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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.

November 2009

Loss of inhibitory neurons marks autism mouse models

by  /  24 November 2009

Autism may be the result of faulty wiring that occurs during early brain development, according to two independent studies that looked at the origins of circuit disruption.

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MeCP2 loss leads to smaller neurons in brain region

by  /  18 November 2009

Deleting MeCP2, the gene that’s mutated in Rett syndrome, alters both the size and function of neurons in the mouse brain — at least in one brain region, the locus ceruleus — according to a 30 September report in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Double trouble

by  /  17 November 2009

Rare mutations that increase the risk of neuro-psychiatric diseases usually occur in only one copy of a gene. What happens when both copies are mutated?

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Amygdala found to govern notion of personal space

by  /  13 November 2009

A report in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience says the amygdala — the brain region that controls emotions, as well as the way individuals interpret and respond to social situations and recognize possible threats — governs the preference for personal space.

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Autism study zooms in on five-gene strip on chromosome 16

by  /  10 November 2009

Genetic analysis of one Belgian family with a history of autism has pinpointed a piece of DNA on chromosome 16, within a segment thought to be missing in about one percent of all cases of autism. The unpublished data was presented on Saturday at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in San Diego.

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Massive genomics project unveils schizophrenia results

by  /  10 November 2009

The Psychiatric GWAS Consortium has released its first batch of analyses, identifying several significant common variations associated with schizophrenia. The results were presented Sunday at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in San Diego.

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Variants in synaptic protein linked to autism

by  /  9 November 2009

Scientists have identified several autism-specific variants in a gene that lies within a chromosomal region linked to the disorder, according to a poster presented at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in San Diego.

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Point mutation in neuroligin found in brothers with autism

by  /  6 November 2009

A new mutation in the neuroligin-4 (NLGN4) gene, one of the few genes convincingly tied to autism, has been found in two brothers with autism, further implicating the gene in the disorder, scientists reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Autism marked by altered trajectory of brain growth

by  /  3 November 2009

Although the head overall is bigger in some children with autism, researchers have found more informative differences in size — some smaller, some larger — across regions of the brain.

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October 2009

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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