A study of a rare form of epilepsy found in Amish groups adds heft to the idea that mTOR — a much-studied hub in a massive network of brain cell proteins — is an important biochemical player in autism.
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
Mice engineered to carry a well-known risk factor for schizophrenia show disruptions in the connections between two brain regions that coordinate memory and learning. And these disruptions directly cause problems with working memory — the ability to actively hold information and to recall that information to make a decision, according to a study published in Nature.
FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, is needed for the birth of new neurons, for regulating the translation of RNA into protein, and for maintaining the structural integrity of spiny neuronal projections, according to several new studies.
A new technique can simultaneously sequence DNA and pinpoint some of the chemical modifications that turn genes on or off, according to a report published 9 May in Nature Methods. In particular, the technique reveals methyl groups bound to DNA bases.
Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.
Neuroscientists have discovered a population of cells in the smell-perception area of the rat brain that express the hormone vasopressin. The study, published in Nature, begins to unpack the complicated molecular interactions of the hormone in the brain, which could lead to new autism treatments.