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Century-old drug as potential new approach to autism

In a small, randomized Phase I/II clinical trial (SAT1), researchers say a 100-year-old drug called suramin, originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, was safely administered to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who subsequently displayed measurable, but transient, improvement in core symptoms of autism.

Brain anatomy differs in people with 22q genetic risk for schizophrenia, autism

Study characterizes, for the first time, brain differences between people with a specific genetic risk for schizophrenia and those at risk for autism, and the findings could help explain the biological underpinnings of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

Oxytocin administered to the nose increases emotion perception in autism

Intranasal oxytocin can influence how individuals with autism perceive emotion in others, a recent study has demonstrated. This is an important first step for a potential pharmacological treatment of autism.

New genetic roots for intelligence discovered

Scientists have made a major advance in understanding the genetic underpinnings of intelligence. Using a large dataset of more than 78,000 individuals with information on DNA genotypes and intelligence scores, the team discovered novel genes and biological routes for intelligence.

How Fragile X syndrome disrupts perception

A new study sheds light on the neural mechanisms of Fragile X syndrome. This genetic disorder, which affects males twice as often as females due to males' single X chromosome, causes disruptions in the way neurons transmit information to each other.

First clear-cut risk genes for Tourette disorder revealed

Tourette disorder afflicts as many as one person in a hundred worldwide with potentially disabling symptoms including involuntary motor and vocal tics. However, researchers have so far failed to determine the cause of the disorder, and treatments have only limited effectiveness, in part because the genetics underlying the disorder have remained largely a mystery.

Speech and language deficits in children with autism may not cause tantrums

Speech or language impairments may not be the cause of more frequent tantrums in children with autism, according to researchers. The findings could help parents of children with autism seek out the best treatment for behavior proble...

Finding real rewards in a virtual world

Remembering where a goal is requires the same parts of the brain in virtual reality as it does in the real world, a new study demonstrates. The study showed that mice performed poorly on the virtual test if they lacked Shank2, a protein known to be associated with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities.

Paternal age at conception may influence social development in offspring

The age of the father at the time his children are born may influence their social development, suggests a new study. Analyzing social behaviors of children from early childhood until adolescence, researchers found that those whose father was either very young or older at conception differed in how they acquired social skills.

Neurons' faulty wiring leads to serotonin imbalance, depression-like behavior in mice

A gene has been identified that allows neurons that release serotonin to evenly spread their branches throughout the brain. Without this gene, these branches become entangled, leading to haphazard serotonin distribution, and signs of depression in mice. Show More Summary

How shifts in excitation-inhibition balance may lead to psychiatric disorders

Seven reviews highlight advancements in understanding the balance of excitatory and inhibitory signaling in the brain, and what might happen when it goes awry.

Diagnosed autism linked to maternal grandmother's smoking in pregnancy

Scientists have looked at all 14,500 participants in Children of the 90s and found that if a girl's maternal grandmother smoked during pregnancy, the girl is 67 percent more likely to display certain traits linked to autism, such as poor social communication skills and repetitive behaviors.

Working human forebrain circuits assembled in a lab dish

Peering into laboratory glassware, researchers have watched stem-cell-derived nerve cells arising in a specific region of the human brain migrate into another brain region. This process recapitulates what's been believed to occur in a developing fetus, but has never previously been viewed in real time.

Facial expressions: How brains process emotion

The amygdala has distinct neurons that judge the intensity and ambiguity of facial expressions, new research shows. Identifying the amygdala's role in social cognition suggests insights into the neurological mechanisms behind autism and anxiety.

Money a barrier to independence for young adults with autism

When teenagers and young adults with autism enter adulthood and age out of many of the services designed to help them, they often are anxious about how to handle new adult responsibilities such as paying bills and filing taxes. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating financial management into early education to empower young adults with autism.

Autism, Guardianship, Self Determination and Housing

There's a controversy brewing over supported housing for autistic people. Are autistic communities supportive or oppressive? Who decides - autistics or parents?

26 novel genes linked to intellectual disability

26 new genes have now been linked to intellectual disability. Currently most patients with intellectual disability receive no molecular diagnosis, which significantly affects their health and shortens their lifespan.

Mechanism that regulates acoustic habituation identified

Most people will startle when they hear an unexpected loud sound. The second time they hear the noise, they'll startle significantly less; by the third time, they'll barely startle at all. This ability is called acoustic habituation, and new research has identified the underlying molecular mechanism that controls this capability. Show More Summary

One in three teens with autism spectrum disorder receives driver's license

One in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder acquires an intermediate driver's license, and the majority does so in their 17th year. The vast majority of teens with ASD who receive a learner's permit goes on to receive their...Show More Summary

The Controversy Around Autism and Neurodiversity

April is autism month. For some it's about acceptance. For other's its about awareness. Some want a cure and others just want to be left alone. And What about neurodiversity?

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