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  • Scarcity of brain's immune cells alters mouse behavior
    13 February 2014
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    A temporary shortage of microglia — immune cells in the brain that prune unnecessary neural connections — in infancy can have long-lasting effects on brain circuits and behavior, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience on 2 February.

  • Drug calms overly excitable brains in autism rodent models
    10 February 2014
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    The blood pressure drug bumetanide normalizes a deficit in brain activity in two rodent models of autism, according to a study published last week in Science. The study hints at a mechanism underlying the drug’s benefits for people with autism.

  • Studies diverge on role of mother's age in autism risk
    6 February 2014
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    Two large Scandinavian studies confirm the long-standing theory that older men have a higher risk of fathering children with autism, but they disagree on how a mother’s age drives risk of the disorder.

  • New diagnostic category will hold subset of autism cases
    3 February 2014
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    Most of the children who would lose their autism diagnosis under the diagnostic criteria released last year will fall under the new category of social (pragmatic) communication disorder, reports a large study of Korean children. The study was published last week in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

  • Spontaneous and rare mutations are key in schizophrenia
    30 January 2014
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    Spontaneous and rare mutations, particularly in genes related to networks that regulate neuronal connections, contribute a small but significant proportion of the risk for schizophrenia, report two large studies published online 22 January in Nature.