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The first autism disease genes
Date:9/1/2008

eat behavioural problems such as aggression, self-injury, or severe tantrums.

Warning signs for Autism Spectrum Disorders such as social symptoms, communication deficits and repetitive behaviours should be considered sufficient reason to have a child evaluated by specialized professionals. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner the child can be helped through treatment interventions.

Advances in autism research: genetic influences

Research into the causes, diagnosis, and the treatment of ASD has advanced interactively. Imaging studies have shown that many major brain structures are implicated in autism. Other research is focusing on the role of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. The past decade has been marked by an increased interest in the genetic basis of autism, and recent developments point to genetic factors playing a prominent role in the causes for ASD.

The role of gene mutations in autism

Twin and family studies have suggested an underlying genetic vulnerability to ASD. The estimated prevalence of autism in siblings is 5-10%. A higher recurrence risk in families with autistic subjects (45-times greater than the prevalence in the general population) and higher concordance for autism among monozygotic (60-90%) than dizygotic (0-10%) twins argue for a genetic predisposition to idiopathic autism. These data are interpreted as showing that liability to autism is in large part due to oligogenic inheritance in which a combination of multiple possibly interacting susceptibility alleles results in autism. A series of multiple independent whole genome scans and chromosomal abnormality studies have pointed out several candidate regions on chromosomes 2q, 7q, 6q, 15q and sex chromosomes. These regions possess candidate genes that have been screened for mutations or association with autism. In a European multicentre project called PARIS (Paris Autism Sib-pair Internat
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
43-140-557-340
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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