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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Environment

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

January 2019

Gut microbes may treat social difficulties in autism mice

by  /  16 January 2019

Consuming Lactobacillus reuteri, a gut microbe found in yogurt and breast milk, may enhance social interactions in three mouse models of autism.

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December 2018
Siblings, a baby and a toddler, play together at home.

How pregnancy may shape a child’s autism

by  /  5 December 2018

Autism is predominantly genetic in origin, but a growing list of prenatal exposures for mother and baby may sway the odds.

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November 2018
Two white mice, one on a wheel, sniff noses.

Infection during childhood may aggravate autism risk from mutation

by  /  7 November 2018

Triggering an immune defense in newborn male mice missing a copy of TSC2, a gene linked to autism, impairs the mice’s social memory.

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Inflammation in womb may spawn autism-like traits in males

by  /  6 November 2018

Chronic exposure to inflammation in the womb alters autism gene expression and disrupts social behavior in male mice, but not females.

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Illustration shows a maze of elements: human brain, medicine, chromosome, factory, clouds and lightning bolts

Environmental risk for autism, explained

by  /  5 November 2018

Autism results from an interplay between genetics and the environment, but it has been tough to nail down the environmental factors involved.

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A white lab rat on a grey background.

Brain scans of rats reveal molecular clues to autism’s link

by  /  4 November 2018

Rats exposed prenatally to a cocktail of ‘autoimmune’ molecules have altered levels of two types of compounds needed for brain development.

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Decoy protein defangs immune molecule linked to autism

by  /  3 November 2018

A specially made ‘decoy’ protein prevents an immune molecule from crossing the placenta; the strategy may prevent the brain changes that lead to autism.

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Fever in pregnant rats alters pups’ social skills

by  /  3 November 2018

Fever in pregnant rats around the time of delivery disrupts their pups’ communication and social behavior.

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October 2018
Two children picking mushrooms in a field.

Genetics plays outsized role in autism, large study shows

by  /  15 October 2018

Autism is more heritable than anorexia, alcohol dependence, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to an analysis of data from nearly 4.5 million people.

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Two women seen from behind with arms around each other.

Overlap in traits of autism, attention deficit persists into adulthood

by  /  8 October 2018

Traits linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to co-occur even in adulthood.

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