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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.

October 2009

Lessons from an obscure tumor

by  /  28 October 2009

There are well-established paternal age effects in diseases less common than autism. A new paper in Nature Genetics explains how the effects might arise, and it involves a kind of tumor you’ve probably never heard of.

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Mounting evidence links language pathway to autism

by  /  26 October 2009

A pathway involved in language development is increasingly proving to be important in autism, suggest a series of new studies on cellular and behavioral aspects of the disorder.

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Enriched environment improves symptoms of Rett

by  /  23 October 2009

Giving mouse models of Rett syndrome access to toys, wheels and contact with other mice rescues motor skill and other deficits characteristic of the disorder, according to results presented in a poster session Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Gene on chromosome 22 leads to autism mouse model

by  /  22 October 2009

Mice lacking a gene located in the chromosomal region 22q13 — which has been linked to autism — have motor learning and social deficits reminiscent of the disorder, according to unpublished findings presented in a poster session yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Antibodies to fetal proteins trigger autism features

by  /  21 October 2009

Antibodies directed against the fetal brain are present in some mothers of children with autism, confirming previous findings and suggesting that the antibodies could be used as a marker for the disorder, according to unpublished research presented yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Fragile X mice marked by immature synapses

by  /  21 October 2009

Young mice that mimic fragile X syndrome have immature and unstable dendritic spines, the neuronal branches that receive signals from other cells, according to unpublished research presented Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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MeCP2 loss ups inhibitory signaling

by  /  21 October 2009

Selectively disrupting an autism-related gene in cultured human neurons causes a dramatic imbalance of excitation and inhibition in cell signaling, according to unpublished results presented today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Neuroligin mutation triggers oxidative stress

by  /  20 October 2009

Deleting a neuronal protein associated with autism causes oxidative stress — characterized by an excess of free radicals — which has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, according to new research in worms. The results were presented yesterday at a poster session at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Lack of corpus callosum linked to autistic features

by  /  20 October 2009

People born without the large bundle of nerve fibers that bridges the brain’s hemispheres have trouble identifying fearful faces, and don’t look preferentially at others’ eyes to perform this task, according to research presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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Immune activation triggers autism features in mice

by  /  20 October 2009

Mice carrying an autism-associated mutation show impaired social interactions and dramatic changes in brain size when their immune systems are activated, according to research presented yesterday at a poster session at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

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