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Genes

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

December 2010
News

Defects in mitochondria linked to autism

by  /  3 December 2010

Cells drawn from a small sample of children with autism show defects in the functioning of their mitochondria — structures that produce energy to power cellular functions — according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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News

Molecular mechanisms: New pathway for fragile X treatment

by  /  2 December 2010

Inhibiting the ERK1/2 pathway — which regulates the synthesis of other proteins — can rescue some of the effects of fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 17 November in the Journal of Neuroscience. The ERK pathway could provide a novel target for fragile X therapies.

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News

Risk gene for autism rewires the brain

by  /  1 December 2010

A variant of the autism risk gene CNTNAP2 may alter the brain to emphasize connections between nearby regions and diminish those between more distant ones, according to a study published 3 November in Science Translational Medicine.

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November 2010
News

Molecular mechanisms: Researchers light up interactions between neurons

by  /  30 November 2010

Researchers have developed a technique to detect interactions in live neurons between neuroligins and neurexins — two proteins known to bind at the junction between neurons, according to a study published 29 October in Cell.

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News / Profiles

Hazel Sive: A fish tale

by  /  29 November 2010

Hazel Sive is a classically-trained embryologist and developmental biologist, and an expert in zebrafish genetics. She is using the small, transparent fish embryos for research on autism — an odd choice, as they obviously lack the complex behavioral repertoire seen in the disorder.

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News

‘Daydreaming’ circuit implicated in autism, attention deficit

by  /  24 November 2010

Areas of the brain that are active when people are daydreaming or sleeping, and quiet when they are engaged in a task, are imperfectly synchronized in people with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, researchers say.

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News

Modeling captures mouse habitat’s effect on neurons

by  /  19 November 2010

Computerized three-dimensional modeling shows nerve cell abnormalities in the hippocampus of fragile X mice — and suggests the importance of raising experimental mice in more natural habitats, according to a poster presented Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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News

Antibiotic proves promising as fragile X treatment

by  /  19 November 2010

Minocycline, an antibiotic approved to treat various infections including acne, can increase vocalizations and provide long-lasting improvements in anxiety in a fragile X mouse model, according to two posters presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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News

Video: Live from the brain, it’s neuron development

by  /  19 November 2010

Brain cells communicate across complex junctions called synapses, filled with proteins working to bind neurons together. Kurt Haas of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has developed a method to watch neuron development in the growing tadpole brain.

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News

Large study pinpoints new genetic risk region for autism

by  /  19 November 2010

Deletion of the chromosomal region 17q12 dramatically increases the risk for autism and schizophrenia, according to a large study published last week in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Individuals missing this sizeable region are about 14 times more likely to develop one of those disorders, the study reports.

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