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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

The Brain

Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.

September 2010

Molecular mechanisms: Autism brains show ‘angry’ microglia

by  /  27 September 2010

A study of postmortem tissue shows that microglia, cells that provide immune protection to the brain, are altered in the brains of individuals with autism.

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Molecular mechanisms: Fragile X mutation worsens memory loss

by  /  27 September 2010

Genes responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and fragile X syndrome — a form of mental retardation linked to autism — may operate through the same pathway, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Studies tie fragile X syndrome to famous cancer pathway

by  /  23 September 2010

A drug that interferes with a biochemical pathway important in cancer can reverse some brain defects in mouse models of fragile X syndrome, according to a study published 11 August in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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The power of talk

by  /  21 September 2010

In order to understand the interaction between genes and environment in autism, researchers in different disciplines will have to move back and forth between those two realms, stretching out of their intellectual comfort zones. But if the mood at an interdisciplinary workshop two weeks ago is any indication, that challenge is also a source of excitement.

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Time perception problems may explain autism symptoms

by  /  20 September 2010

Individuals with autism have trouble perceiving the passage of time, and pairing sights and sounds that happen simultaneously, according to two new studies.

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Immature headlines

by  /  15 September 2010

A five-minute brain scan can help diagnose developmental disorders including autism in young children, headlines blared last week. That may be true several years down the line, but I’d say it’s a pretty big exaggeration of the actual findings.

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Fragile X protein tied to snags in stem cell development

by  /  13 September 2010

The protein missing in fragile X syndrome is necessary for the proper development of neural stem cells — self-renewing cells that can differentiate into more specialized types, including neurons — according to a paper published in the August issue of Human Molecular Genetics.

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One drug, two birds

by  /  10 September 2010

Seaside Therapeutics has announced results from a phase II clinical trial showing that, in children with autism, STX209 lowers agitation, tantrums, irritability and social withdrawal.

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Ralph Adolphs: Setting the pace for cognitive research

by  /  9 September 2010

For nearly 20 years, Ralph Adolphs has been trying to figure out how the human amygdala works. An avid outdoorsman, Adolphs has run a dozen 50- and 100-mile races, and his colleagues say he approaches science with the same stamina and intensity. He has already published more than 100 scientific papers, several of them revealing intriguing ties between the amygdala and autism.

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Researchers debut unique identifiers for study participants

by  /  2 September 2010

Researchers have devised a system to assign a unique identifier to each participant in an autism study. This Global Unique Identifier, or GUID, allows investigators to see which other studies participants have enrolled in, while maintaining participants’ privacy.

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