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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.

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in the neuroligin-4 gene disrupts the normal development of synapses, the junction between neurons, according to unpublished data shown Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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?


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.