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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

October 2010
News

Genetics: Autism and attention deficit share mutations

by  /  15 October 2010

Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher rate of DNA duplications and deletions, including some in regions linked to autism and schizophrenia, according to a study published 23 October in The Lancet.

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Opinion

Speed trap

by  /  13 October 2010

New DNA tests for fragile X syndrome are quick, but also raise ethical questions: they pick up abnormalities in some babies who won’t develop symptoms until adulthood, if at all.

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News

New tests for fragile X promise routine screening

by  /  11 October 2010

A new wave of genetic tests for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism, may make it possible to routinely screen pregnant women and newborns for the syndrome.

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News

Estrogen reverses autism-like features in mice

by  /  4 October 2010

Two new studies provide clues that may explain sex differences in autism prevalence. Italian researchers have found that injecting estrogen into the brains of young male mice reverses some of the structural and behavioral changes associated with low levels of reelin — a brain protein that has been previously implicated in autism — and the effects endure into adulthood.

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September 2010
Opinion

All included

by  /  1 September 2010

A decade ago, children with disabilities were almost always separated into their own rooms — or even buildings — with specialized teachers and lessons. But some research since then has shown that many of these children can learn well alongside healthy children, and vice versa.

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August 2010
Opinion

Risky secrets

by  /  30 August 2010

For a few hundred dollars and a bit of your spit, you can have parts of your DNA analyzed. If you’re more ambitious, $20,000 — and a lot less than that a year from now — will buy you the sequence of your entire genome. But the real question is should you, and others like you, find out what secrets your genome holds?

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Opinion

Beware the hype

by  /  18 August 2010

If you believe the hype about oxytocin, it’s nothing short of a wonder drug: it can make you trust a stranger, enhance a mother’s bond with her child and, according to a study published earlier this year, improve social skills in individuals with autism. But look more closely, and there is ample cause for caution.

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News

Diagnostic scans for autism not imminent, experts say

by  /  13 August 2010

An imaging study widely interpreted as heralding a diagnostic brain scan for autism is more preliminary than popular media reports would indicate, according to experts familiar with the work.

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News

Groups aim to recruit more racial minorities for genetic studies

by  /  6 August 2010

Racial minorities are under-represented in genetic studies, in part because research guidelines do not account for differences in family structure, according to a report based on statistics from several autism gene banks. In response to the report, research teams at Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles, are revamping their recruitment practices.

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Opinion

Power shortage

by  /  5 August 2010

One of the largest genome-wide association studies for autism spectrum disorders, reported last week in Human Molecular Genetics, allows only one definitive conclusion: it isn’t large enough.

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