December 2007 Autism News

These are some of the latest news on autism gathered by

Autism Speaks Announces Major Expansion of Autism Treatment Network
Fifteen Sites in the U.S. and Canada Dedicated to the Care of Children and Adolescents with Autism

NEW YORK, NY (Dec 12, 2007) – Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization, today announced its Autism Treatment Network (ATN) would triple in size, expanding from five sites to fifteen sites across the United States and Canada. The ATN is a group of hospitals and medical centers dedicated to improving medical care for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to standardizing the care those individuals receive.

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Source: Autism Speaks

New Studies Suggest Brain Overgrowth in One-Year-Olds Linked to Development of Autism
Researchers Observe Link between Post-Natal Behavioral Symptoms and Brain Development  

Boca Raton, FL, December 8, 2007 – Boca Raton, FL, December 8, 2007 – Brain overgrowth in the latter part of an infant’s first year may contribute to the onset of autistic characteristics, according to research presented today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting. These findings support concurrent research which has found brain overgrowth in autistic children as young as two years old.

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Source: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Missing Protein May Be Key to Autism

Deborah Halber, News Office Correspondent
December 5, 2007

A missing brain protein may be one of the culprits behind autism and other brain disorders, according to researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

The protein, called CASK, helps in the development of synapses, which neurons use to communicate with one another and which underlie our ability to learn and remember. Improperly formed synapses could lead to mental retardation, and mutations in genes encoding certain synaptic proteins are associated with autism.

In work published in the Dec. 6 issue of Neuron, Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, reported that she has uncovered an enzyme that is key to the activity of CASK.

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Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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