Genetics

Autism Susceptibility Genes Identified

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
March 26, 2010
Abstract: 

Two genes have been associated with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) in a new study of 661 families. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's newly launched journal Molecular Autism found that variations in the genes for two brain proteins, LRRN3 and LRRTM3, were significantly associated with susceptibility to ASD.

Better Genetic Test for Autism?

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
March 15, 2010
Abstract: 

A large study from Children's Hospital Boston and the Boston-based Autism Consortium finds that a genetic test that samples the entire genome, known as chromosomal microarray analysis, has about three times the detection rate for genetic changes related to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) than standard tests.

Autism and Schizophrenia: Research Builds on Genetic Link

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
February 24, 2010
Abstract: 

A genetic link between schizophrenia and autism is enabling researchers to study the effectiveness of drugs used to treat both illnesses. Dr. Steve Clapcote from the University of Leeds's Faculty of Biological Sciences will be analyzing behavior displayed by mice with a genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia and autism and seeing how antipsychotic drugs affect their behavioral abnormalities.

Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Reseachers Find

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 24, 2010
Abstract: 

When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans

Time to Regroup on Autism

Source: 
CNN.com
Date Published: 
February 3, 2010
Abstract: 

Alison Singer says link between autism, vaccinations debunked but research progressing. But, she says, new science is overshadowed as some cling to discredited study. Some parents put kids in danger by still avoiding vaccines, trying dicey "therapies". New research should move forward with science as a guide.

Genes Implicated in Twins' Autism

Source: 
The Baltimore Sun
Date Published: 
January 4, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers have known for years that when one identical twin has autism, the other is also likely to be diagnosed with it - evidence that autism likely has a genetic component. Recent studies support that theory. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute studied 277 pairs of twins and found that when one identical twin had the disorder, the other developed it 88 percent of the time; for fraternal twins, that figure was 31 percent.

The Top 10 Everything of 2009.# 7: New Research on Autism

Source: 
Time Magazine
Date Published: 
December 8, 2009
Abstract: 

TIME recognized New Research on Autism as #7 of its Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2009.

Autism-Risk Gene Rewires the Brain in a Way That Disrupts Learning and Language Acquisition

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 3, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers at UCLA have discovered how an autism-risk gene rewires the brain, which could pave the way for treatments aimed at rebalancing brain circuits during early development. Dr. Geschwind and team examined the variations in brain function and connectivity resulting from two forms of the CNTNAP2 gene - one form of the gene increases the risk of autism. The researchers suspected that CNTNAP2 might have an important impact on brain activity. They used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to scan 32 children's brains while they were performing tasks related to learning. Only 16 of them had autism.

The imaging results confirmed their suspicions. All the children with the autism-risk gene showed a disjointed brain, regardless of their diagnosis. Their frontal lobe was over-connected to itself, while connection to the rest of the brain was poor, especially with the back of the brain. There was also a difference between how the left and right sides of the brain connected with each other, depending on which CNTNAP2 version the child carried.

The authors believe their findings could help identify autism risk earlier, and eventually lead to interventions that could enhance connections between the frontal lobe and the left side of the brain.

Link Between Genetic Defect And Brain Changes In Schizophrenia Demonstrated

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
October 17, 2009
Abstract: 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found that the 22q11 gene deletion -- a mutation that confers the highest known genetic risk for schizophrenia -- is associated with changes in the development of the brain that ultimately affect how its circuit elements are assembled.

The researchers would now like to figure out how these alterations in the circuitry of the brain affect the behavior of the mouse. They also hope that understanding the "mis-wiring" of the brain in a genetic animal model of schizophrenia would help them understand the causes of the disease in the general population

Utah Researchers Discover Another Genetic Link to Autism

Source: 
Salt Lake Tribune
Date Published: 
October 8, 2009
Abstract: 

An international consortium of researchers, including three from the University of Utah, has discovered yet another genetic link to autism. Studying the genes of more than 1,000 families -- including 150 from Utah -- who have more than one person with the disorder, the researchers found a region on chromosome 5 that is strongly associated with autism.