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Spectrum: Autism Research News


December 2013

Molecular mechanisms: Enzyme blockers help fragile X mice

by  /  13 December 2013

Lithium and other drugs that inhibit a key enzyme called GSK-3 reverse cognitive deficits in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, according to a pair of studies published in August and September. 

November 2013

Studies map gene expression across brain development

by  /  21 November 2013

Now that genetic studies have implicated several hundred genes in autism, researchers are turning their attention to where and when in the healthy young brain these genes are expressed. The first two studies to tackle these questions appear today in Cell.

October 2013

Genetics: Autism, epilepsy cases share mutations

by  /  15 October 2013

Mutations in GABRB3, a brain receptor linked to autism, are prevalent in severe childhood epilepsy, according to a study published 12 September in Nature.

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September 2013

In autism-related disorders, RNA turns out to be key

by  /  26 September 2013

An enzyme that may keep RNA tangle-free as it’s translated into protein is missing in some people with schizophrenia and learning difficulties. The enzyme also cooperates with the protein missing in fragile X syndrome to bind RNA, suggesting a role in protein synthesis. That’s the upshot from two studies published in the September Nature Neuroscience.

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August 2013

New resource catalogs RNA-binding sites of many proteins

by  /  12 August 2013

A new online database lists the likely RNA-binding sites of more than 8,000 proteins from 289 species. Researchers debuted the resource in the 11 July issue of Nature.

July 2013

Francesca Happe presents ‘fractionated triad’ model

24 July 2013

Watch the complete replay of Francesca Happé discussing how autism’s constellation of symptoms may have independent biological causes. Submit your own follow-up questions.

June 2013

Molecular mechanisms: Fragile X premutation proves toxic

by  /  18 June 2013

A mild form of the fragile X mutation produces an unusual protein that may trigger fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, a neurodegenerative disorder, according to a study published 8 May in Neuron.


Kimberly Huber on synapse pruning in autism

26 June 2013

Watch the complete replay of Kimberly Huber discussing the role of autism-linked genes in the natural pruning of brain cell connections. Submit your own follow-up questions.

May 2013

Protein probe may diagnose fragile X syndrome

by  /  29 May 2013

Quick tests that detect the protein missing in fragile X syndrome can be used to screen newborns for the disorder and find treatments, according to two studies published in the past two months.


Small pieces of RNA may pave path to autism

by  /  21 May 2013

The discovery of microRNAs that regulate gene expression has changed our view of cellular biochemistry. It may also change our perception of neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, says Peng Jin.