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  • Roots of language troubles, autism traits may diverge
    15 September 2014
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    The genetic and environmental factors that underlie difficulties with language differ from those that influence other autism traits, according to a new study of more than 3,000 twin pairs. The study, published 2 August in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, suggests that difficulty with language is not a core symptom of autism.

  • Analysis predicts odds of mutations' link to autism
    11 September 2014
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    A new method of statistical analysis can predict whether a rare mutation identified in someone with autism has a meaningful association with the disorder or was found only by chance, researchers reported in the September issue of Nature Genetics.

  • Sensitive sequencing methods pinpoint mosaic mutations
    8 September 2014
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    Advanced sequencing methods can detect spontaneous genetic changes that show up in only a small subset of a person’s cells, suggest two new studies published in August. Despite their low prevalence in the body, these so-called ‘somatic mosaic mutations’ occur frequently in people and may be important contributors to brain disorders.

  •  Brains of children with autism teem with surplus synapses
    4 September 2014
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    The brains of children with autism do not prune unneeded connections between neurons as they age, leaving them with too many of these neuronal links, according to a study published 21 August in Neuron.

  • New tools validate dish-grown neurons for autism research
    1 September 2014
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    Creating neurons from stem cells in a lab dish is a popular approach for studying developmental disorders such as autism. But how closely these neurons resemble those found in an adult brain has been unclear. Two new methods, described 2 July in Neuron, suggest that these neurons recapitulate the early stages of development.

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