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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

Molecular mechanisms: Autism gene linked to fragile X traits

by  /  3 October 2012

Deleting CYFIP1, a gene within a region linked to Angelman syndrome and autism, in mice leads to symptoms reminiscent of fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 10 August in PLoS One.


Speedy mice

by  /  2 October 2012

Amphetamines and other compounds with stimulant properties may improve social behaviors in a subset of individuals who have autism with hyperactivity, says Jill Silverman.


Placenta plays potent role in autism risk

by ,  /  2 October 2012

As the central organ regulating maternal-fetal interactions, the placenta is perfectly positioned to mediate environmental and genetic risk factors during prenatal development. It may also relay risk factors for autism to the fetus, says Paul Patterson.

September 2012

Language boost

by  /  28 September 2012

The antidepressant sertraline may improve language deficits in children with fragile X syndrome, according to a small study in the annual issue of Autism Research and Treatment.


Clinical research: Arthritis drug improves autism treatment

by  /  26 September 2012

The anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib, sometimes marketed as Celebrex, improves the effectiveness of risperidone for treating irritability in people with autism, according to a study published 11 July in Psychopharmacology.

Image of stem cells that have differentiated into a variety of brain cell types.

Human stem cells generate miniature brain regions

by  /  25 September 2012

Researchers have induced stem cells to form three-dimensional clumps of neurons that resemble miniature brains, according to a study published 31 July in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Economic imperative

by  /  21 September 2012

The cost of caring for individuals with autism increases throughout childhood and adolescence, by approximately five percent with each year of age.


Drug improves social deficits in fragile X syndrome

by  /  19 September 2012

A drug called arbaclofen improves behavioral problems in people with fragile X syndrome, an inherited condition that can lead to mental retardation and autism, according to the results of a clinical trial published today in Science Translational Medicine. A second study published in the same journal showed that the drug restores normal brain function in a mouse model of the disorder.


Model reveals new links between autism and fragile X

by  /  17 September 2012

Mice that lack the autism-linked gene neuroligin-3 show similar deficits in neuronal connections to those seen in fragile X syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation, according to research published 13 September in Science. Restoring the gene in adolescent mice reverses the problem, suggesting a potential pathway for treatment.


Molecular mechanisms: Rett syndrome gene regulates RNA

by  /  14 September 2012

MeCP2, the gene mutated in people with Rett syndrome, may regulate rates of RNA production in developing neurons, according to a study published 3 August in Stem Cells.