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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.

February 2012

Adult intervention

by  /  24 February 2012

A new meta-analysis shows that less than two percent of participants in studies of behavioral interventions for autism are adults.


Molecular mechanisms: Study reveals new fragile X drug target

by  /  22 February 2012

Researchers have identified a new mechanism that may underlie a runaway cell signaling pathway in fragile X syndrome. The results were published 22 January in Nature Neuroscience.  


Music reigns

by  /  21 February 2012

Brain imaging studies of people with autism show that specific areas respond more strongly to song than do those of controls. The opposite is true when listening to speech.


Robot renaissance

by  /  17 February 2012

Engineers have debuted several new robots to help children with autism, including a boy that can sense when it’s touched, a female head that expresses a wide range of emotions and a low-cost fuzzy penguin that can track a child’s eye movements.


Cognition and behavior: MEG detects sound sensitivity

by  /  17 February 2012

Brain imaging can detect acute sensitivity to sound in individuals with autism, according to a study published 25 January in Neurophysiology.


Human neuron model tests function of autism-linked genes

by  /  16 February 2012

Simulating neuronal development in culture with cells derived from human brain tissue offers a new way to study the function of autism-linked genes, according to research published in the February issue of Molecular Psychiatry.


Clinical research: Mice model Rett syndrome’s heart symptoms

by  /  10 February 2012

Mice engineered to carry a Rett syndrome mutation only in neurons are prone to an irregular heartbeat that can lead to sudden death, according to a study published 14 December in Science Translational Medicine.


Microscope reveals nanoscale detail in live mouse brains

by  /  8 February 2012

A new microscope allows researchers to capture the movement of tiny signal-receiving branches in the brains of adult mice at the nanoscale level. The results were published 3 February in Science.


Molecular mechanisms: Lithium treats fragile X in mice

by  /  3 February 2012

Lithium alleviates the symptoms of fragile X syndrome in mice in part by normalizing protein synthesis in the brain, according to a study published 29 December in Neurobiology of Disease.


Clinical research: Two compounds treat Rett syndrome in mice

by  /  1 February 2012

Two compounds that enhance the activity of BDNF, a protein needed for the growth of neurons, improve motor skills in mouse models of Rett syndrome and increase the mice’s lifespan.