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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Treatments

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

February 2011

Clinical research: Socially based intervention improves autism

by  /  4 February 2011

A new intervention that teaches toddlers skills in a real-world environment — a playgroup rather than a one-on-one interaction with a researcher, for instance — more than doubles their ability to imitate others, according to a January study in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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REM sleep disrupted in children with autism

by  /  3 February 2011

Children with autism spend less time in the rapid eye movement stage of sleep than do either controls or those with developmental delays, according to a November report in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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January 2011

Intense world

by  /  31 January 2011

The ‘intense world theory’ says autism stems from hyper-sensitive reactions to the world, allowing the individual to zoom in on tiny details, but ignore the bigger picture.

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Genetics: Changes in the womb linked to autism in the child

by  /  25 January 2011

High levels of serotonin in the womb may up the risk of autism in the child, according to a study published in December in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

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Brain-wave patterns bolster mouse models of autism

by  /  25 January 2011

Mice exposed to an epilepsy drug show several features of autism, including abnormal social interactions, repetitive behaviors and patterns of super-fast brain waves, called gamma oscillations, according to a study published 15 December in Biological Psychiatry.

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New drug rescues function in fragile X syndrome

by  /  20 January 2011

A new drug appears to relieve symptoms of fragile X syndrome by blocking the over-production of a key protein in a subset of people with the disorder, according to a 6 January study in Science Translational Medicine.

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Molecular mechanisms: Scientists debut fruit fly ‘connectome’

by  /  19 January 2011

Using tricks of genetic engineering, researchers in Taiwan have created the first comprehensive map of the myriad neuronal connections in the fruit fly brain. The findings appeared 11 January in Current Biology.

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Scientists debut fruit fly ‘connectome’

by  /  19 January 2011

Using tricks of genetic engineering, researchers in Taiwan have created the first comprehensive map of the myriad neuronal connections in the fruit fly brain. The findings appeared 11 January in Current Biology.

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Mind games

by  /  7 January 2011

As more drugs enter clinical trials for fragile X syndrome and soon, hopefully, for autism, the placebo effect will become an important consideration.

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IQ scores not a good measure of function in autism

by  /  6 January 2011

Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists. The assumption underlying the use of high IQ as a synonym for high functioning is suspect because social and communicative abilities may have a far greater impact on an individual’s daily interactions.

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