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SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
An immune system that ensures survival is one of the earliest gifts from a mother to her child. But sometimes, that gift can be a Trojan horse, sending soldiers that are programmed to attack the body's own antigens into the fetus, where they interfere with brain development. The result is maternal autoantibody related (MAR) autism, which may account for as much as 23% of the cases of that spectrum of brain disorders. Now UC Davis researchers believe they have found the targets of these maternal autoantibodies, a potential step in the path toward preventive treatment for women contemplating pregnancy.
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SCIENCE
June 3, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Hyperactive brain cells firing together could be an early indicator of autism and developmental disabilities, a team of UCLA researchers has found. Networks of neurons were found to be firing in a highly synchronized and seemingly unrelenting fashion, even through sleep, in the brains of juvenile mice that have a genetic abnormality similar to one that causes mental retardation and autism symptoms in humans, according to the research published online Monday in Nature Neuroscience.
SCIENCE
May 31, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
How an autistic baby's brain fires up in response to words at 2 years of age may predict how well that child will learn language and even think and behave later in life, a new study shows. The research, published this week in the online journal PLOS One, suggests that a “social gateway” based in the brain impedes not only early language processing, but a broader spectrum of cognitive development, including the ability to adapt behavior to circumstances, according to Patricia Kuhl, who studies early language and brain development at the University of Washington's Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences.
HEALTH
August 7, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Different genes may be responsible for causing autism in boys than in girls, researchers said last week, a finding that may help explain why the condition is more common in boys. And, writing in the journal Molecular Genetics, they said other genes might play a role in the early onset and late onset forms of autism.
NATIONAL
January 11, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Researchers at 11 universities will create a databank of DNA samples from 3,000 autism patients in an effort to identify different kinds of autism and develop treatments. The University of Michigan will lead the three-year, $10-million effort funded by the Simons Foundation, the school announced this week. The New York philanthropic group aims to spend $100 million long-term to find a cure for the disorder that affects one in 200 children.
OPINION
June 15, 2003
Re "Brother's Wish to Help His Sister Is Winning Formula in Essay Contest," June 11: Daniel Boyce has accomplished a great deal toward curing one of the most serious aspects of autism. His story and the picture of him with his beautiful sister Suzie will go a long way to dispel the erroneous notion that persons with autism are not capable of affection or family relationships. Theresa DeBell Beverly Hills
SCIENCE
December 23, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
French scientists have identified genetic mutations in a small number of children with autism that could provide insight into the biological basis of the disorder. They sequenced a gene called SHANK3 in more than 200 people with autism spectrum disorders, which include autism, and found mutations in the gene in members of three families, according to the report in the journal Nature Genetics.
NEWS
November 3, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Doctors, researchers, therapists and the general public should reconsider their biases against people with autism, according to a psychiatrist/neuroscientist who studies the disorder. You may not think you are biased against autistics, but you probably are, writes Dr. Laurent Mottron of the University of Montreal in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature . After all, he was too - and he's an expert in the field. Like most people, if he found a difference between autistic people and members of the general population, he assumed the gap represented some sort of defect - even when there was no evidence to suggest that it was. Many of his colleagues continue to think this way, Mottron writes: “For instance, researchers performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
OPINION
February 27, 2009
Re "A dose of reality on autism," editorial, Feb. 25 The court decision that additives in the measles vaccine do not cause autism may not be the final word on the issue. As history has shown, officials tend to downplay beliefs of parents or other nonprofessionals. But parents have brought needed attention to this important issue, and the demand now should be that government and the pharmaceutical industry dedicate adequate resources to the discovery of any and all possible environmental causes for autism.
OPINION
January 12, 2008
Re "Research can't link autism, mercury," Jan. 8 As a speech and language pathologist, I have worked with many families whose children had autism. A child's limited ability to interact and use language appropriately is a difficult aspect of the disorder. Studies continue to show that vaccines are not to blame for autism. Unfortunately, with human research it is impossible to factor everything involved, but focusing on the effect of one thing at a time has not found the culprit. Perhaps we should be looking at something different.
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