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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.

July 2011

Genetics: Neurexin 1 variant affects volume of healthy brains

by  /  29 July 2011

A variant of neurexin 1, a gene linked to both autism and schizophrenia, is associated with less brain matter than normal in healthy individuals, according to a study published 8 June in PLoS ONE.

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Fragile X protein found to regulate key autism candidates

by  /  28 July 2011

The protein missing in people with fragile X syndrome regulates the activity of more than 800 other proteins, including some key players in autism, according to a study published 22 July in Cell. Many of these autism-associated proteins cluster on either side of the synapse, the junction between neurons.

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Molecular mechanisms: Fragments of RNA regulate synapse

by  /  27 July 2011

Small fragments of RNA, called microRNAs, can fine-tune the levels of proteins at the junctions between neurons in response to cell signals, according to a study published 10 June in Molecular Cell.

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Playing by the rules

by  /  26 July 2011

Broken rules are even more distressing to people with autism than being excluded, according to a new study.

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Cognition and behavior: SHANK1 mutant mice keep quiet

by  /  26 July 2011

Mice lacking SHANK1, a member of a family of autism-associated proteins, communicate less with their mothers and potential mates than controls do, according to a study published 9 June in PLoS One.

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Clinical research: Antidepressant use in pregnancy linked to autism

by  /  22 July 2011

Taking antidepressants while pregnant may slightly increase the risk of having a child with autism, reports a study published 4 July in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Wendy Chung: Genetic sleuth is advocate for families

by  /  21 July 2011

Wendy Chung planned to spend her career in a research lab, identifying rare pathologies. But life had other plans for her.

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Genetics: Small duplications, deletions implicated in autism

by  /  20 July 2011

Small duplications and deletions of chromosomal regions that include genes needed for the development of the nervous system are more common in individuals with autism than in controls, according to a study published in the June issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics.

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Neurons

Insights for autism from Angelman syndrome

by , ,  /  19 July 2011

Deletions or duplications of the UBE3A gene lead to both Angelman syndrome and some cases of autism, respectively. Studying the effects of altered gene dosage in this region will provide insights into brain defects and suggest targets for therapies for both disorders, says expert Benjamin Philpot.

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Molecular mechanisms: Autism mutants cause cell stress

by  /  19 July 2011

Some autism-associated mutations activate a stress response that could lead to symptoms of the disorder, according to a study published 3 June in Cell Death and Disease.

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