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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.

November 2010

Stem cells reveal neuroligin’s role in development

by  /  15 November 2010

Stem cell studies show that a mutation in the neuroligin-4 gene disrupts the normal development of synapses, the junction between neurons, according to unpublished data shown Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Cognition and behavior: Oxytocin improves sensitivity to social cues

by  /  11 November 2010

Oxytocin may activate the mirror neuron system — a group of neurons that is active when people empathize with others — according to a paper published in the November Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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Autism drug’s usefulness depends on genetic profile

by  /  8 November 2010

An antipsychotic drug often prescribed to treat irritability in children with autism may be more helpful — and cause fewer side effects — depending on an individual’s genetic make-up.

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Negative feedback

by  /  3 November 2010

Can your brain be trained to make better brain waves? That’s the bizarre premise of ‘neurofeedback,’ a technique in which participants don a cap of electrodes and are rewarded — with soothing music, say, or points in a video game — for ‘desirable’ brain activity.

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Uncharted territory

by  /  1 November 2010

Drug companies have been curiously reluctant to dive into research on therapies for autism. The chief of Pfizer’s new autism research unit explains why.

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Cognition and behavior: Study suggests categories of autism

by  /  1 November 2010

People with autism may belong to one of four distinct categories based on their medical history, according to a study published in the October Autism Research.

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October 2010

Nature vs. nurture

by  /  29 October 2010

Mice with social behavior deficits reminiscent of autism are friendlier when raised alongside a highly social mouse strain.

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Database groups common concepts in autism tests

by  /  27 October 2010

A searchable new database will greatly ease the task of comparing results from more than 25 diagnostic tests for autism, by creating clusters of the various symptoms measured.

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Crossover potential?

by  /  18 October 2010

“I don’t know anything about Williams syndrome”: That isn’t exactly how you’d expect a talk at a meeting on the syndrome to begin, but it happened more than once at a symposium on the disorder last week. Could scientific interchange between Williams syndrome and autism researchers benefit people with either condition?

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Parents share key traits of children with autism

by  /  14 October 2010

Parents and siblings of people with autism have abnormal eye movements and score higher on tests evaluating traits associated with the disorder.

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