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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

February 2022

Immune gene tied to social behavior in autism mouse model

by  /  3 February 2022

Activating the immune system blunts social behavior in mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene SHANK3, according to a new study. Blocking TRPV4, which encodes an ion channel involved in inflammatory responses, can reverse this effect.

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Three autism-linked genes converge on tweaks to cells’ timing

by  /  2 February 2022

Mutations in all three accelerate the maturation of inhibitory neurons, which could upset the brain’s balance of excitation and inhibition early in development.

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Enrichment lessens Angelman-like traits in male mice

by  /  2 February 2022

Model animals don’t develop the usual behavioral and motor problems when reared in an enclosure containing exercise wheels, toys and treats.

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January 2022
Illustration shows a road going into the distance, seen from the driver's point of view.

Spectrum Launch: Writing grants, celebrating milestones and interviewing for grad school

by  /  31 January 2022

A researcher and science officer give tips for getting started with grant writing; scientists on Twitter explain why they went tenure-track; and a neurobiologist discusses why the field’s next generation needs to learn to code.

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Micrograph showing distinct RNA species found in CA1 hippocampal neuronal cell bodies (yellow) and dendrites (red) undergoing compartmentalized RNA regulation.

Location prompts fragile X protein to flip its function

by  /  31 January 2022

The protein, FMRP, shapes cell signaling near synapses but switches to regulate genes in the cell body, according to new research.

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Many mouths making conversation, with speech bubbles in red and blue.

Community Newsletter: Race reporting, benchmarking, chandelier cells

by  /  30 January 2022

This week’s Community Newsletter takes up tweets about how often autism intervention research fails to report participants’ race and ethnicity, benchmarks for effect sizes and mapping chandelier cells in the mouse visual cortex.

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Overhead view of crowd of people walking in Copenhagen city square.

Population study downgrades some copy number variants’ impact on autism

by  /  28 January 2022

Some copy number variants may boost a person’s chances of having autism, but to a lesser extent than previously thought.

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grid of 12 views of mouse neurons.

Loss of autism-linked gene alters synapse development in mice

by  /  25 January 2022

Mice missing a copy of the gene ASH1L have excess synapses and autism-like behavioral differences, some of which are reversed by boosting an ASH1L-regulated gene.

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Growth factor analogue shows promise for Rett syndrome in late-stage trial

by  /  25 January 2022

Girls and young women with Rett syndrome have less severe anxiety and breathing problems after treatment with trofinetide, an analogue of insulin-like growth factor 1, according to an unpublished placebo-controlled trial.

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Researchers retract study of an immune effect on synapse development

by  /  24 January 2022

A failed replication and other problems led autism researcher Beth Stevens and her co-investigator to retract the nearly 10-year-old report.

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