A compound that inhibits the brain chemical glutamate reduced repetitive behaviors and partially improved sociability in mouse models of autism. Though preliminary, the findings represent an important advance in autism research because they are the first to show consistent benefits from a pharmaceutical agent across two core symptoms.
Autism researchers study the link between parental age and autism risk because the relationship provides important clues to the factors that lead to autism. For example, increasing age may bring greater cumulative exposure to toxic chemicals. Older moms have increased risk of pregnancy complications, and as a woman’s eggs age, they are more likely to carry genetic changes that can affect fetal development.
The Gordon Research Conference, “Fragile X and Autism-Related Disorders: From Basic Neuroscience to Improved Clinical Care,” will be held June 10 through 15, at Stonehill College, in Easton, Mass.
Autism Speaks and the Simons Foundation are collaborating to create a repository of biological samples and clinical information on families with one or more child on the autism spectrum.
The biotechnology company IntegraGen has launched a gene test that uses a cheek swab to screen infants and toddlers for 65 genetic markers associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Scientists have discovered a gene whose expression is twelve times higher than normal in the brains of persons with autism. The gene, dubbed MSNP1AS, may increase autism risk in a manner that has been little studied in the past.
Three new studies have identified hundreds of tiny genetic changes that may increase the risk of autism. Together, they also support earlier research suggesting that having an older father is a notable risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).