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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.

June 2011

Diagnostic tests for autism may miss many girls

by  /  27 June 2011

The symptoms of Asperger syndrome look slightly different in girls than in boys, according to a new study. However, gender differences in autism are poorly understood, and the results are preliminary, say other researchers.

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Clinical research: Prenatal vitamins lower risk of autism

by  /  24 June 2011

Taking prenatal vitamins for three months before conception and four weeks after could lower the risk of having a child with autism, particularly for women who carry certain genetic variants, according to a study published in the July issue of Epidemiology.

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Ricardo Dolmetsch: Regenerating the cells of autism

by  /  23 June 2011

The ever-curious and energetic Ricardo Dolmetsch is taking skin cells from individuals with various types of autism and turning them into neurons in the lab. The approach could reveal the cellular basis of the disorder and point to new treatments.

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Molecular mechanisms: SHANK3 mutants function at synapse

by  /  22 June 2011

Spontaneous and inherited mutations in SHANK3 both inhibit the protein’s role at synapses, the junctions between neurons, according to a study published 24 May in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Clinical research: Photographs reveal unusual physical features

by  /  21 June 2011

Photographs that reveal minor physical abnormalities often seen in children with autism or other developmental disabilities could be useful as a first screen for autism, according to a study published 24 May in Autism.

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Drug trials for fragile X syndrome lead the way for autism

by  /  21 June 2011

Several targeted trials on drugs that treat fragile X syndrome are under way. But accurate endpoints to measure the drugs’ effectiveness are crucial, argues developmental and behavioral pediatrician Randi Hagerman.

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Rett protein needed for adult brain function

by  /  20 June 2011

A new study calls into question the assumption that Rett syndrome is exclusively a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by the lack of a critical protein in utero.

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Diagnostic brain scans: hope or hype?

by  /  16 June 2011

In the past year, several studies have suggested that brain scans will soon help clinicians diagnose autism. But many experts say these scans are far from — and may never be — ready for use as diagnostic tests.

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Database reveals lineage of laboratory mouse strains

by  /  15 June 2011

A new online database that compiles genomic sequence information for 162 mouse strains shows that classical laboratory strains have limited genetic diversity, according to a report published 29 May in Nature Genetics.

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Cognition and behavior: IQ predicts sensitivity to human movement

by  /  15 June 2011

Adults with autism who have high intelligence quotients (IQ) are better at identifying the direction of biological motion than are those with lower IQ scores, according to a study published 3 May in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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