mutations in their mitochondrial genome

Mounting evidence links mitochondrial DNA to autism

Genetic variants that affect mitochondria, the organelles that power cells, may increase the risk of autism.

By Jessica Wright
5 April 2018 | 5 min read

Mitochondrial risk; anxiety amelioration; fever factor and more

Some variants in mitochondrial DNA are more common than others in autism, cognitive therapy reduces anxiety for people on the spectrum, and maternal fever in the third trimester is tied to autism risk.

By Emily Willingham
25 August 2017 | 5 min read
A young boy and a young girl hiding behind the kitchen table.

Sibling study bolsters role of common variants in autism

Children with autism are genetically more similar to one another than to a group of unaffected siblings.

By Jessica Wright
24 August 2017 | 4 min read

Rogue poop; ancestral autism; travel limbo and more

A Tampa clinic goes rogue with fecal transplants, autism’s genetic ancestry traces to our deep past, and the U.S. Supreme Court revives the travel ban.

By Emily Willingham
30 June 2017 | 6 min read

Some behavioral problems in autism may stem from poor health

Many children with autism have gastrointestinal problems, seizures and sleep disorders. A new study suggests that these seemingly disparate conditions are interconnected and may lead to the children’s behavioral issues.

By Rachel Nuwer
11 June 2015 | 5 min read

Power of girls to thwart autism shows up in sibling study

Children whose older sisters are on the spectrum are at higher risk for autism than are those with affected older brothers, a new study suggests. Younger brothers of children with autism are at greater risk than younger sisters.

By Charles Q. Choi
28 May 2015 | 4 min read

Reference strains aid genetic testing for Rett syndrome

Researchers have established a set of commercially available cell lines that can help gauge the quality of tests for Rett syndrome, they reported in the March issue of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

By Jessica Wright
26 March 2014 | 2 min read

Algorithm uncovers autism syndromes’ fingerprints

An artificial-intelligence algorithm designed to analyze behavior has learned to recognize six genetic disorders associated with autism, according to a report published 11 February in Molecular Autism. The algorithm could be used to hone the search for autism’s genetic underpinnings.

By Jessa Netting
6 March 2014 | 6 min read
Illustration of brain waves during an epileptic seizure.

Clinical research: Epilepsy and autism share familial risk

In families with a history of autism, the affected children are seven times more likely to also have epilepsy than their unaffected siblings, according to a study published 1 December in Molecular Autism. The results suggest that epilepsy and autism share some risk factors.

By Jessica Wright
21 February 2014 | 2 min read

Large study links autism to autoimmune disease in mothers

About one in ten women who have a child with autism have immune molecules in their bloodstream that react with proteins in the brain, according to a study published 20 August in Molecular Psychiatry.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
22 August 2013 | 6 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read
Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read