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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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

September 2011

Genetics: Autism genes linked to intellectual disability

by  /  7 September 2011

Two autism-associated genes that function at the synapse, the junction between neurons, are associated with severe intellectual disability, according to a study published 9 August in BMC Medical Genetics.


Clinical research: Autism categories are not clear-cut

by  /  6 September 2011

Collapsing the three core domains of autism — impairments in social interaction, communication deficits, and repetitive and restricted behaviors — into two makes no difference in the accuracy of diagnosis, according to a statistical analysis published 20 August in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


First mouse model of Timothy syndrome debuts

by  /  5 September 2011

Researchers have created the first mouse model of Timothy syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes heart defects and autism. The findings appeared 30 August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


The big sleep

by  /  2 September 2011

A new review suggests that sleep problems in neurodevelopmental disorders don’t just reflect underlying weaknesses in neural circuitry; they actively intensify these deficits.


Cognition and behavior: Fragile X treatment has ill effects

by  /  2 September 2011

A compound that shows promise as a treatment for fragile X syndrome alleviates repetitive behaviors in mice, but unexpectedly makes them less social.


Chromosome 16 duplication raises risk of extreme thinness

by  /  1 September 2011

Individuals with a duplication of a chromosomal region associated with autism and intellectual disability are at higher risk for low birth weight, restricted eating leading to extreme thinness, and smaller-than-average head size.

August 2011

Cognition and behavior: Autism brain patterns inherited

by  /  31 August 2011

Healthy parents of children with autism have an atypical brain response to sound frequency changes that mimics the response of individuals with the disorder.


Genetics: Spontaneous mutations play role in schizophrenia

by  /  30 August 2011

Harmful spontaneous mutations may account for up to half the cases of non-inherited schizophrenia.


How fish can help find causes of autism

by ,  /  29 August 2011

Zebrafish share genes and pathways with humans, making them a useful tool to identify the genes that malfunction in autism, says expert Hazel Sive.


Molecular mechanisms: Antisocial mice have elevated immunity

by  /  26 August 2011

BTBR mice, which are less social than the typical B6 mice, have an elevated immune response in their brains and blood compared with those mice, according to a study published 20 July in PLoS ONE. Hybrids of BTBR and B6 mice have intermediate levels of immune molecules.