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Single gene linked to some cases of autism spectrum disorder

Scientists have linked mutations in a single gene to autism in people who have a rare tumor syndrome typically diagnosed in childhood. The findings, in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), may lead to a better understanding of the genetic roots of autism in the wider population.

Folinic acid could help children with autism communicate better

Prescription doses of folinic acid, which is a reduced form of a B vitamin known as folate, could help improve the language and communication skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These are the preliminary findings from a placebo-controlled trial in which children were randomized to receive either high-dose folinic acid or a placebo.

Gene links risk of psychiatric disease to reduced synapse numbers

Mutations in a gene linked with brain development may dispose people to multiple forms of psychiatric disease by changing the way brain cells communicate, new research has revealed.

Shakespeare play helps children with autism communicate

Children with ASD often have trouble understanding non­verbal behavior in social interactions and struggle to communicate. Many avoid eye contact and miss visual cues, making it difficult to maintain peer relationships and share enjoyment of mutual interests. Show More Summary

Building a better rat maze could help us all cooperate

A fully-automated rat maze could help scientists better understand how individuals cooperate, and how this process may go awry in the brains of people with disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia.

You fingers show your athletic potential and anxiety

By comparing your index and ring fingers, a neuroscientist can tell if you are likely to be anxious, or if you are likely to be a good athlete.

Unique genetic basis found in autism genes that may lead to earlier diagnosis

Researchers are a step closer to understanding the genetic basis of autism, which they hope will lead to earlier diagnosis of what is rapidly becoming the most prevalent developmental disorder worldwide.

Neurons devoted to social memory identified

Mice have brain cells that are dedicated to storing memories of other mice, according to a new study. These cells, found in a region of the hippocampus known as the ventral CA1, store "social memories" that help shape the mice's behavior toward each other. Show More Summary

Parents' age and the risk for autism and schizophrenia: Is the connection real?

A new study indicates that parents who reproduce later in life are more likely to have children who develop autism disorders. Later reproduction was not, however, associated with increased risk for schizophrenia in offspring.

Gene regulation in brain may explain repetitive behaviors in Rett Syndrome patients

Rett syndrome is a rare, debilitating disease in which patients progressively lose brain function and the ability to walk. Relatively little is known about the neuronal causes of Rett syndrome, but scientists have now identified a process...Show More Summary

The language of senses

Sight, touch and hearing are our windows to the world: these sensory channels send a constant flow of information to the brain, which acts to sort out and integrate these signals, allowing us to perceive the world and interact with our environment. But how do these sensory pathways emerge during development?

'Teashirt' gene links autism and kidney problems, new study finds

A gene dubbed the ‘Teashirt’ by its discoverers has been identified as a link between children with kidney problems and autism, in a new study which has implications for how doctors working on both conditions administer tests to their patients.

Virtual reality training improves social skills of individuals on the autism spectrum

Children with autism spectrum disorder, who participated in a virtual reality training program, improved social cognition skills and reported better real-world relationships. Neurocognitive testing showed significant gains in emotional recognition, understanding the perspective of others and the ability to problem solve.

New explanation offered for symptoms of fragile X syndrome

Until recently, scientists thought they understood one of the underlying causes of fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability in the United States. The syndrome, which is associated with autism, was believed to be linked primarily to overactivity in a molecular pathway in the brain.

Meet AISOY1 the Robot, autism therapy assistant

Researchers are collaborating to expand the potential of their robot assistant for the treatment of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, the goal is to explore the ways in which the AISOY robot can enhance therapy sessions at the UMH University Clinic.

Link discovered between touch of individuals with autism, their social difficulties

The sense of touch may play a more crucial role in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than previously assumed. The main findings of the research show that individuals with ASD may have difficulties to determine which tactile sensations belong to the action of someone else.

Muscular dystrophy-causing receptor has broader role in brain development

Dystroglycan, a muscle cell receptor whose dysfunction causes muscular dystrophy, actually has a critical role in brain development, researchers have discovered.

Brain's stunning genomic diversity revealed

Half of our healthy neurons contain huge insertions or deletions in DNA, new research indicates. The findings may help explain what makes us each unique -- why even identical twins can be so different from one other, for example -- and how jumping genes can go awry and cause disease.

Cognitive behavior therapy could be key for children with autism getting enough sleep

Experts believe that a family-based cognitive behavioral therapy may be the key for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have problems sleeping.

Mouse model points to potential drug target for increasing social interaction in autism

A study of a new mouse model identifies a drug target that has the potential to increase social interaction in individuals with some forms of autism spectrum disorder.

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