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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.

January 2011

Brain-wave patterns bolster mouse models of autism

by  /  25 January 2011

Mice exposed to an epilepsy drug show several features of autism, including abnormal social interactions, repetitive behaviors and patterns of super-fast brain waves, called gamma oscillations, according to a study published 15 December in Biological Psychiatry.

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Genetics: Including gender improves autism genetics research

by  /  24 January 2011

Accounting for gender increases the power of family-wide studies linking genetic mutations with autism, according to a study published in December in Molecular Psychiatry. The researchers use this approach to identify two candidate genes for the disorder.

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New drug rescues function in fragile X syndrome

by  /  20 January 2011

A new drug appears to relieve symptoms of fragile X syndrome by blocking the over-production of a key protein in a subset of people with the disorder, according to a 6 January study in Science Translational Medicine.

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Molecular mechanisms: Scientists debut fruit fly ‘connectome’

by  /  19 January 2011

Using tricks of genetic engineering, researchers in Taiwan have created the first comprehensive map of the myriad neuronal connections in the fruit fly brain. The findings appeared 11 January in Current Biology.

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Cognition and behavior: Face processing skill runs in families

by  /  18 January 2011

Relatives of individuals with autism recognize faces and emotions better than people with autism do, but not as well as typically developing controls do, according to a study published in December in Autism Research.

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Genetics: DNA duplications have far-reaching effects

by  /  17 January 2011

Copy number variations, or CNVs — duplications or deletions of DNA segments — can influence the expression of unrelated genes on the same chromosome, according to a study published in November in PLOS Biology.

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Researchers debut autism mouse model lacking SHANK3

by  /  17 January 2011

Scientists have created mice that carry mutations in SHANK3, one of the strongest candidate genes for autism. The animals have behavioral and neurobiological features reminiscent of autism, researchers reported 17 December in Molecular Autism.

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Mouse model mirrors social quirks of Williams syndrome

by  /  13 January 2011

Mice lacking one copy of a gene associated with Williams syndrome share the hyper-sociability of people with the disorder, according to a paper published online 3 December in Autism Research.

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Some siblings of children with autism only share traits

by  /  10 January 2011

The goal of studying siblings of children with autism is to identify an early diagnostic marker for the disorder. What researchers are finding instead are distinct traits shared by family members who remain healthy.

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IQ scores not a good measure of function in autism

by  /  6 January 2011

Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists. The assumption underlying the use of high IQ as a synonym for high functioning is suspect because social and communicative abilities may have a far greater impact on an individual’s daily interactions.

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