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Spectrumnews.org: Variant analysis may vastly underestimate heritability of autism behaviors

Spectrumnews.org: Variant analysis may vastly underestimate heritability of autism behaviors

Hunting heritability: Many of the genetic variants underlying childhood behavior have yet to be found.

Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty images

An analysis of DNA variants suggests the heritability of childhood behavior problems, including autism traits, is about 6 percent, researchers report in a new study1. When the same team looks at

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Spectrumnews.org: Drug in trials for one autism-linked condition may worsen another

Spectrumnews.org: Drug in trials for one autism-linked condition may worsen another

Suppressing slumber: The drug rapamycin worsens sleep in both fragile X and typical mice.

unoL / iStock

The drug rapamycin, which is in clinical trials for tuberous sclerosis (TSC), exacerbates features of fragile X syndrome, another condition related to autism, a new study suggests1.

Rapamycin increases anxiety, shortens sleep and worsens

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Spectrumnews.org: Weighing up autism's obesity crisis

Spectrumnews.org: Weighing up autism's obesity crisis

A growing problem:

Serious concerns about childhood obesity first surfaced following a 2002 report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Within a few years, that same worry reached clinicians treating children with autism.

In 2005, Curtin and her colleagues conducted a chart review of 140 children and teens

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Spectrumnews.org: Survey assesses well-being in adults with autism

Spectrumnews.org: Survey assesses well-being in adults with autism

Common ground: A new quality-of-life measurement for people with autism addresses issues relevant to them, such as difficulty with friendships.

lechatnoir / iStock

A brief questionnaire written with guidance from people with autism is the first of its kind to assess quality of life among adults with the condition.

The new

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Spectrumnews.org: Where's the funding for translational research in autism?

Spectrumnews.org: Where's the funding for translational research in autism?

Susan Bookheimer

Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Autism scientists are well aware of the importance of translational research — work that translates basic findings in animal models into treatments for people.

Unfortunately, potential autism treatments that work well in animals often do not work when tested in people.

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Spectrumnews.org: Modified Alzheimer's drug may treat some forms of autism

Spectrumnews.org: Modified Alzheimer's drug may treat some forms of autism

Neuron number: Mice lacking one copy of MEF2C have fewer neurons (green, right) in the hippocampus than controls do (left).

A fusion of two existing drugs alleviates autism-like features in a mouse model of the condition, according to a new study1.

The fusion drug, called NitroSynapsin, boosts social interest and

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Spectrumnews.org: Sensory sensitivity may share genetic roots with autism

Spectrumnews.org: Sensory sensitivity may share genetic roots with autism

Touching textures: The drive to seek out certain sensations is among the diagnostic criteria for autism.

Imgorthand / Getty Images

The heritable factors that underlie autism significantly overlap with those that influence unusual sensory responses, a new study of more than 12,000 twin pairs suggests1.

The findings reinforce the idea that

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Spectrumnews.org: Girls with autism need help honing social skills in realistic settings

Spectrumnews.org: Girls with autism need help honing social skills in realistic settings

Rene Jamison

Associate professor, University of Kansas Medical Center

Nicole Brettell, 21, is studying art and creative writing at her local community college. Brettell has autism. Although she is an extremely bright young woman and a talented artist, she has difficulties communicating with others and some rigid thinking patterns

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Spectrumnews.org: Lab-grown neurons showcase effects of autism mutations

Spectrumnews.org: Lab-grown neurons showcase effects of autism mutations

Formative effects: Neurons missing a part of chromosome 16 (left) are larger and have more branches than control neurons (middle); neurons with duplications of the region are small and sport short dendrites (right).

Neurons derived from people with mutations linked to autism display diverse abnormalities that may help explain the

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Spectrumnews.org: Protein duet activates single neurons with light

Spectrumnews.org: Protein duet activates single neurons with light

Protein duet activates single neurons with light | Spectrum | Autism Research News

News The latest developments in autism research.

Profiles Portraits of scientists who are making a mark on autism research.

Toolbox Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Spotted A roundup of autism papers and media

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Spectrumnews.org: For teens with autism, behavioral issues boost risk of police run-ins

Spectrumnews.org: For teens with autism, behavioral issues boost risk of police run-ins

Punishment patterns: Many young people with autism are disciplined at school.

sharply_done / Getty Images

Young people with autism who have serious psychiatric problems stand a ninefold greater chance of having an encounter with the police than do others on the spectrum, according to a new study1.

Having behavioral problems that

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Spectrumnews.org: France faces down its outdated notions about autism

Spectrumnews.org: France faces down its outdated notions about autism

Psychoanalytic legacy:

To explain why autism services in France lag behind those in other countries, many experts point to the nation’s long-standing ‘autism wars.’ For decades, those favoring psychoanalysis for treating autism (mostly psychiatrists) have been locked in a heated debate with those who support evidence-backed behavioral therapies (mostly parents

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Spectrumnews.org: Prenatal vitamins lower autism risk, Israeli study suggests

Spectrumnews.org: Prenatal vitamins lower autism risk, Israeli study suggests

Supplement source: In many countries, processed foods such as orange juice are routinely fortified with vitamins important for brain development.

BSIP / Getty Images

Women who take folic acid or other vitamins before or during pregnancy decrease their chances of having a child with autism, suggests a study published last week1.

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