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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Diagnosis

Diagnosing autism is an evolving science but a crucial first step to understanding the disorder.

June 2010

Simple pathway

by  /  24 June 2010

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.

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Autism marked by copy number changes in coding regions

by  /  11 June 2010

People with autism harbor more copy number variants (CNVs) — deletions or duplications of large chunks of DNA — compared with controls, but only in the protein-coding regions of the genome, researchers reported Wednesday in Nature. The study also pinpointed more than 100 new risk genes for autism.

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May 2010

Microarray analysis deemed best genetic test for autism

by  /  28 May 2010

Chromosomal microarray analysis, which screens the entire genome for tiny blips in the sequence, should be the first genetic test performed when diagnosing autism, says a consortium of clinical geneticists. The recommendation comes on the heels of a study that found the test is three times more effective at spotting autism variants than are standard clinical methods.

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Gene expression pattern could pinpoint autism

by  /  25 May 2010

Researchers can reliably identify individuals with autism by looking at the expression pattern of a set of genes in cultured blood cells, according to a poster presented Friday at the IMFAR 2010 conference in Philadelphia.

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Geometric gaze

by  /  20 May 2010

Some children with autism prefer to look at geometric patterns rather than at ‘social’ images of other children — and this tendency is obvious as early as 14 months of age, according to a poster presented today at IMFAR 2010 in Philadelphia.

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Williams syndrome precludes racial bias, study finds

by  /  20 May 2010

Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.

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Granny’s genes

by  /  19 May 2010

The older a grandmother was when she bore her grandchild’s mother, the greater the child’s risk of autism, according to a study published last month in PLoS One.

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Study implicates cell-adhesion proteins in autism

by  /  18 May 2010

Variations in two genes needed to form connections between brain cells may be associated with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published 25 March in Molecular Autism. Some variants in the genes seem to increase susceptibility to autism, whereas others protect children from developing the disorder.

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Imaging studies investigate language circuits in autism

by  /  11 May 2010

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.

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Vitamin D-bunked?

by  /  10 May 2010

A new study upends the controversial notion that autism clusters among Somali immigrants are a result of vitamin D deficiency.

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