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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.

April 2011

Odd men out

by  /  26 April 2011

Animal research hints that sex hormones may be responsible for the gender bias in autism. More research is needed in people to back this up, says a new review.

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Molecular mechanisms: Mice lacking MET have strong brain connections

by  /  26 April 2011

Mice missing the autism candidate gene MET have connections in the cortex that are twice as strong as those in controls, according to a new study.

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Sudden deaths in autism and epilepsy baffle researchers

by  /  21 April 2011

A mysterious cluster of sudden deaths among young people who had a genetic syndrome is drawing attention to the high rate of unexplained deaths in individuals with autism and epilepsy.

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Researchers make neurons from people with schizophrenia

by  /  20 April 2011

Researchers have taken skin cells from individuals with schizophrenia, bathed them in chemical cocktails and coaxed them to develop into neurons, according to a paper published 13 April in Nature.

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Genetics: Identical twins not so similar

by  /  20 April 2011

Identical twins can be genetically different, which could explain why they do not always share disorders such as schizophrenia or autism, according to a study published in March in PLoS One.

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Space cadets

by  /  18 April 2011

People with autism are better able to visualize objects rotating in space — perhaps because their brains are wired differently than healthy controls.

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Maternal stress alters behavior of generations

by  /  18 April 2011

Early trauma alters both behavior and gene expression in three generations of mice, suggesting that epigenetic changes may contribute to ‘hidden heritability’ in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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An ape with ‘autism’

by  /  15 April 2011

Similarities between us and our closest ape relatives — chimpanzees and bonobos — have shaped our understanding of what it means to be human. The latest surprise is Teco, a young bonobo who shows behaviors that look suspiciously similar to those associated with autism.

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Thomas Südhof: Exploring connections between neurons, nations

by  /  14 April 2011

Thomas Südhof has achieved stellar scientific results with a style that colleagues call typically German — sober, meticulous and highly competitive.

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Genetics: Small chromosome changes are rare, inherited

by  /  13 April 2011

Small duplications or deletions of DNA regions — called micro-copy number variations — may not lead directly to disease, but could raise the risk of autism when combined with other mutations, according to a study published in March in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics.

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