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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.

June 2012

SHANK2 mouse models show opposite brain signaling

by  /  25 June 2012

Two new strains of mice carrying different mutations in the SHANK2 gene show similar autism-like behaviors but opposing effects on brain signaling, according to two independent studies published 14 June in Nature.


Cognition and behavior: Context affects repetitive behavior

by  /  20 June 2012

Repetitive behaviors are often motivated by anxiety when children with autism and intellectual disability transition from one task to the next, but they are linked to a desire for attention when the children have free time, according to a study published in May in the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities.


Drug merger

by  /  19 June 2012

Seaside Therapeutics, a small biotech, and Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche have announced a partnership to develop drugs for fragile X syndrome and autism.


Clinical research: Genetic variant improves effects of oxytocin

by  /  15 June 2012

Men with a common autism-linked variant of CD38, a gene that regulates levels of the ‘trust hormone’ oxytocin, benefit more from the hormone than do those with other variants, according to a study published in the May issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.


Q&A with Luca Santarelli: Targeting neuronal connections

by  /  12 June 2012

Luca Santarelli, head of neuroscience at Roche, explains why he is optimistic that pharmaceutical companies can overcome the obstacles in autism drug development.


Counting conditions

by  /  8 June 2012

A tool designed to detect psychiatric disorders in people with autism may produce more accurate estimates of co-occurring conditions.


Clinical research: Long-term studies track autism’s trajectory

by  /  6 June 2012

Two studies published over the past month followed individuals with autism at various ages and showed that they gain developmental skills differently than controls do.


Valproate fate

by  /  5 June 2012

A new rat study shows that the precise timing of early valproate exposure, an autism risk factor, can have a big influence on behavior later in development.


Immune cells sculpt brain by pruning neuronal connections

by  /  4 June 2012

Immune cells called microglia may play a central role in trimming synapses, the connections between neurons, according to research published 24 May in Neuron. These modifications are part of a normal developmental process by which excess synapses in the brain are destroyed.


Brain trust

by  /  1 June 2012

Preliminary research shows that in people with autism, oxytocin enhances activity in brain areas that process social information.