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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Genes

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

August 2011

Autism studies that neglect subgroups may skew results

by  /  11 August 2011

Autism studies tend to focus on one part of the spectrum, often excluding those who also have other conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or intellectual disability. The result, some experts say, is piecemeal findings that don’t fit together to generate a whole picture.

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Modified stem cells make glowing neurons

by  /  10 August 2011

A new technique allows researchers to make stable modifications to neurons by incorporating modified amino acids into the proteins of stem cells. The method permits researchers to investigate neuronal function in live, intact cells.

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Genetics: Variants linked to autism-related behavior

by  /  10 August 2011

Genetic variants in two autism-associated genes have been linked to repetitive behavior and hyperactivity, two common symptoms of the disorder, according to two studies published in the past few months.

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Optogenetics study boosts signal imbalance theory of autism

by  /  8 August 2011

By zapping mouse brains with blue and yellow light beams, scientists have manipulated the animals’ social behaviors and bolstered a popular theory of what causes autism.

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Kissing cousins

by  /  5 August 2011

Marriages between first cousins are frowned upon in the U.S. and western Europe, but they are common throughout much of the world. A new study shows that these consanguineous unions can help researchers uncover genetic risk factors for neurodevelopmental diseases.

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Clinical research: Drug increases communication while rats play

by  /  5 August 2011

Giving GLYX-13, a drug that targets an autism-associated brain pathway, to rats bred to be less social increases how much they communicate while playing.

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X-linked variants may up autism, schizophrenia risk

by  /  3 August 2011

The first study to sequence more than 100 genes on the X chromosome in people with autism or schizophrenia has turned up some promising leads.

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Molecular mechanisms: MeCP2 loss ups signal strength

by  /  3 August 2011

A study using action potentials, the electrical impulses that trigger signaling, shows that neurons lacking MeCP2, the Rett syndrome protein, have stronger neuronal signals compared with controls, according to a study published in the July Journal of Neurophysiology.

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You and I

by  /  2 August 2011

Children with autism often use the wrong pronouns, referring to themselves as ‘you’ in conversation. A new study shows that this difficulty in shifting perspective from other to self may result from impaired connections between brain regions.

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Studying autism genetics in special populations

by  /  2 August 2011

The study of any genetic disorder benefits from including the many diverse human populations in our world, and autism should be no different, says geneticist Christopher Walsh.

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