SFARI News - February 2010 | Fever | Autism

Feb.

17, 2010

No. 3

From the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

Director's column: Fever's promising puzzle Cori Bargmann joins SFARI scientific advisory board Workshop report: Sequencing the SSC New SFARI website makes commenting easier Variants in trust hormone receptor up the risk for autism Simons investigator profile: Guoping Feng

Director's column: Fever's promising puzzle
In his latest column, SFARI director Gerald Fischbach discusses the concept that fever can improve cognitive function and behavior in individuals with autism. A prospective survey conducted by Andrew Zimmerman and his group at the Kennedy Krieger Institute documented decreases in hyperactivity, irritability and stereotypy, as well as improved speech in 30 probands with fevers above 100.4 F. A preliminary survey of families enrolled in the Simons Simplex Collection indicates that as many as 25 percent of parents report similar improvements when their children are febrile. Fischbach reviews the complex literature that links the hypothalamus, the locus ceruleus and the 'social brain' to explore the hypothesis regarding fever's beneficial effects. Read More »

Cori Bargmann joins SFARI scientific advisory board
The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is pleased to announce that Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at Rockefeller University, has joined its scientific advisory board. Dr. Bargmann's research focuses on how the environment, experience and the biology of the brain interact to shape an animal's behavior. She is particularly interested in how genes influence neural pathways and behavior. Read More »

Workshop report: Sequencing the SSC

As the number of available DNA samples continues to increase and the cost of sequencing continues to drop, one can't help but want to capture all of the genetic variation that might be contributing to autism susceptibility in these families. Toward this end, SFARI organized a one-day workshop on the prospects for sequencing samples from the Simons Simplex Collection. Read More »

New SFARI website makes commenting easier
Visitors to the SFARI website will notice a host of new features, including the ability to easily comment on news and blog articles. We welcome comments from users either anonymously, or by creating a user id and password at id.sfari.org. Other enhancements to the site include an improved frontpage slideshow that showcases news on the latest autism research. Read More »

Variants in trust hormone receptor up the risk for autism
Genetic variations that tweak the brain's release of oxytocin — a hormone involved in social bonding and establishing trust — may increase the risk of developing autism or autistic traits, according to three new studies published in the past few months. Read More »

Simons investigator profile: Guoping Feng
Guoping Feng's perseverance has proven a boon to the hundreds of neuroscientists who rely on his most celebrated scientific achievement: two dozen mouse strains engineered to have brightly colored brain cells. By creating the first robust mouse model of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Feng has also found a way to study repetitive behaviors, one of the three core characteristics of autism. Read More »
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