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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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August 2014
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Deep-brain neurons’ glow reveals elements of social circuits

by  /  13 August 2014

Light-transmitting cables implanted deep in mouse brains reveal connections between brain regions that control social interactions, according to a study published 19 June in Cell.

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Language tool aims to measure children’s conversation skills

by  /  6 August 2014

A test designed to characterize natural, spontaneous language use in autism shows solid promise in its first trials in typically developing children.

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July 2014
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Induced stem cells retain traces of their former state

by  /  30 July 2014

Reprogrammed stem cells carry remnants of their previous cell states in the form of chemical cues that alter gene expression, reports a paper published 10 July in Nature. An alternative method that creates so-called nuclear transfer embryonic stem cells produces fewer errors.

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Severity metric helps studies address autism’s variability

by  /  23 July 2014

A new method for measuring severity in disorders such as autism can help researchers correct for the widely varying autism symptoms in the study participants, according to a paper published 2 May in NeuroImage.

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Computer vision may aid in screening for autism

by  /  16 July 2014

New algorithms can analyze recordings of infants performing tasks that gauge their attention, suggesting a way to automate the detection of autism symptoms.

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Pair of modified enzymes boost gene-editing precision

by  /  9 July 2014

A pair of enzymes improve the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR by providing more precise molecular ‘scissors’ to cut and paste DNA snippets.
 

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Suite of methods yields complex model of neuronal junctions

by  /  2 July 2014

Researchers debuted a three-dimensional model of an average synapse, the point of connection between neurons, in the 30 May issue of Science.

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June 2014
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Delivered in vapor, oxytocin slips past brain’s barrier

by  /  25 June 2014

A fine, inhaled mist may be the most effective way to deliver oxytocin — a hormone involved in social bonding — to the brain, reports a study on monkeys published 3 March in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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Sophisticated camera captures all firing neurons

by  /  18 June 2014

A new imaging technique can capture the activity of every neuron in a zebrafish larva or a roundworm. Researchers described the method, which is at least ten times faster than others, in Nature Methods.

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Light corrections illuminate a path into fish brains

by  /  11 June 2014

Taking a page from astronomy’s playbook, researchers have developed a way to take dramatically clear pictures of the inner workings of a zebrafish brain.

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