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Neuron ‘skeleton’ may explain impact of autism-linked gene mutation

by  /  16 April 2021

Mutations in CUL3, a gene strongly linked to autism, may cause differences in brain structure by disrupting cytoskeleton proteins, according to a new study.

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A group of six images of fruit fly brains show networks in green and pink.

Poor sleep could be core feature of autism, related conditions

by  /  15 April 2021
Fruit flies with low expression of a gene linked to neurodevelopment have disrupted sleep, poor memory and altered social behavior.
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Baby in utero surrounded by pills, on bright blue background

The link between vitamins, supplements and autism, explained

by  /  14 April 2021
Too little — or too much — of certain substances during pregnancy may increase the odds of having a child with autism. Here we explain what scientists know about these associations.
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Micrograph comparing locus coeruleus of 16p11.2 mutant mice and control mice show less active noradrenergic neurons in mutant mice.

Circuit flaw underlies motor learning issues in autism mouse model

by  /  12 April 2021
Mice missing a copy of chromosomal region 16p11.2 are slow to learn motor tasks and have dysfunction in a brain circuit associated with stress and movement, according to a new study. Normalizing this circuit's activity corrects the learning deficit.

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Community Newsletter: Female protective effect, genetic risk factors, identity-first rejection

by  /  11 April 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we discuss the Twitter buzz about two preprints looking at how common genetic variants, rare variants and sex interact to affect autism odds, and a viral tweet from a scientist who says her paper was rejected because it uses ‘identity-first’ language.

Ultrasound of a human fetus.
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Slow head growth in utero may augur developmental difficulties

by  /  9 April 2021

The pace of fetal head growth is associated with behavioral outcomes two years later, according to a new study.

Young girl in kindergarten classroom, concentrating.
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Age 6 may represent key turning point in autism

by  /  7 April 2021

Many autistic children show continuous improvement in trait severity until they are school-age, at which point progress often levels off.

Person itching back of neck.
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Sensory issues linked to heart-rate differences in autistic youth

by  /  5 April 2021

Autistic children with sensory issues show more intense physiological reactions to unpleasant sounds and other sensations than their non-autistic peers do, a new study shows.

Speech bubble formed by a network of communication
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Community Newsletter: NICE errors, CUL3 and autism, equitable academic evaluations

by  /  4 April 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we dive into talk around the United Kingdom’s NICE AQ10 guidelines, CUL3 mutations and taking a holistic approach to academic applications.

Twin sisters spending their time using laptop and smart phone at home
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Genes drive autistic people’s reactivity to environmental cues

by  /  2 April 2021

Genes influence how autistic people react to sights, sounds and other sensory cues, whereas environmental factors shape their tendency to notice and seek out such stimuli, a new study in twins suggests.

Boy in classroom looks frustrated as other kids interact and move around him.
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Communication struggles may explain aggression in some autistic boys

by  /  29 March 2021

Poor communication skills predict aggression in autistic boys, according to a new study. In autistic girls, communication and aggression may not be related.

diverse classroom of middle school students during a lesson.
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Massive U.K. study finds racial and ethnic disparities in autism diagnoses

by ,  /  29 March 2021

About 1.8 percent of schoolchildren in England are autistic, and the prevalence is highest among Black children, at about 2.1 percent.

mouths forming a conversation
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Community Newsletter: COVID-19 and early-career researchers, Black in Neuro, talking ‘brain genes’

by  /  28 March 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we highlight social chatter about the pandemic’s effect on early-career researchers, Black In Neuro, one year on and the controversy over ‘autism genes.’

Scanning elecgron micrograph of Faecal bacteria.
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Gut microbes shape social behavior in autism mouse model

by  /  26 March 2021

Treating mice missing the autism-linked gene CNTNAP2 with a strain of gut bacteria makes them more social but no less hyperactive.

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