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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.

June 2011

Genetics: Chromosome 11 deletion links autism, obesity

by  /  7 June 2011

Deletions on a segment of chromosome 11 are associated with autism, attention problems and obesity, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A.

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Information overload

by  /  3 June 2011

Sensory sensitivity is one of the most understudied aspects of autism. That’s a serious problem, because it underlies much of the distress experienced by people with the disorder, says best-selling author and animal scientist Temple Grandin.

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May 2011

Molecular mechanisms: Placenta influences brain development

by  /  31 May 2011

The placenta regulates the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brains of mice at a key stage in embryonic development, according to a study published 21 April in Nature. The results suggest that the fetal environment can influence the long-term mental health of children, including whether they later develop autism or schizophrenia.

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New York program fulfills promise of inclusive education

by  /  30 May 2011

An innovative academic program in New York City public schools is successfully educating children with high-functioning autism alongside their unaffected peers.

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Generation gap

by  /  27 May 2011

Parents see more benefits to a diagnosis of autism than their affected children do — perhaps unsurprising, given young people’s overwhelming desire to fit in with their peers.

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Cognition and behavior: Drug enhances social learning

by  /  27 May 2011

A compound that activates a pathway related to learning and memory can enhance pair-bonding between prairie voles, according to a study published 7 April in Biological Psychiatry. Enhancing social learning — an individual’s response to social cues — during development could help treat autism.

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Molecular mechanisms: Gene linked to autism and epilepsy

by  /  25 May 2011

Harmful mutations in a gene that regulates the chemical environment outside of neurons are associated with both autism and epilepsy, according to a study published 31 March in Neurobiology of Disease.

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Hive mind

by  /  24 May 2011

Social media is powerful, and scientists can and should harness it to help answer difficult questions. But as with any easy solution, there is a corresponding cautionary tale: Social media can just as easily misguide as be meaningful.

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Isabelle Rapin: Lessons from my clinic

by  /  24 May 2011

Autism is diagnosed based on the severity and variety of its symptoms. This makes it very difficult to diagnose and easy to confuse with other disorders, such as language delay and intellectual disability, cautions Isabelle Rapin.

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Rett protein alters visual circuits in mice

by  /  23 May 2011

MeCP2, the protein that’s missing or mutated in Rett syndrome, is crucial for remodeling neural circuits in response to vision, according to a study published in April in Neuron.

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