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Sciencedaily.com: Promising lead reduces autism symptoms and more

Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of autism. Even though the single gene that’s responsible for it was discovered in 1991, and the disease is detected by a simple blood test, there’s no treatment or cure.

A team of researchers led by Michigan State University, however, has provided a promising lead in battling this disease. In the current issue of Nature Communications, the scientists identified a single protein that appears to be the

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Sciencedaily.com: Study tests the 'three-hit' theory of autism

Since the first case was documented in the United States in 1938, the causes of autism have remained elusive. Hundreds of genes, as well as environmental exposures, have been implicated in these brain disorders. Sex also seems to have something to do with it: About 80 percent of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder are boys.

This striking bias caught the attention of Rockefeller University’s Donald W. Pfaff. A neurobiologist who studies hormone effects

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Sciencedaily.com: New insights into how inhibitory neurons contribute to functional networks in the cortex

Sciencedaily.com: New insights into how inhibitory neurons contribute to functional networks in the cortex

Inhibitory interneurons in the ferret are orientation tuned and engage in orientation-specific networks with excitatory neurons. In contrast, inhibitory neurons in the mouse are not orientation selective and are instead local non-specific integrators of excitatory activity.

Credit: Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Inhibitory interneurons in the ferret are orientation tuned and engage in orientation-specific networks with excitatory neurons. In contrast, inhibitory neurons in the mouse are not orientation selective and are instead

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Sciencedaily.com: Researcher calls on the scientific community to defend individuals with disabilities

The potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) threatens to eliminate critical mental and behavioral health services for people living with autism and other disabilities. Several public health insurance programs and mandates that were protected or extended by the ACA, including Medicaid, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), are now at risk of being negatively altered or removed, posing a serious

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Sciencedaily.com: Don't be distracted: The real issues in autism are threats to funding, services, say experts

With so much focus in recent months on the scientifically discredited notion that childhood vaccines cause autism, the real threats to health care and services for people with autism and other disabilities aren’t being given enough attention, argue two leading health policy experts.

“President Donald Trump’s apparent openness to a long-debunked link between vaccines and autism risks encouraging Americans to stop vaccinating their children, posing a serious public health threat,” the researchers write in the

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Sciencedaily.com: Unexpected link between cancer and autism

The researchers from Turku Centre for Biotechnology discovered an unexpected link between cancer and autism

Researchers from Turku Centre for Biotechnology have observed that a protein called SHANK prevents the spread of breast cancer cells to the surrounding tissue. The SHANK protein has been previously studied only in the central nervous system, and it is known that its absence or gene mutations are related to autism. The research was conducted at Turku Centre for Biotechnology.

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Sciencedaily.com: Defect in non-coding DNA might trigger brain disorders such as severe language impairment

The human genome is made up of ~3 billion letters of DNA and at each position it is possible to have different letters, called variants. Some variants are harmless but others can be detrimental, making it a mammoth task to find out which variants cause a disorder. Researchers often choose to search only the 1-2% of the genome that carries the information to make proteins. While this has been successful for a few disorders, most

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Sciencedaily.com: Grandma knows best: New research explains how family members can impact an autism diagnosis

Children who have older siblings or frequent interaction with grandparents are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) earlier than those who do not, according to new research conducted at The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai, and published in the journal Autism. This study is the first to ask not only parents, but also friends and family members who had contact with the child, about their early observations of the child.

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Sciencedaily.com: The genes, neural circuits behind autism's impaired sociability

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have gained new insight into the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that may contribute to impaired sociability in some forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Led by Matthew P. Anderson, MD, PhD, Director of Neuropathology at BIDMC, the scientists determined how a gene linked to one common form of autism works in a specific population of brain cells to impair sociability. The research, published in the journal Nature,

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Sciencedaily.com: Link between Vitamin D treatment and autism prevention

Giving vitamin D supplements to mice during pregnancy prevents autism traits in their offspring, University of Queensland researchers have discovered.

The discovery provides further evidence of the crucial role vitamin D plays in brain development, said lead researcher Professor Darryl Eyles, from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute.

“Our study used the most widely accepted developmental model of autism in which affected mice behave abnormally and show deficits in social interaction, basic learning and stereotyped behaviours,” Professor

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Sciencedaily.com: Autism: New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether a child has autism

Scientists have developed a new, highly accurate method that analyzes metabolic biomarkers to assess whether a child is on the autism spectrum, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1.5 percent of all children, but its exact cause remains unknown, and diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary team of doctors. Previous research has revealed certain differences in metabolic processes between children on the autism spectrum and neurotypical children. However, researchers

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Sciencedaily.com: Infections during pregnancy may interfere with genes linked to prenatal brain development

If a mother picks up an infection during pregnancy, her immune system will kick into action to clear the infection — but this self-defence mechanism may also have a small influence how her child’s brain develops in the womb, in ways that are similar to how the brain develops in autism spectrum disorders. Now, an international team of researchers has shown why this may be the case.

In a study published in the journal Molecular

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Sciencedaily.com: Treatment window for fragile X likely doesn't close after childhood

Brain samples from humans show that the treatment window for Fragile X syndrome likely remains open well into maturity after childhood, when previous tests with mice indicated it might close, according to a new Drexel University-led study.

This new information could become valuable as therapeutic treatments for Fragile X syndrome — the most common autism-related disorder which results in intellectual disabilities and impacts one in every 4,000 males and one in every 8,000 females —

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Sciencedaily.com: Insight into day-to-day lives of parents raising children with autism

Like all parents, couples who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share the ups and downs of parenting.

A new study by Waisman Center researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looks at the daily experiences of these parents to provide a more detailed picture of the strengths and vulnerabilities of couples raising a child with ASD.

“I think we can use these findings to develop more effective therapies and strategies to address potential

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Sciencedaily.com: Identifying genes key to human memory: Insights from genetics and cognitive neuroscience

Researchers have identified more than 100 genes important for memory in people. The study is the first to identify correlations between gene data and brain activity during memory processing, providing a new window into human memory.

“This is very exciting because the identification of these gene-to-behavior relationships opens up new research avenues for testing the role of these genes in specific aspects of memory function and dysfunction,” says Genevieve Konopka of UT Southwestern, who is

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Sciencedaily.com: Study shows how brain combines subtle sensory signals to take notice

A new study describes a key mechanism in the brain that allows animals to recognize and react when subtle sensory signals that might not seem important on their own occur simultaneously. Such “multisensory integration” (MSI) is a vital skill for young brains to develop, said the authors of the paper in eLife, because it shapes how effectively animals can make sense of their surroundings.

For a mouse, that ability can make the difference between life

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Sciencedaily.com: Children with autism find understanding facial expressions difficult but make similar mistakes as peers, new study finds

Young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties recognising and distinguishing between different facial expressions, according to research from one of the largest studies to look at emotion recognition in children and adolescents with ASC. The University of Bristol findings are published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

A team from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology aimed to find out whether six basic facial expressions differing in intensity are challenging for young

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Sciencedaily.com: Prudence, impatience and laziness: Are these contagious personality traits?

People tend to unconsciously imitate others’ prudent, impatient or lazy attitudes, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

“Prudence,” “impatience” or “laziness” are typically thought of as entrenched personality traits that guide how people weigh the cost of risk, delay and effort (respectively). However, new research shows that people’s attitudes towards effort, delay, or risk drift towards those of others.

Jean Daunizeau and Marie Devaine, from INSERM, Paris, combined mathematical modelling and cognitive

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