A mysterious cluster of sudden deaths among young people who had a genetic syndrome is drawing attention to the high rate of unexplained deaths in individuals with autism and epilepsy.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
Researchers have taken skin cells from individuals with schizophrenia, bathed them in chemical cocktails and coaxed them to develop into neurons, according to a paper published 13 April in Nature.
Exosomes, the brain’s system for delivering and recycling molecules, can be manipulated to carry therapeutic fragments of RNA or DNA across the blood-brain barrier and into neurons. The ingenious new technique was published 20 March in Nature Biotechnology.
A gene that regulates the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain could help explain why males are more susceptible to autism than are females, according to a study published in PLoS One in February.
Neuroligin-4, a protein associated with autism, is located at synapses — the junctions between neurons — that inhibit signals in the brain, according to a study published in February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The protein can also single-handedly induce neurons derived from human stem cells to form synapses, according to another study in the same issue.