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20 December 2011 •

A Newsletter from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

There will be no SFARI.org newsletter on 27 December. The next SFARI newsletter will be sent out on 3 January.
NEWS New scheme ramps up efforts to aggregate autism data Studies of early development reveal immune link to autism IN BRIEF Cognition and behavior: Response to faces delayed in autism Molecular mechanisms: Master regulator altered in autism Genetics: Family pedigrees suggest autism gene candidates TOOLBOX Eye-tracking device travels with toddlers BLOG Model empathy Pharma's shift

NEWS

New scheme ramps up efforts to aggregate autism data
The nation's largest database of autism research is about to get even bigger, thanks to a partnership between the National Database for Autism Research, a repository of data from 25,000 participants, and the Autism Genetic Research Exchange, a database of 2,500 families.

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Studies of early development reveal immune link to autism
The molecular soldiers of the immune system may contribute to many cases of autism, according to a diverse array of studies published in the past few

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months.

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IN BRIEF

Cognition and behavior: Response to faces delayed in autism
A brain response that discriminates familiar faces from unfamiliar ones develops more slowly in children with autism than in controls, according to a study published in the November/December issue of Child Development.

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Molecular mechanisms: Master regulator altered in autism
SP1, a protein that regulates the expression of several autism candidate genes, could increase risk of the disorder by simultaneously altering the expression of a number of the genes, according to a study published 24 October in Biological Psychiatry.

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Genetics: Family pedigrees suggest autism gene candidates
Researchers have identified 12 duplications or deletions of DNA regions that are transmitted along with autism in families with a history of the disorder. The results were published 7 October in PLoS One.

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TOOLBOX

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Eye-tracking device travels with toddlers
Researchers have designed a light, mobile and wireless device that allows them to track infants' gaze as they explore their environment, according to a study published in November in Child Development.

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BLOG

Model empathy
Rats possess a surprising sense of empathy, according to research published last week in Science. The findings highlight one more reason why rats, with their complex repertoire of social behavior, may be well suited for autism studies.

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Pharma's shift
Swiss drugmaker Novartis plans to close its neuroscience research facility in Switzerland, but research on fragile X drugs will continue.

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