Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

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

March 2011

New candidate gene may explain male bias of autism

by  /  24 March 2011

A gene that regulates the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain could help explain why males are more susceptible to autism than are females, according to a study published in PLoS One in February.

0 Comments

Molecular mechanisms: Neuroligin-4 induces synapses in a dish

by  /  23 March 2011

Neuroligin-4, a protein associated with autism, is located at synapses — the junctions between neurons — that inhibit signals in the brain, according to a study published in February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The protein can also single-handedly induce neurons derived from human stem cells to form synapses, according to another study in the same issue.

0 Comments

Molecular mechanisms: Autism gene linked to mitochondria

by  /  22 March 2011

Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1, or DISC1— a protein associated with both autism and schizophrenia — is involved in the transport of mitochondria, the power-houses of the cell, to their correct locations in neurons, according to a study published in February in Molecular Psychiatry.

0 Comments

New SHANK3 mouse shows autism-like features

by  /  21 March 2011

Researchers have created a mouse carrying a deletion in SHANK3, an autism candidate gene, they reported yesterday in Nature. This is the second model of SHANK3 mutations but shows markedly more behavioral and brain defects compared with the first.

4 Comments

Mitochondrial function disrupted in children with autism

by  /  17 March 2011

The first study to look at mitochondria — the powerhouses of the cell — in postmortem brain tissue taken from children with autism has found significant abnormalities in their function in some regions of the brain.

4 Comments

Genetics: Cell communication pathway linked to autism

by  /  16 March 2011

Mutations in a gene that organizes synapses — the junctions between neurons — may increase the risk of autism, according to a study published in February in Autism Research. The study bolsters evidence linking a pathway involved in cell-to-cell communication to autism.

0 Comments

Postmortem brains hold sequencing potential

by  /  16 March 2011

Researchers have extracted and sequenced DNA from 52 postmortem brains from the Autism Tissue Program, providing a resource to study mutations and gene expression differences in the brains of people with the disorder.

0 Comments

Machine-learning tool shows promise for autism diagnosis

by  /  14 March 2011

It’s too soon to call it a diagnostic test for autism, but an algorithm that detects patterns in brain waves shows promise as one component of a screening battery for the disorder, say researchers familiar with the work.

0 Comments

Root strategy

by  /  11 March 2011

A new technique for creating stem cells from hair may help researchers understand how neurons and the junction between them form.

0 Comments

Meeting brings unusual focus to Phelan-McDermid syndrome

by  /  10 March 2011

The first international meeting on Phelan-McDermid syndrome brought together researchers and family members of those affected by the disorder, sparking collaboration and some emotion.

2 Comments