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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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May 2021
Computer screenshot showing bands of colour resulting from sequenced DNA.

Largest autism genetics analysis to date uncovers more high-confidence candidates

by  /  6 May 2021

The largest-yet study of genetic data from autistic people has identified 255 genes associated with the condition.

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Anxiety specific to autism linked to amygdala differences

by  /  3 May 2021

People who experience an autism-specific form of anxiety also tend to have an unusually small amygdala, a brain region associated with emotion processing and fear, according to a new unpublished study.

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brainstem of rats in red, green and blue highlight higher levels of GABA.

GABA agonist rescues auditory hypersensitivity in rats missing autism-linked gene CNTNAP2

by  /  3 May 2021

The investigational drug arbaclofen may right an imbalance between inhibitory and excitatory signaling in the animals’ brains.

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April 2021
three black and white monkey brain views next to three color versions showing the a drug target area colored red.

Drug boosts cognition in men with fragile X syndrome

by  /  29 April 2021

A drug that prevents an enzyme from breaking down a key molecule involved in learning and memory improved cognition and behavior in a small study of men with fragile X syndrome.

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Female mouse with its litter of pups.

Few autism researchers control for the ‘litter effect’ — this needs to change

by ,  /  27 April 2021

Anyone who uses multiple animals from a small number of litters to increase sample size is making a serious mistake. The similarities within individual litters will heavily skew the results.

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Loss of CHD8 from cerebellum disrupts movements, not social behaviors

by  /  26 April 2021

Deleting the autism-linked gene CHD8 from specific cells in the cerebellum, a brain region important for movement, leads to motor deficits but does not alter social behaviors in mice.

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Gaze-tracking app predicts autism diagnosis in toddlers

by  /  26 April 2021

A mobile phone app that tracks a toddler’s gaze as she watches short videos can distinguish between children who later receive an autism diagnosis and those who do not according to a new study.

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A child's hand points to a location on a hand drawn map of the United States in different crayon colors.

Many U.S. counties lack autism therapists

by  /  20 April 2021

Applied behavior analysis is the most widely used therapy for autistic children in the United States, but some regions lack the staff needed to provide it.

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Mother and child during remote diagnosis, with learning toys, in their living room.

Virtual autism assessments are likely here to stay

by  /  19 April 2021

The coronavirus pandemic forced researchers and clinicians to find new ways to assess children for autism — many of which will almost certainly endure.

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A group of six images of fruit fly brains show networks in green and pink.

Poor sleep could be core feature of autism, related conditions

by  /  15 April 2021

Fruit flies with low expression of a gene linked to neurodevelopment have disrupted sleep, poor memory and altered social behavior.

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