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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Treatments

Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.

September 2011

Cognition and behavior: Probiotics alleviate anxiety in mice

by  /  20 September 2011

Probiotic bacteria alleviate stress in healthy mice and modify the expression of receptors for a chemical messenger that inhibits signaling in the brain.

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Comic relief

by  /  16 September 2011

An adventure story about a boy with autism is making an appearance in a popular comic book.

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Clinical research: Oxytocin alleviates social anxiety

by  /  14 September 2011

Individuals with fragile X syndrome make slightly more eye contact in stressful social situations after taking oxytocin compared with placebo.

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Vision as gateway for understanding autism

by ,  /  8 September 2011

Impairments in vision, even if they don’t cause autism, are likely to be manifestations of underlying neural abnormalities, says Pawan Sinha, professor of vision and founder of the humanitarian organization Project Prakash.  

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Cognition and behavior: Fragile X treatment has ill effects

by  /  2 September 2011

A compound that shows promise as a treatment for fragile X syndrome alleviates repetitive behaviors in mice, but unexpectedly makes them less social.

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August 2011

How fish can help find causes of autism

by ,  /  29 August 2011

Zebrafish share genes and pathways with humans, making them a useful tool to identify the genes that malfunction in autism, says expert Hazel Sive.

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Clinical research: Metabolic disorders rare in autism

by  /  23 August 2011

Screening for metabolic disorders in children with autism is not cost-effective, according to a study published 7 July in PLoS One. The researchers argue instead for careful individual clinical analysis.

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New focus on repetition, obsession in autism studies

by  /  18 August 2011

New studies of restricted and repetitive behaviors link autism to other disorders and may lead to more effective treatments.

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Molecular mechanisms: MeCP2 regulated by chemical switch

by  /  17 August 2011

MeCP2, the protein missing in people with Rett syndrome, enhances learning and memory by binding to key genes and either activating or inhibiting their expression, according to a study published 17 July in Nature Neuroscience. Adding a phosphate to the protein in response to neuronal activity releases MeCP2 from these genes, the study found.

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Fair representation for the fairer sex in autism research

by  /  16 August 2011

Including more females in autism research studies will aid the search for genetic and environmental susceptibility factors for the disorder, says genetic psychiatrist Lauren Weiss.

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