SFARI NEWS

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19 June 2012 •

A Newsletter from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

NEWS Autism research may require tens of thousands of samples Loss of autism brain samples highlights need for donations SPECIAL Microglia IN BRIEF Genetics: Analysis identifies new autism candidate regions Clinical research: Genetic variant improves effects of oxytocin Molecular mechanisms: Language neurons small in autism TOOLBOX 'Tomato' red molecule reports on neuronal activity BLOG Microbial world Sensory experience

NEWS

Autism research may require tens of thousands of samples
Rare variants make up the vast majority of human genetic variation, according to two independent papers published in May in Science. That means that genetic studies of complex diseases such as autism are likely to require tens of thousands of participants.

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Loss of autism brain samples highlights need for donations
A freezer malfunction that damaged a third of the largest collection of autism

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SFARI NEWS

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brain tissue points to the dire need for more donations, a better system for eliciting them, and a coordinated effort for storing and distributing tissue.

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SPECIAL

Microglia
A collection of articles from SFARI.org highlights how microglia, the brain's immune cells, may play a role in autism and in shaping neuronal connections.

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IN BRIEF

Genetics: Analysis identifies new autism candidate regions
An analysis of large duplications and deletions of DNA has identified new candidate genes for autism in pathways linked to the disorder. The results were published 22 May in Human Molecular Genetics.

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Clinical research: Genetic variant improves effects of oxytocin
Men with a common autism-linked variant of CD38, a gene that regulates levels of the 'trust hormone' oxytocin, benefit more from the hormone than do those with other variants, according to a study published in the May issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.

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SFARI NEWS

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Molecular mechanisms: Language neurons small in autism
Neurons that activate signals in a brain region important for language and imitation are smaller in the brains of individuals with autism than in those of controls, according to a study published 31 March in Acta Neuropathology.

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TOOLBOX

'Tomato' red molecule reports on neuronal activity
A pH-sensitive red fluorescent molecule allows researchers to simultaneously monitor two different types of neuronal activity, according to a study published 27 May in Nature Neuroscience.

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BLOG

Microbial world
New tools developed as part of the Human Microbiome Project could help researchers understand the role of microbes in autism.

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Sensory experience
A Dutch multimedia project attempts to convey how people with autism experience the world.

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