Study Reveals Common Genetic Changes Are Significant in Autism

Genetic changes are responsible for roughly 60 percent of the risk for autism, and most of these variants are commonly found in the general population, according to a groundbreaking study led by Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD, Director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, and Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The remaining nongenetic factors that account for roughly 40 percent of the risk for autism are not known. However, environmental factors and the interaction between genes and the environment may be a part of these nongenetic factors, says Dr. Buxbaum, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Research Professor of Geriatrics and Adult Development at Icahn School of Medicine.

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Molecular Autism receives highest Impact Factor

On July 29, 2014, Thomson Reuters awarded an Impact Factor of 5.486 to the open access journal Molecular Autism. This represents the highest Impact Factor for any journal dedicated to autism or related neurodevelopmental conditions.

The journal was created in 2010, by Professor Joseph Buxbaum, Director of the Seaver Autism Center and Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. The goal of the journal was to provide an outlet for the volume of exciting genetic and other molecular autism research papers, and to make this cutting-edge autism research available freely via open access. In the past four years, Molecular Autism has grown and now publishes approximately five articles per month.

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Studying the Effect of Vitamin E on Functional Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease

Functional decline, measured as the loss of ability to accomplish activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, planning or cooking a meal, and paying bills, is the major symptom in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and the primary source of caregiver burden. Yet, few studies have focused on ways to slow this functional decline.

In a recently published study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers, co-led by an investigator from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, reported that vitamin E, also known as alpha tocopherol, reduced functional decline in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

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Department of Psychiatry Opens New Center

The Department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has opened a new center to investigate and treat tics, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and related disorders, which are estimated to affect more than 2 million people in the United States. The new center, at 1240 Park Avenue and 96th Street, serves patients in a clinical setting that is located down the hall from a research facility that will conduct clinical trials, genetic analysis, and functional brain imaging to learn more about the disorders.

Operated by the Division of Tic, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Related Disorders (DTOR), the center “is in the vanguard of academic psychiatry because it embraces the concept that tic disorders and OCD frequently overlap and are life-cycle disorders, not separate child and adult disorders,” says Wayne Goodman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine, and the Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Professor of Psychiatry. “We are among the first medical centers to put this important concept into practice in a way that improves patient care and research.”

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