The mutation that causes Rett syndrome may spark uncontrolled inflammation throughout the body and brain, suggests a study published last week. The findings may explain the syndrome’s wide range of symptoms, from seizures to gut problems.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.
Monkeys whose mothers are infected with a mock virus while pregnant show abnormal branching of certain brain cells. The findings may help explain why infection during a woman’s pregnancy ups the risk of autism in her children.
Mutations in MeCP2, which cause Rett syndrome, boost the expression of long genes in the brain. The findings add to mounting evidence linking long genes to developmental disorders.
The genetic makeup of an individual plays much a bigger role than environmental factors in whether he or she develops autism, according to one of the largest twin studies to date.
Missing a swath of chromosome 16 with strong ties to autism disrupts proteins crucial for early brain development. The findings open the door to targeted interventions.
A 20-minute test enlists parents in gauging a toddler’s social development by showing them a video of how a typically developing child acts.
Newly developed microscopic beads give cells unique barcodes based on the cells’ gene expression patterns. This faster and cheaper system could help researchers study autism in cultured cells.