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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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November 2012
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Virtual brain suggests neural connections form randomly

by  /  7 November 2012

Researchers are assembling a virtual reconstruction of the brain by piecing together simulations of thousands of neurons, they reported 16 October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used this model to show that most junctions between neurons form randomly and not as the result of chemical signals.

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October 2012
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Stem cells reveal genes that have parental bias

by  /  31 October 2012

Researchers have used stem cells to identify 801 neuronal genes that are preferentially expressed from either the maternal or paternal chromosome, according to a study published 30 August in PLoS One. Of these genes, 26 are linked to autism and 48 to schizophrenia. 

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Technique follows calcium trail to track changes in signaling

by  /  24 October 2012

Researchers have genetically engineered neurons to fluoresce in response to the calcium signals emitted when they fire, according to a study published 18 October in Neuron.

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New technique takes sharp look at whole mouse brains

by  /  17 October 2012

A new microscopy technique allows researchers to take high-resolution three-dimensional images of intact mouse brains.

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‘Spiny mice’ model risk of autism from maternal infection

by  /  10 October 2012

The so-called ‘spiny mouse’ species has a gestational period twice as long as that of typical laboratory mice. This makes them good models for studying the link between prenatal exposure and autism risk, according to a study published 29 August in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

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Short screening tool flags children with autism

by  /  3 October 2012

A subset of questions on two behavioral screens can distinguish children with autism from those with other developmental disorders, according to a study published 23 August in Autism.

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September 2012
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Human stem cells generate miniature brain regions

by  /  25 September 2012

Researchers have induced stem cells to form three-dimensional clumps of neurons that resemble miniature brains, according to a study published 31 July in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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‘Maturation index’ predicts neurons’ developmental age

by  /  19 September 2012

Researchers have developed an index that can predict the age of developing interneurons, which inhibit signals in the brain, according to a study published 24 August in PLoS One. They then used this measurement to show that interneurons are immature in autism brains.

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Video technology reveals autism gait is symmetrical

by  /  12 September 2012

Researchers have used a motion-capture system to show that children with autism do not rely on one side of the body more than the other when walking. Their findings were published in the 2012 issue of Autism Research Treatment.

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Device helps record neuronal activity in moving rats

by  /  5 September 2012

A new device allows researchers to identify the precise source of an emitted brain signal measured in freely moving rats, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

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