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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.

July 2010

Obsessive mice

by  /  21 July 2010

The biology of obsessive-compulsive disorder becomes even more baffling with the release of two new mouse models, each implicating a different type of brain cell.

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Study finds weak genetic link between autism and intelligence

by  /  20 July 2010

Autism and intellectual disability often occur together, but in most cases that overlap is not genetic, according to a study of twin pairs published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Unraveling this link might help researchers pinpoint brain circuits involved in both conditions, and better understand the diversity of symptoms in the autism spectrum, experts say.

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Brain curvature distinguishes Asperger syndrome from autism

by  /  16 July 2010

A region of the brain that controls language is more extensively curved in children with autism than in those with Asperger syndrome, according to a study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. The findings offer preliminary biological evidence that Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum, is distinct from high-functioning autism.

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Vasopressin’s sexier side

by  /  14 July 2010

Researchers have pinpointed the brain circuits that underlie the vasopressin hormone’s role in regulating emotions.

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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

Pharma companies set their sights on autism

by  /  29 June 2010

A decade of research on the biology of autism, combined with a steady rise in diagnoses, has finally piqued the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in developing drugs for the disorder. Preliminary data from one small clinical trial already show positive results, and results from several others are expected early this summer.

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Flu triggers schizophrenia-like features in monkeys

by  /  25 June 2010

Babies born to rhesus monkeys infected with the flu virus during pregnancy have significantly smaller brains than normal, and other brain abnormalities seen in schizophrenia, researchers have found. The study, published last month in Biological Psychiatry, provides the first evidence in non-human primates linking flu infection to a higher risk of schizophrenia.

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