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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Science & Society

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

May 2012

In autism, head growth patterns vary by gender

by  /  24 May 2012

Girls diagnosed with autism have slower brain growth in the first year of their life than typically developing children, whereas boys’ brains grow at the same rate as those of typical children, according to a population-based study in Norway.


Robot replaces neuroscientists in technique

by  /  23 May 2012

A robot can replace researchers in performing a painstaking technique that records neuronal signals in live animal brains, according to a study published 6 May in Nature Methods.


Genetics: Mutations at neuronal junctions linked to autism

by  /  22 May 2012

Researchers have identified four new mutations in the autism-linked gene neurexin-1 in individuals who have autism and severe intellectual disability, they reported 3 April in Neurobiology of Disease.


European consortium strives to spur autism drug development

by  /  21 May 2012

A $38.7 million project in the European Union — the largest single grant for autism research in the world — aims to bring together academic labs and pharmaceutical companies to speed the move from basic to clinical research.


Why it’s good to share your data

by  /  18 May 2012

Neuroscience funding has plateaued, so researchers need to squeeze every drop from existing data.


Shrinking brains

by  /  18 May 2012

Long-term treatment with antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilizers can change the structure of the brain.


New technique helps locate source of brain imaging signals

by  /  16 May 2012

Combining functional magnetic resonance imaging of rat brains with a technique that uses light to detect neuronal activity can help researchers hone in on the source of the activity, according to a study published 6 May in Nature Methods.


Genetics: SHANK1 mutations found in men with autism

by  /  11 May 2012

Researchers have identified deletions in SHANK1 — the third member of a gene family that is closely linked to autism — in five men with the disorder, they reported 4 May in the American Journal of Human Genetics. This is the first study linking SHANK1 mutations to people with autism.


Sponges made from RNA can knock down gene expression

by  /  9 May 2012

Researchers have created sponge-like assemblies of hundreds of thousands of short fragments of RNA, which can be used to dampen the expression of certain genes, according to a study published 26 February in Nature Materials.


Chromosome exchanges reveal new autism-related genes

by  /  3 May 2012

Large-scale swapping of genetic material between chromosomes may play an important role in autism, according to a study published 27 April in Cell.