TOPIC

The Brain

Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.

May 2010
News

New technique maps methylated DNA

by  /  14 May 2010

A new technique can simultaneously sequence DNA and pinpoint some of the chemical modifications that turn genes on or off, according to a report published 9 May in Nature Methods. In particular, the technique reveals methyl groups bound to DNA bases.

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News

Imaging study refutes mirror neuron theory of autism

by  /  12 May 2010

Mirror neurons, which fire when someone either performs an action or observes it, are not defective in people with autism, scientists report today in Neuron. The findings dispute the theory that flaws in the mirror neuron system give rise to the disorder.

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News

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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Opinion

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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News

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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News

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
Opinion

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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Opinion

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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News

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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News

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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