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Two types of neurons play key roles in Rett syndrome

by  /  27 July 2016

Manipulating MeCP2, the gene mutated in Rett syndrome, has revealed two neuron types as crucial contributors to the condition.

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Illustration by Jun Cen

For children with autism, multiple languages may be a boon

by  /  25 July 2016
Most children who learn more than one language gain valuable skills, and researchers say this may also be true for children with autism.
News / Toolbox
Mighty merger: New software can sift and sort pieces of gene expression data gleaned from a microarray (left).

Online tool can mix, match gene expression data

by  /  22 July 2016
A new resource helps biologists easily mine large troves of information about when and where genes are expressed.
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Getty Images / fotografixx

Epilepsy in family members raises risk of autism

by  /  21 July 2016
A study of more than 85,000 people with epilepsy and their immediate relatives suggests that epilepsy and autism share biological roots.

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Immune influence:   Diabetes is often accompanied by inflammation, which may trigger the production of certain antibodies in pregnant women. Ian Hooton / Getty Images
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Study links immune, metabolic theories of autism

by  /  20 July 2016

Rare antibodies associated with autism are unusually common among women who developed diabetes while pregnant with a child who has autism.

Powerhouse parent: Jill Escher wants researchers to study how environmental chemicals affect developing eggs and sperm.

LiPo Ching / Getty Images
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‘Science junkie’ bets big on autism’s environmental origins

by  /  18 July 2016

Jill Escher is on a mission to spur research into how chemicals in the environment may influence risk for autism.

Lit up: Light stimulates dopamine neurons in the brain’s reward center (red) and restores social behavior in mice.
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Autism gene wires social reward circuits in mouse brains

by  /  14 July 2016

Mice with mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate, may lack the neural wiring that would compel them to seek social contact.

Group defense: T cells, and a molecule they release, may be important players in social behavior.
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Key molecule may tie immune response to social behavior

by  /  13 July 2016

Molecules that protect the body from infection may be needed for mice to socialize with their peers, a finding that bolsters the link between the immune system and autism.

Lee Supak / iStock.com
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‘Convergence science’ has potential to accelerate research-to-product pipeline

by ,  /  13 July 2016

A few years ago, Elizabeth Jaffee, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, probably wouldn’t have imagined that she would team up with an aerospace engineer to advance her research on cancer therapies.

Howdy, neighbor:  Genes separated by a large distance come together when DNA forms a three-dimensional structure.
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Mutated DNA loops make strange neighbors

by  /  11 July 2016

Too many or too few copies of a segment of chromosome 16 alters the three-dimensional organization of DNA, and affects hundreds of related genes.

Braulio De La Cruz sits with his son, Noah Leonardo. 
Courtesy of Braulio De La Cruz
News

Despite federal directive, Texas denies Medicaid coverage for autism therapy

by ,  /  8 July 2016

Rare antibodies associated with autism are unusually common among women who developed diabetes while pregnant with a child who has autism1. The results provide new clues to the link between immune system problems and autism. Maternal antibodies ordinarily pass through the placenta and help to defend the fetus against pathogens. But some occasionally turn against […]

Behavior boost: Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacterial species found in yogurt and probiotic supplements, normalizes social behavior in mice exposed to a high-fat diet in utero.Eye of Science  /  Science Source
News

Single microbe may restore social behaviors in mice

by  /  7 July 2016

A single species of bacteria reverses autism-like features in mice exposed to a high-fat diet in utero — but researchers question the findings’ relevance to people.

Chemical overload: The placenta (micrograph at left) responds to inflammation by shifting into overdrive, delivering a surplus of serotonin to the fetal brain. David M. Phillips / Science Source
News

Serotonin may mediate effects of infection in the womb

by  /  6 July 2016

Infection during pregnancy may blunt the growth of neurons in the fetus by boosting levels of the chemical messenger serotonin.

Like clockwork: Cells that express the paternal copy of the Angelman syndrome gene (top left) also tend to make the circadian clock protein BMAL (bottom left).
News

Tricks to treat Angelman syndrome may lie in ‘clock cells’

by  /  4 July 2016

A newly discovered phenomenon in cells that regulate the sleep-wake cycle may provide clues for how to treat two autism-related conditions.

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