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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.

February 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Lithium treats fragile X in mice

by  /  3 February 2012

Lithium alleviates the symptoms of fragile X syndrome in mice in part by normalizing protein synthesis in the brain, according to a study published 29 December in Neurobiology of Disease.


Diverse data networks point to driving force in diseases

by  /  2 February 2012

A mathematical approach called ‘NEW biology,’ or network-enabled wisdom biology, aims to solve one of the biggest problems in disease research: isolating the key factors that drive diseases from a glut of information.


New machine takes rapid, reliable pictures of brains

by  /  1 February 2012

An automated instrument can reconstruct fluorescently labeled mouse brains in less than a day, researchers reported 15 January in Nature Methods.


Clinical research: Two compounds treat Rett syndrome in mice

by  /  1 February 2012

Two compounds that enhance the activity of BDNF, a protein needed for the growth of neurons, improve motor skills in mouse models of Rett syndrome and increase the mice’s lifespan.

January 2012

Cognition and behavior: Brain scans yield few signs of autism

by  /  31 January 2012

The results of two new studies support recommendations against the use of brain scans to diagnose autism.


Sequencing identifies source of mitochondrial disorders

by  /  30 January 2012

Researchers have identified the genetic root of severe mitochondrial disorders in infants whose cases couldn’t be solved by standard genetic testing, according to research published last week in Science Translational Medicine.


Genetics: New dataset confirms schizophrenia associations

by  /  27 January 2012

A new study uses data from more than 10,000 typical individuals to validate candidate regions implicated in schizophrenia.


New technique charts patterns of microRNA expression

by  /  25 January 2012

Researchers have mapped the levels of tiny RNA fragments that regulate gene expression in specific brain regions and subtypes of neurons. The results were published 12 January in Neuron.  


Risky business

by  /  24 January 2012

The genome-wide association study has been the favorite whipping post among some geneticists, but three new reviews come to its defense.


Molecular mechanisms: Autism gene tied to neuronal junctions

by  /  24 January 2012

Neurobeachin, or NBEA, an autism–associated gene, may regulate the transport of signaling molecules to neuronal branches, according to a study published 22 November in Nature Communications.