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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 2020
microscopic views of proteins

Alzheimer’s protein turns up as potential target for autism treatments

by  /  2 March 2020

Lowering the levels of a protein called tau, best known for its involvement in Alzheimer’s disease, improves behavior in two mouse models of autism.

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February 2020
Toddler is balancing with help from mom

Little-known gene tied to autism, developmental delay

by  /  28 February 2020

Rare mutations in a gene called BAZ2B are associated with various conditions of brain development, including autism.

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Large mutations may explain diverse outcomes from autism gene

by  /  24 February 2020

Deletions and duplications of long stretches of DNA may increase the likelihood of autism in people who have a mutation in a gene called PTEN.

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a pattern shows a helix-like form repeating in yellow on dark background.

Machine learning flags ‘mosaic’ mutations that may contribute to autism

by  /  19 February 2020

A new technique detects rare mutations that occur in only a subset of the body’s cells.

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January 2020
stork flying with an alarm clock, dice and a crescent moon

The link between parental age and autism, explained

by  /  28 January 2020

Older men and women are more likely than young ones to have a child with autism, but this connection is not straightforward.

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Diagram statistics

Analysis of sequences pegs 102 top autism genes

by  /  24 January 2020

The number of top autism genes has risen from 65 to 102, based on an analysis of more than 35,000 sequences. And researchers are seeing the first hints of autism risk variants in the regions between genes.

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Micrograph of brain organoid in green and red

Spheres of brain cells may offer crystal ball for autism’s origins

by  /  24 January 2020

Researchers have monitored the active genome in brain organoids over the course of nearly two years — and may find clues to autism’s roots.

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Teenage girl with headache

Autistic people have increased incidence of neurological problems

by  /  23 January 2020

People with autism have more brain-related health problems, such as headaches and epilepsy, than typical people do.

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Image of many sperm in a mosaic-like pattern

Genetic tests of sperm may forecast odds of autism in children

by  /  16 January 2020

Some men who have an autistic child carry mutations linked to the condition only in their sperm.

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Variants linked to multiple conditions, including autism, tend to appear in genes that influence brain development, as shown in this chart in blue and grey.

Autism may share inherited variants with other psychiatric conditions

by  /  13 January 2020

Some of the inherited variants implicated in autism also increase the odds of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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