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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Society for Neuroscience 2010

November 2010
SFN 2010

Researchers make ‘normal’ neurons in a dish

by  /  16 November 2010

A new model system allows scientists to watch human neurons develop outside of the brain, researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

Video: Of mice and men

by  /  16 November 2010

If you give most mice a choice between sniffing a new playmate and a new object, most will choose the new playmate every time. But not BTBR or SHANK3 mutant mice, which spend less time engaging in social interactions with other mice. Does that mean these mice have autism?

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SFN 2010

Brain ‘transcriptome’ reveals gene networks for autism

by  /  16 November 2010

Scientists have pinpointed two major gene networks relevant to autism by analyzing gene expression in brain tissue from individuals with the disorder. Researchers presented the data Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

Decoding the exome points to new autism genes

by  /  16 November 2010

Sequencing the exomes — regions of the genome that code for proteins — of 18 individuals with autism has revealed new candidate genes for the disorder, researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

Rett gene needed to stabilize synaptic strength

by  /  16 November 2010

Blocking the expression of the MeCP2 gene decreases the number of synapses, the junctions between neurons. It also prevents synapses from scaling up their activity to make up for the loss, according to unpublished data shown yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

Prairie vole study finds new drug that boosts oxytocin

by  /  15 November 2010

A drug already in clinical trials as a tanning compound raises brain levels of oxytocin — a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in social bonding — researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Higher levels of oxytocin can help animals recognize their mates and turn to a friend for help, according to two posters presented at the meeting.

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SFN 2010

Common themes link etiology, treatment in autism

by  /  15 November 2010

Three themes — heterogeneity, phenotype, and trajectory — are beginning to emerge in diverse lines of inquiry into autism, according to speakers at a satellite symposium of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

Video: Secrets of the brain at rest

by  /  15 November 2010

Brain imaging experiments often require the participant to perform tasks while lying inside a brain scanner for up to an hour — not a pleasant experience for anyone, let alone a child with autism. Saturday afternoon at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, Steve Petersen described ‘resting state’ imaging, in which participants lie in the scanner for just five to ten minutes.

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SFN 2010

Mouse model of Timothy syndrome shows social deficits

by  /  15 November 2010

Mice bearing the genetic defect that causes Timothy syndrome show many autism-like behaviors, and may also have enhanced cognitive abilities like those seen in a small number of people with autism, suggests a poster presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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SFN 2010

New imaging method permits direct study of social interaction

by  /  15 November 2010

A new brain imaging technique may provide a powerful tool for understanding social interaction, and how it is disrupted in conditions such as autism, according to a poster presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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