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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.

June 2010

Working with autism

by  /  4 June 2010

The challenge of finding jobs for adults with autism is the focus of a special issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. With the right training and tools, the articles suggest, it’s possible for many people with the disorder to be gainfully employed.

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May 2010

Microarray analysis deemed best genetic test for autism

by  /  28 May 2010

Chromosomal microarray analysis, which screens the entire genome for tiny blips in the sequence, should be the first genetic test performed when diagnosing autism, says a consortium of clinical geneticists. The recommendation comes on the heels of a study that found the test is three times more effective at spotting autism variants than are standard clinical methods.

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Geometric gaze

by  /  20 May 2010

Some children with autism prefer to look at geometric patterns rather than at ‘social’ images of other children — and this tendency is obvious as early as 14 months of age, according to a poster presented today at IMFAR 2010 in Philadelphia.

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Williams syndrome precludes racial bias, study finds

by  /  20 May 2010

Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.

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Imaging studies investigate language circuits in autism

by  /  11 May 2010

Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.

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Multiple diagnoses

by  /  6 May 2010

A whopping 95 percent of children with autism have at least three other psychiatric disorders, and 74 percent have five or more, according to a study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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April 2010

Future of autism genetics is all in the family

by  /  30 April 2010

Two independent teams have identified the genetic culprits of three rare, inherited diseases by sequencing the genomes of several members of the same family. As the cost of whole-genome sequencing plummets, this family-based approach will reveal candidate genes not just for rare diseases but for common, complex disorders such as autism, experts say.

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Best-laid plans

by  /  28 April 2010

Despite dozens of studies, researchers have not been able to agree on whether people with autism have trouble with planning skills. The inconsistency in results may be because of differences in short-term memory, according to a new study.

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Researchers probe genetic overlap between ADHD, autism

by  /  22 April 2010

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism may have more in common than childhood onset and a few similar symptoms. New research suggests the conditions share genetic roots.

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Random genetic changes may explain variability in autism

by  /  13 April 2010

Random changes in gene expression can cause genetically identical embryos to develop different traits, according to a study of worms published in Nature. The findings suggest that haphazard movements of molecules could partly explain why autism-associated mutations don’t always cause the same symptoms.

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