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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Spotted around the web: CNTNAP2 gene; post-synaptic densities; animal models

by , ,  /  7 April 2023

April 3rd

Research roundup

  • An Arabic version of the Motor Behavior Checklist has been validated for use in school settings. Research in Developmental Disabilities
  • Neurons lacking CNTNAP2 have fewer neurites than controls do, leading to alterations in excitatory circuits. Biological Psychiatry
  • The U.K.-based Spectrum 10K genetics study launched a three-month consultation at the beginning of March, seeking input from autistic people. Feedback from the autistic self-advocate community led to the study being put on hold in 2021, Spectrum previously reported. Spectrum 10K
  • Post-synaptic densities have lowered actin levels in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Neuron
  • Myelin maturation and decreasing amplitude of cortical intrinsic activity characterize brain development in adolescents, as measured by functional MRI. Nature Neuroscience
  • NeuronChat is a computational tool that combines spatially resolved transcriptome measures with a database of molecular interactions between neurotransmitters and their targets to characterize neuronal pathways. Nature Communications
  • A protein delivery system, derived from a bacterial tool, can be engineered to target human cells. Nature
  • Autistic adults have more difficulty comprehending metaphors than do non-autistic adults, according to a small study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Diagnostic instruments for autism are not intended to provide a final answer but to contribute information that may guide clinical care. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

    Two images of neurons. The neuron image on the left is green, and the neuron image on the right is pink.

    Neuronal branching: Human-derived neurons that lack the CNTNAP2 gene (right) display less complexity than control neurons (left).

  • Six months of treatment with bumetanide, a diuretic that may shift the balance of GABA-ergic activity, improves children’s scores on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, according to a clinical trial. CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets
  • Animal studies in a wide variety of species have helped reveal the neural systems that underlie autism and their environmental and genetic influences, according to a review. The American Journal of Psychiatry

Science and society

  • The Lundbeck Foundation has awarded its prestigious Brain Prize to three researchers who study synaptic plasticity: Christine Holt of the University of Cambridge, Michael Greenberg of Harvard Medical School and Erin Schuman of the Max Planck Institute. The Scientist
  • In advice to up-and-coming autistic students, autistic researchers note that the apprenticeship model of academic training, which is based on observation and modeling, may put them at a disadvantage. Autism
  • More than 100 Chinese-born faculty researchers at U.S.-based institutions have lost their jobs since 2018, after the National Institutes of Health said they were inappropriately using their federal funding to collaborate with China-based researchers. Science
  • Many animal experiments of the past would not pass current ethics committees, which raises questions about how to cite them. The Scientist

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TAGS:   autism