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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.

March 2011

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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First-ever Phelan-McDermid meeting has its Eureka moments

by  /  10 March 2011

The First International Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Symposium, held last week in New York City, brought together scientists and patient advocates to share insights — including a surprising realization about mice missing the SHANK3 gene.

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New technique creates map of synapses

by  /  9 March 2011

A new technique can pinpoint the precise location of individual proteins at a synapse — the junction between neurons — at high resolution in brain tissue, according to a study published 9 December in Neuron.

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Genetics: Autism language gene affects general population

by  /  8 March 2011

Genetic risk factors for specific language impairment and autism affect the timing of language learning in the general population, according to a study published in February in Genes, Brain and Behavior.

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Studies implicate gut bacteria in autism

by  /  7 March 2011

Researchers are exploring the possibility that gastrointestinal bacteria may influence brain development and play a role in autism.

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