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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Viewpoint

Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles
August 2012

Executive confusion

by  /  21 August 2012

Among siblings of children with autism, those with better prefrontal cortex functioning — observable as relatively strong executive functions for their age — are better able to compensate for atypicalities in other brain systems early in life, and are therefore less likely to receive a diagnosis of autism later in their development, argues Mark H. Johnson.

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Genes and environment are two-way street in autism risk

by  /  21 August 2012

Genes and the environment each influence the role of the other in determining the risk of developing autism. Genetics can determine how susceptible one is to the environment, and environmental factors can influence gene expression and introduce mutations, says immunologist Janine LaSalle.

9 Comments
July 2012

Insights for autism from tuberous sclerosis complex

by  /  24 July 2012

Studying tuberous sclerosis provides researchers with a unique opportunity to find a common pathway among the various genetic causes of autism, says neurologist Mustafa Sahin.

1 Comment

Targeting brain microcircuits may help treat autism

by  /  10 July 2012

Understanding the function of neuronal circuits, specifically microcircuits in the prefrontal cortex and elsewhere in the brain, will play a major role in translating research findings into new autism treatments, says Vikaas Sohal.

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June 2012

Focus on function may help unravel autism’s complex genetics

by ,  /  26 June 2012

To find the pathogenic mutations in complex disorders such as autism, researchers may need to conduct sophisticated analyses of the genetic functions that are disrupted, says geneticist Aravinda Chakravarti.

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The case for brain donation

by  /  26 June 2012

We can’t get back the tissue lost in the Harvard freezer malfunction, but we can try to create something positive from this tragic event, says Alison Singer.

2 Comments
May 2012

Population-based studies key for assessing autism prevalence

by  /  29 May 2012

Studies of autism prevalence should screen a representative sample of all individuals in the population, even those with no indications of the disorder, says epidemiologist Young-Shin Kim.

1 Comment

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.

8 Comments
April 2012

In defense of childhood disintegrative disorder

by ,  /  3 April 2012

Childhood disintegrative disorder represents a distinct entity within the autism spectrum and it should remain a separate diagnostic category, says Kevin Pelphrey.

20 Comments
March 2012

How do we measure autism severity?

by  /  20 March 2012

Accurately measuring the severity of autism remains a challenge for the field. The answer may lie in using more than one approach that varies depending on whether it is being applied in a clinical or research context, says Raphael Bernier.

16 Comments

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