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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Signs & Symptoms

Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.

May 2010

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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Vitamin D-bunked?

by  /  10 May 2010

A new study upends the controversial notion that autism clusters among Somali immigrants are a result of vitamin D deficiency.

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Rat study sniffs out vasopressin’s role in social behavior

by  /  7 May 2010

Neuroscientists have discovered a population of cells in the smell-perception area of the rat brain that express the hormone vasopressin. The study, published in Nature, begins to unpack the complicated molecular interactions of the hormone in the brain, which could lead to new autism treatments.

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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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Mouse models reveal workings of neuroligin-1

by  /  4 May 2010

Researchers are tinkering with mouse models to investigate the function of a protein that helps wire neurons together and that has repeatedly been linked to autism. Three such reports of the protein, neuroligin-1, have appeared this year.

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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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Undressing oxytocin

by  /  29 April 2010

Scientists have been unable to replicate work showing an association between oxytocin receptor genes and autism.

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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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Scientists find molecular player in Angelman syndrome

by  /  27 April 2010

Two independent teams have discovered key molecular steps in the way a single gene disrupts the connections between neurons in individuals with Angelman syndrome. Because the gene, UBE3A, has also been linked to autism, the findings could help scientists understand and treat a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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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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