Studying the relatively well-defined genetics of Williams syndrome may help unravel the poorly understood genetic and neurobiological roots of autism, researchers say.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Signs & Symptoms
Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.
People with Asperger syndrome don’t automatically show ‘theory of mind’, the ability to understand the desires and beliefs of others, according to a report published 16 July in Science. Instead, they seem to use deliberate reasoning to understand social behaviors, learned after years of practice in the real world.
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Several new genetic variants associated with schizophrenia lie in regions important for immune function and associated with autism. This suggests that both disorders stem partly from abnormal activation of the immune system, say some researchers.
The brains of people with autism have structural abnormalities that disrupt normal connections between brain regions and impede the flow of information across the brain. That’s the conclusion of a 20-year-old theory supported by several new studies.
A common variant of a gene called CACNA1G — which makes a channel that helps regulate calcium flow between cells — may increase the risk of developing autism, according to research published in Molecular Psychiatry.
Studying a new type of mirror neuron may help researchers better understand the brain impairments underlying characteristic deficits of autism.
Children with autism rely on conscious planning, rather than habit, to control their movements, according to the first brain imaging study to examine motor performance in the disorder.
Applying an emerging technique that combines genetic data and brain scans, researchers have identified two new genes involved in schizophrenia. The method, called ‘imaging genetics’, holds promise for linking genes to brain function in complex psychiatric disorders, including autism.
The answer to a long-standing mystery in visual neuroscience may also help explain how people with autism perceive faces, according to a study published in March in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.