A burst of research into the genetics of autism has given scientists insight into the basis for the disorder. Now, some companies aim to capitalize on these findings by developing DNA screens that might one day provide a diagnosis at birth.
Arab children with autism are beginning to receive the latest education methods developed in the West at new specialized institutes, but the region also has something to offer autism researchers in the rest of the world – consanguineous marriages.
In Bench to Bedside, Guoping Feng and Jonathan Ting peruse a study that uncovers how fragile X syndrome–causing gene mutations unleash a translation break that finally leads to overexpression of synaptic proteins that alter the proper transmission of signals at the synapse.
There is widespread hope that the discovery of valid biomarkers for autism will both reveal the causes of autism and enable earlier and more targeted methods for diagnosis and intervention. However, growing enthusiasm about recent advances in this area of autism research needs to be tempered by an awareness of the major scientific challenges and the important social and ethical concerns arising from the development of biomarkers and their clinical application.
Recent advances in the genetics of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are offering new valuable insights into molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathology. At the same time, the emerging data challenge long-standing diagnostic conventions and the notion of phenotypic specificity. This review addresses the particular issues that attend gene discovery in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders and ASDs
The idea that autism and psychosis are two ends of a common spectrum is stirring up debate among geneticists and psychiatrists alike. It's controversial, but thanks to advances in comparative genomics, this hypothesis is now testable.
Neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, depression and autism, are a huge burden on society, impairing the health of those affected, as well as their ability to learn and to work. After half a century of concerted effort, researchers are now making progress towards defining the biological basis of these diseases.
Separating primary from secondary changes in the autistic brain has long been a research goal. With knowledge of wide-ranging molecular deficits, identification of the best therapeutic targets becomes a priority.
Autism spectrum disorders vary greatly in severity. By including children in regular education who received no special help, an epidemiological study has found these disorders to be up to three times more prevalent than thought.