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infant yawning in the crib

Children With Autism Do Not Exhibit Contagious Yawns

If someone near you yawns, do you yawn too? About half of adults yawn after someone else does in a phenomenon called contagious yawning. Now a new study has found that most children are not susceptible to contagious yawning until they are about 4 years old – and that children with autism are less likely to yawn contagiously than others. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, appears in the September/October 2010 issue of the journal Child Development.

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molecular arrangment of a new autism drug

Secret Funding Fosters Hope For New Drugs For People With Autism

Funding from an anonymous wealthy family has been the secret to progress, at long last, in developing drugs that show promise for helping millions of people worldwide with Fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic cause of autism. That’s the topic of a fascinating article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. Check the end of this report for a link to view the original full-length article.

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DNA strand

Link To Autism In Boys Found In Missing DNA

New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), both in Toronto, Canada provides further clues as to why Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects four times more males than females. The scientists discovered that males who carry specific alterations of DNA on the sole X-chromosome they carry are at high risk of developing ASD. The research is published in the September 15 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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young girl at the playground

Cognitive Skills In Children With Autism Vary And Improve

People with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are thought to have a specific profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses – difficulties appreciating others’ thoughts and feelings, problems regulating and controlling their behavior, and an enhanced ability to perceive details – but few studies have tracked children’s cognitive skills over time. Now new longitudinal research provides clues that can inform our understanding of ASD.

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Minocycline capsules

Parents Report Minocycline (A Widely Prescribed Antibiotic) Is Effective For Treating Their Children With Fragile X Syndrome

One of the antibiotics most commonly prescribed to treat adolescent acne can increase attention spans and communication and decrease anxiety in patients with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of mental impairment, according to a new survey study that is the first published on parents’ reports of their children’s responses to treatment with the medication.

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genetic manipulation

A Developmental Gene-Environment Interactions Model For Psychosis

The incidence of psychotic disorders varies greatly across places and demographic groups, as do symptoms, course, and treatment response across individuals. High rates of schizophrenia in large cities, and among immigrants, cannabis users, and traumatized individuals reflect the causal influence of environmental exposures. This, in combination with progress in the area of molecular genetics, has generated interest in more complicated models of schizophrenia aetiology that explicitly posit gene-environment interactions.

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Researcher Philip Awadalla

Scientists Measure Gene Mutation Rate In Autism And Schizophrenia

An international study led by University of Montreal scientists suggests family history may not be a good predictor of the presence of mutations predisposing to autism or schizophrenia. The findings show how new or de novo gene mutations – alterations of the cell’s DNA – play a role in these devastating conditions. Published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, this study has implications for disease prevalence and severity.

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MRI of the human brain

Physical Confirmation Of Neocortical Over-Connectivity In Autism Disorder

There is still much that is unknown about autism spectrum disorders, but a University of Nevada, Reno psychologist has added to the body of knowledge that researchers around the world are compiling to try to demystify, prevent, and treat the mysterious condition. This research was published recently in the journal, Brain Research.

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