The ability to recognize faces and interpret facial expressions is programmed partly by genes and inherited separately from other traits, according to three independent studies published this year.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.
Researchers have found a higher density of several types of interneurons — nerve cells that connect sensory and motor neurons in the brain— in postmortem brain tissue from individuals with autism, compared with healthy controls. The findings appear in the February issue of Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.
Several genetic and animal studies in the past year have found intriguing ties between autism and DISC1, one of the oldest candidate genes for psychiatric disorders.
When thinking about themselves, adults with autism have lower activity in two specific brain regions than do healthy controls, according to an imaging study published in the February issue of Brain.
Researchers are using dogs as models of psychiatric and behavioral conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism.
A class of medications widely used during pregnancy to treat asthma and prevent early labor increases the baby’s risk of autism and other psychiatric disorders, according to a controversial review in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Individuals who carry a large and rare deletion on chromosome 16 that is associated with autism are likely to have developmental delays, be obese or both, according to two studies published last week in Nature.
Genetic variations that tweak the brain’s release of oxytocin — a hormone involved in social bonding and establishing trust — may increase the risk of developing autism or traits of the disorder, according to three new studies published in the past few months.