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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.

July 2010

Abnormal brain growth seen in children with fragile X

by  /  7 July 2010

Children with fragile X syndrome show abnormal growth in several brain structures during the first few years of life, according to the first study to track how the disease unfolds in the brain during early development.

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Synaptic defects link autism, schizophrenia

by  /  2 July 2010

Several independent groups have found previously unknown risk genes for autism, schizophrenia and mental retardation. The candidate genes have one thing in common: they encode proteins that are needed for the healthy function of synapses, the junctions between neurons.

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June 2010

Pharma companies set their sights on autism

by  /  29 June 2010

A decade of research on the biology of autism, combined with a steady rise in diagnoses, has finally piqued the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in developing drugs for the disorder. Preliminary data from one small clinical trial already show positive results, and results from several others are expected early this summer.

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Simple pathway

by  /  24 June 2010

A study of a rare form of epilepsy found in Amish groups adds heft to the idea that mTOR — a much-studied hub in a massive network of brain cell proteins — is an important biochemical player in autism.

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Faulty connectivity found in mouse model of schizophrenia

by  /  18 June 2010

Mice engineered to carry a well-known risk factor for schizophrenia show disruptions in the connections between two brain regions that coordinate memory and learning. And these disruptions directly cause problems with working memory — the ability to actively hold information and to recall that information to make a decision, according to a study published in Nature.

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Worms set to fill holes in autism research

by  /  14 June 2010

Worms, despite their crude nervous system, can be useful models of the genetic underpinnings of autism, according to unpublished work presented today at a meeting of the Genetics Society of America in Boston.

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Researchers identify biological roles for fragile X protein

by  /  1 June 2010

FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, is needed for the birth of new neurons, for regulating the translation of RNA into protein, and for maintaining the structural integrity of spiny neuronal projections, according to several new studies.

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May 2010

New technique maps methylated DNA

by  /  14 May 2010

A new technique can simultaneously sequence DNA and pinpoint some of the chemical modifications that turn genes on or off, according to a report published 9 May in Nature Methods. In particular, the technique reveals methyl groups bound to DNA bases.

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Menu for trouble

by  /  13 May 2010

More than one in every five children with autism turns to complementary and alternative approaches such as restrictive diets or vitamins, according to new survey. Children with autism also have high rates of digestive and sleep problems, the survey finds.

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Imaging studies investigate language circuits in autism

by  /  11 May 2010

Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.

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