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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.

December 2010

Jumping genes implicated in Rett syndrome

by  /  27 December 2010

The neurons of people with Rett syndrome contain an overabundance of retrotransposons — DNA sequences that copy and insert themselves into new spots throughout the genome — during early development, according to a study published 18 November in Nature.


Robots spark social play in children with autism

by  /  23 December 2010

Children with autism play eagerly with robots — and their social interactions with people improve as a result.


BAP and blue

by  /  22 December 2010

Depression in mothers of children with autism may not be a consequence of their child’s condition, but of their own genetic profile, says a provocative new study.

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Clinical research: Rewards foster creativity in children with autism

by  /  10 December 2010

Positive reinforcement can help children with autism break out of repetitive patterns of play. Results from a study broadly suggest that behavioral intervention can improve creativity in these children.


Calming neurons may ease apnea in Rett syndrome

by  /  9 December 2010

A controversial new approach that quiets the activity of certain neurons in the brain alleviates breathing difficulties in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, according to a study published 4 October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Molecular mechanisms: Lithium treats adult fragile X symptoms

by  /  8 December 2010

Treating adult mice with lithium restores the ability of neurons in fragile X mice to fine-tune their signaling, according to a study published online in November in Brain Research.


Defects in mitochondria linked to autism

by  /  3 December 2010

Cells drawn from a small sample of children with autism show defects in the functioning of their mitochondria — structures that produce energy to power cellular functions — according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Molecular mechanisms: New pathway for fragile X treatment

by  /  2 December 2010

Inhibiting the ERK1/2 pathway — which regulates the synthesis of other proteins — can rescue some of the effects of fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 17 November in the Journal of Neuroscience. The ERK pathway could provide a novel target for fragile X therapies.

November 2010

‘Daydreaming’ circuit implicated in autism, attention deficit

by  /  24 November 2010

Areas of the brain that are active when people are daydreaming or sleeping, and quiet when they are engaged in a task, are imperfectly synchronized in people with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, researchers say.


Antibiotic proves promising as fragile X treatment

by  /  19 November 2010

Minocycline, an antibiotic approved to treat various infections including acne, can increase vocalizations and provide long-lasting improvements in anxiety in a fragile X mouse model, according to two posters presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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