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Signaling Pathway May be Key to Why Autism is More Common in Boys

October 25, 2017

Researchers aiming to understand why autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are more common in boys have discovered differences in a brain signaling pathway involved in reward learning and motivation that make male mice more vulnerable to an autism-causing genetic glitch. "One intriguing aspect of autism is that it predominantly affects males; four boys are affected for every one girl," says senior study author Ted Abel, PhD, director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. "We don't understand what it is about this disorder that predisposes boys as compared to girls to develop autism." This male bias is also seen in other neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and specific language impairments. Read More

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