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10 January 2012

A Newsletter from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

NEWS Funding fears prevent researchers from sharing their mice To make big data available to all, reach for the clouds VIEWPOINT The value of blood cells in autism research IN BRIEF Genetics: Large variants linked to intellectual disability Clinical research: Twin study links low birth weight to autism Molecular mechanisms: Alzheimer's protein linked to fragile X TOOLBOX Brain atlas maps gene expression across development BLOG Screen time Research evolution

NEWS

Funding fears prevent researchers from sharing their mice


Despite funders' requirements to share mouse models after publication, many researchers hoard the animals for the good of their labs and that could have an adverse effect on the field as a whole.

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To make big data available to all, reach for the clouds


As the amount of genomics and other data rapidly grows, researchers are turning to cloud computing; commercial services for remote data storage and

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processing that allow even those with little infrastructure to handle big data.

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VIEWPOINT

The value of blood cells in autism research


Blood from individuals with autism could help researchers identify biomarkers to diagnose the disorder and learn more about related symptoms, such as gastrointestinal complaints, says molecular biologist Valerie Hu.

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IN BRIEF

Genetics: Large variants linked to intellectual disability


Intellectual disability is more likely to be associated with multiple, large or non-inherited duplications and deletions of DNA than is autism, according to a study published 7 November in PLoS Genetics.

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Clinical research: Twin study links low birth weight to autism


When twins differ in their diagnosis of autism, the twin with the lower birth weight is about three times more likely to develop the disorder than his or her sibling, according to a study published in the December issue of Biological Psychiatry.

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Molecular mechanisms: Alzheimer's protein linked to fragile X


Lowering the levels of a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease can rescue symptoms of fragile X syndrome in mice, according to a study published 26 October in PLoS One.

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TOOLBOX

Brain atlas maps gene expression across development


Researchers have charted the expression of more than 15,000 brain genes across 15 stages of development, spanning from 4 weeks post-conception to more than 60 years of age, they reported 27 October in Nature.

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BLOG

Screen time
Children with autism are twice as likely as controls to spend most of their free time watching television or videos.

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Research evolution
A new study examining trends in autism research over the past 40 years found that the largest areas of growth have been in immune function, oxidative stress, toxin exposure, genetics and neuroimaging, while research on theory of mind and neuropathology has slowed.

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