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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

Genes

Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.

July 2010

Chromosome 7 segment gives clues to complex social behavior

by  /  12 July 2010

Individuals carrying an extra copy of the genetic region that’s missing in Williams syndrome — which causes mental retardation and a hyper-friendly personality — have language impairments and other autism-like social difficulties, according to a wave of new research on this duplication syndrome.

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Deep sequencing questions role of imprinted genes in autism

by  /  8 July 2010

The mouse brain has more than 1,300 regions for which the copy from one parent is expressed more often than the one from the other parent, according to two studies published today in Science. These so-called imprinted genes have been proposed to cause some cases of autism, but the researchers say their findings do not support that theory.

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Abnormal brain growth seen in children with fragile X

by  /  7 July 2010

Children with fragile X syndrome show abnormal growth in several brain structures during the first few years of life, according to the first study to track how the disease unfolds in the brain during early development.

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Synaptic defects link autism, schizophrenia

by  /  2 July 2010

Several independent groups have found previously unknown risk genes for autism, schizophrenia and mental retardation. The candidate genes have one thing in common: they encode proteins that are needed for the healthy function of synapses, the junctions between neurons.

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Imaging interactions

by  /  1 July 2010

A clever new method records brain activity during live, back-and-forth social interactions and could help scientists study joint attention — the act of looking at an object the same time someone else does.

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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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Faulty connectivity found in mouse model of schizophrenia

by  /  18 June 2010

Mice engineered to carry a well-known risk factor for schizophrenia show disruptions in the connections between two brain regions that coordinate memory and learning. And these disruptions directly cause problems with working memory — the ability to actively hold information and to recall that information to make a decision, according to a study published in Nature.

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Rett gene function extends beyond neurons, study finds

by  /  15 June 2010

Microglia, brain cells that provide immune protection to neurons, may influence the onset and course of Rett syndrome, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Worms set to fill holes in autism research

by  /  14 June 2010

Worms, despite their crude nervous system, can be useful models of the genetic underpinnings of autism, according to unpublished work presented today at a meeting of the Genetics Society of America in Boston.

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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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