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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.

September 2012
Close-up image of an arm reaching out to console someone who is sitting down with their hands folded in their lap.

Missing support

by  /  11 September 2012

Despite the growing number of young adults with autism, few studies have looked at how best to support these teens as they transition into adulthood.


Postmortem brains crucial for autism research

by ,  /  4 September 2012

Postmortem brains from individuals with autism allow researchers to look at patterns of gene expression in different cell types, and to understand the interplay among neurons and neural circuits, says Dan Arking.

August 2012

Racial care

by  /  31 August 2012

Parents of minority children with autism are more likely to report that their children have poor quality of care than are parents of minority children with other developmental disabilities.


Life’s blood

by  /  28 August 2012

The first approved stem cell trial for autism will soon be under way. Is there a rationale for testing stem cells to improve symptoms of the disorder?


Molecular mechanisms: Serotonin mimics may treat fragile X

by  /  28 August 2012

Compounds that target the receptor for the chemical messenger serotonin could help treat fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 17 July in Biological Psychiatry.  

Brain waves against a solid white background

Epilepsy drug reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

by  /  27 August 2012

Researchers have homed in on the brain region thought to be responsible for the autism-like symptoms that can accompany Dravet syndrome, a rare epilepsy disorder, according to research published Wednesday in Nature.


Heart matters

by  /  24 August 2012

Rather than make blanket decisions, doctors must gauge the level of cognitive impairment in individuals with autism when considering them for organ transplants, says bioethicist Arthur Caplan.


Executive confusion

by  /  21 August 2012

Among siblings of children with autism, those with better prefrontal cortex functioning — observable as relatively strong executive functions for their age — are better able to compensate for atypicalities in other brain systems early in life, and are therefore less likely to receive a diagnosis of autism later in their development, argues Mark H. Johnson.


Genes and environment are two-way street in autism risk

by  /  21 August 2012

Genes and the environment each influence the role of the other in determining the risk of developing autism. Genetics can determine how susceptible one is to the environment, and environmental factors can influence gene expression and introduce mutations, says immunologist Janine LaSalle.


Broken mirrors

by  /  17 August 2012

Research into the ability of children with autism to imitate has produced contradictory results: Some studies find that those with the disorder have difficulty imitating people, whereas others find no problems. A new study explores why.