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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.

October 2012

New high-throughput method screens drugs for fragile X

by  /  15 October 2012

Researchers are testing a wealth of new treatments for fragile X syndrome, an inherited intellectual disability often accompanied by autism. They presented preliminary results from animal studies of several drugs, as well as an automated approach for screening compounds, Sunday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.


Valium boosts sound-touch integration in autism mouse model

by  /  15 October 2012

The anxiety drug diazepam, commonly marketed as Valium, reverses deficits in sensory integration in a mouse model of autism, according to research presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.


Anxiety drug enhances brain connections in autism

by  /  14 October 2012

A small pilot study suggests that the drug propranolol, typically used to treat hypertension and anxiety, enhances functional connectivity between brain regions and improves verbal fluency, according to research presented Saturday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.


Video: Connecting astrocytes to autism

by  /  13 October 2012

Star-shaped cells in the brain wrap themselves around synapses, the junctions between neurons, and influence their development. In a video interview Saturday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans, Ben Barres discusses the possible role of astrocytes in autism.


Molecular mechanisms: Angelman region affects serotonin

by  /  12 October 2012

Mice that model Angelman syndrome or have a duplication of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region have aberrant brain levels of the chemical messenger serotonin, according to a study published 16 August in PLoS One.


Genetics: RNA improvisations altered in autism

by  /  9 October 2012

RNA editing, which creates multiple forms of a protein, is common among proteins involved in neuronal signaling, and may be abnormal in people with autism, according to a study published 7 August in Molecular Psychiatry.

A young girl plays doctor on a bed with a stuffed animal.

Quiet care

by  /  5 October 2012

Adapting the hospital environment to suit the needs of children with autism can cut down how long the children spend there and how often they return, suggests a study in the 2012 issue of Autism Research and Treatment.


Allen Institute aims to mass-produce stem cells

by  /  5 October 2012

The nonprofit Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle plans to make neurons from stem cells derived from people with a number of different disorders. The resource, described 25 September at a conference in New York, will be available to all scientists.


Researchers uncover new drug target for fragile X

by  /  4 October 2012

Deleting an enzyme that regulates protein synthesis reverses some of the molecular and behavioral deficits in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, according to research published 2 October in Neuron.


Short screening tool flags children with autism

by  /  3 October 2012

A subset of questions on two behavioral screens can distinguish children with autism from those with other developmental disorders, according to a study published 23 August in Autism.