What causes autism? Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea.” But these are exciting times in autism research. Scientists have discovered scores of genes implicated in autism risk. They are deciphering how these genes control crucial activities within and between brain cells.
In November 2011, scientists from around the world gathered in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss how the emerging picture of autism brain pathways can lead to effective treatments for those struggling with disabling symptoms. Autism Spectrum Disorders—from Mechanisms to Therapies, organized by the scientific journals Cell and Neuron, was a special three-day meeting within the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience.
Autism Speaks is proud to have co-sponsored two watershed documents that Neuron developed for the symposia.
SnapShot: Autism and the Synapse richly illustrates how 16 autism risk genes interact within and between cells that convey vital brain messages.
SnapShot: Genetics of Autism summarizes knowledge on scores of autism-risk genes—both their normal functions and how their mutations increase the risk of certain autism subtypes and syndromes.
These documents graphically capture how autism science has reached the level where researchers can begin developing safe and effective medicines to relieve disabling symptoms. Because this progress is made possible by you—our families and supporters—we are pleased to share these for download. Please click on the images or text links for your copies.