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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Environment

From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.

August 2014

Age alters patterns of chemical tags on sperm DNA

by  /  18 August 2014

The configuration of methyl groups that modify DNA in sperm change as men get older. These alterations may help explain why children of older fathers are at increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism.

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July 2014

Remembering Paul Patterson (1944-2014)

by  /  29 July 2014

Paul H. Patterson, a transformative figure in autism research, died on 25 June. His groundbreaking discoveries advanced novel paradigms in neuroscience and immunology, and introduced concepts that will continue to be developed by researchers worldwide.

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Why inferring autism’s causes from epidemiology is dangerous

by  /  29 July 2014

Epidemiological ‘just-so’ stories, which infer causes of autism from general trends in prevalence, are in danger of repeating the mistakes of social Darwinism, says Mayada Elsabbagh.

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Rett outcome is improving with time

by  /  25 July 2014

By treating the medical complications that accompany Rett syndrome, women with the disorder are living longer than ever before, says Alan Percy. 

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Schizophrenia milestone holds lessons for autism

by  /  21 July 2014

A long-awaited report, published today in Nature, confirms that with access to tens of thousands of genomes, researchers can identify common genetic risk factors for a complex neuropsychiatric disorder.

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Common mutations account for half of autism risk

by  /  21 July 2014

Common genetic variants that have minor effects may contribute about half the risk of developing autism, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Genetics. Identifying these variants would require tens of thousands of samples.

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Maternal factors, birth order up autism risk

by  /  17 July 2014

Having one child with autism raises the odds of having a second child with the disorder 20-fold, according to one of the largest epidemiological studies so far to address the inheritance of autism risk.

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Molecular mechanisms: Patterns of DNA tags altered in autism

by  /  8 July 2014

Children with autism have atypical patterns of epigenetic modifications — chemical tags on DNA that influence gene expression, suggests a study published 29 May in PLOS Genetics.

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Cluster of symptoms reveals gene’s link to autism subtype

by  /  3 July 2014

CHD8, a gene that regulates the structure of DNA, is the closest thing so far to an ‘autism gene,’ suggests a study published today in Cell. People with mutations in this gene all have the same cluster of symptoms, including autism.

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Genetics: Changes in gene expression linked to father’s age

by  /  1 July 2014

Mice with older fathers have different gene expression patterns in their brains than do mice with younger fathers, reports a study published 23 March in Molecular Autism. Many of the differences involve genes linked to autism.

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