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ANNOUNCEMENT: Editor-in-Chief of Autism Research Appointed
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In January 2005, Wakefield sued Channel 4, 20/20 Productions, and the investigative reporter Brian Deer, who presented the Dispatches programme. However, after two years of litigation, and the revelation of more than £400,000 in undisclosed payments by lawyers to Wakefield, he discontinued his action and paid all the defendants' costs.
Several lines of evidence point to synaptic dysfunction as a cause of autism.  Some rare mutations may lead to autism by disrupting some synaptic pathways, such as those involved with cell adhesion .  Gene replacement studies in mice suggest that autistic symptoms are closely related to later developmental steps that depend on activity in synapses and on activity-dependent changes.  All known teratogens (agents that cause birth defects ) related to the risk of autism appear to act during the first eight weeks from conception , and though this does not exclude the possibility that autism can be initiated or affected later, there is strong evidence that autism arises very early in development.