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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.

February 2010

Tuberous sclerosis linked to brain cell migration

by  /  8 February 2010

The TSC2 gene, mutations in which cause tuberous sclerosis complex, is needed for budding nerve fibers to find their proper targets in the brain, according to a mouse study published in Nature Neuroscience.

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Variants in trust hormone receptor up the risk for autism

by  /  1 February 2010

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.

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Super-cool synapses

by  /  1 February 2010

A chilling new technique shows the intricate and coordinated activity of previously mysterious pieces of the synapse, the all-important junction between neurons that allows cells to talk to each other.

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January 2010

Guoping Feng: Unearthing the roots of compulsive behavior

by  /  4 January 2010

Guoping Feng’s perseverance has proven a boon to the hundreds of neuroscientists who rely on his most celebrated scientific achievement: two dozen mouse strains engineered to have brightly colored brain cells. By creating the first robust mouse model of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Feng has also found a way to study repetitive behaviors, one of the three core characteristics of autism.

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December 2009

Chemical messenger variant found in families with autism

by  /  16 December 2009

Scientists have for the first time found direct evidence that defects in the GABA receptor sometimes give rise to autism, according to research published 24 November in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Mounting evidence fingers mitochondria in autism risk

by  /  8 December 2009

Using new genetic screening technology, a few research groups are finding that a surprisingly large number of children with autism — at least five percent — have an underlying problem with their mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell.

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Autism shares features with cerebellar syndromes

by  /  3 December 2009

There are clinical, anatomical and genetic overlaps between autism and certain rare developmental disorders of the cerebellum, and these disorders may help scientists understand autism, according to several studies published in the past year.

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November 2009

Baby sib studies reveal differences in brain response

by  /  30 November 2009

Studies on younger siblings of children with autism are finding that during tests of sensory or perceptual processing, these baby sibs show abnormally fast brain responses, rather than a delay.

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Loss of inhibitory neurons marks autism mouse models

by  /  24 November 2009

Autism may be the result of faulty wiring that occurs during early brain development, according to two independent studies that looked at the origins of circuit disruption.

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Only subset of chromosome 16 variants linked to autism

by  /  20 November 2009

Deletions or duplications of chromosomal segment 16p11.2 — previously reported as a key autism region — are seen in people with developmental delays and speech and behavioral problems, but not necessarily autism. That’s the finding from two large studies published last week of people carrying these rare genetic variations.

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