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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.

May 2012

Cognition and behavior: Drug improves memory in autism

by  /  9 May 2012

Propranolol, a drug used to treat heart disease and anxiety, might improve memory and attention deficits in autism, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.


Molecular mechanisms: Growth factor altered in autism brains

by  /  8 May 2012

The brains of individuals with autism have higher-than-typical levels of the precursor to a neuronal growth factor called BDNF, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. The results suggest a mechanism for altered brain development in autism.


Debate over quality of adult-derived stem cells rages on

by  /  7 May 2012

As the use of induced pluripotent stem cells grows, researchers are searching for ways to make them behave more predictably. 


Complex case

by  /  4 May 2012

Multiple levels of complexity make it challenging to develop drugs to treat autism.


Biased search

by  /  1 May 2012

Publication bias is making antidepressants look like a better option for treating autism than they really are, according to a study published last week in Pediatrics.


Social motivation, reward and the roots of autism

Social impairments in autism are likely a consequence of deficits in social motivation that start early in life and have profound developmental consequences, says psychologist Robert Schultz.

April 2012

Studies highlight promise of fragile X treatment

by  /  30 April 2012

A promising approach to treating fragile X syndrome could benefit people even after the critical window of early brain development, and alleviate core symptoms of autism, according to two studies published this month.



by  /  27 April 2012

In the last three years, autism researchers have gone from sequencing single genes to whole exomes, as highlighted at the Translational Neuroscience Symposium in Switzerland last week.


Researchers engineer mice lacking microRNAs

by  /  25 April 2012

Researchers are developing a resource that will allow scientists to engineer mice lacking one of 162 microRNAs — non-coding regions of the genome that regulate gene expression. The results were published 19 April in Cell Reports.


Genetics: Environment modulates autism symptoms in mice

by  /  24 April 2012

Mutant mice with autism-like behaviors have fewer behavioral impairments when provided with toys, exercise wheels and contact with other mice, than do those that live in typical laboratory cages, according to a study published 5 April in Human Molecular Genetics.