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  • Clinical research: Facial features can help diagnose autism
    1 August 2012
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    The presence of any of three abnormal physical features — an asymmetrical face, tufts of hair growing in the wrong direction or a prominent forehead — can help diagnose autism, according to a study published 6 June in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

  • Twin differences
    31 July 2012
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    Identical twins are born with significant differences in the chemical modifications to their DNA, suggesting that the uterine environment can profoundly influence development and risk for disease.

  • Molecular mechanisms: Autism gene regulates neuron shape
    31 July 2012
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    TAOK2, a gene in the autism-associated 16p11.2 chromosomal region, is part of a signaling pathway that builds neuronal connections during development, according to a study published 10 June in Nature Neuroscience.

  • In Phelan-McDermid, motor neurons show irregularities
    30 July 2012
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    Motor neurons derived from individuals with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a rare autism-related disorder, form abnormal connections with muscle cells. The unpublished research was presented 26 July at a meeting of the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation in Orlando.

  • Researchers grapple with mixed results from cognitive studies
    30 July 2012
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    Some studies have suggested that people with autism have deficits in executive function — a set of complex mental processes involved in everyday life. But these results may instead reflect their difficulties imagining what other people are thinking, according to a provocative new hypothesis.