a learning mechanism that occurs at the junction between neurons. The findings, which may help understand how the brain is disrupted in disorders such as autism, appear in the 24 June issue of Neuron.