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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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The Brain

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

June 2010

Researchers identify biological roles for fragile X protein

by  /  1 June 2010

FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, is needed for the birth of new neurons, for regulating the translation of RNA into protein, and for maintaining the structural integrity of spiny neuronal projections, according to several new studies.

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May 2010

Darwinian emotion

by  /  27 May 2010

Charles Darwin performed what may be the world’s first study of how people interpret and understand the emotions of others, according to a paper published in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.

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Gene expression pattern could pinpoint autism

by  /  25 May 2010

Researchers can reliably identify individuals with autism by looking at the expression pattern of a set of genes in cultured blood cells, according to a poster presented Friday at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.

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Children with autism and siblings share brain ‘signature’

by  /  24 May 2010

Children who have autism and their healthy siblings share patterns of brain activity that are different than those seen in children with no family history of the disorder, according to unpublished research presented at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.

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Language specialization skewed in children with autism

by  /  21 May 2010

Brain imaging reveals distinct signatures in the language circuits of young toddlers with autism while they sleep, according to unpublished data presented yesterday at the IMFAR 2010 meeting in Philadelphia.

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Blinking could detect autism, group says

by  /  21 May 2010

How interested a child with autism is in a social scene can be determined in the blink of an eye, according to research presented yesterday at IMFAR 2010.

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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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Study implicates cell-adhesion proteins in autism

by  /  18 May 2010

Variations in two genes needed to form connections between brain cells may be associated with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published 25 March in Molecular Autism. Some variants in the genes seem to increase susceptibility to autism, whereas others protect children from developing the disorder.

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Creatures great and small

by  /  18 May 2010

Among animal models of autism, the mouse reigns supreme. But could much simpler species — flies, bees, worms, fish — also teach us about the disorder?

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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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