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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

Previous articles
July 2014

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

June 2014

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.


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.


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.


Modified protein switches neurons off in response to light

by  /  4 June 2014

A much-celebrated technique called optogenetics causes neurons to fire in response to flashes of light. Researchers have now figured out how to use the method to switch neurons off, reports a study published 25 April in Science.

May 2014

Chemical cocktail renders mouse, monkey brains transparent

by  /  28 May 2014

A new method for turning brains transparent and scanning them will make it easier to map neuronal circuits, according to a paper published 24 April in Cell.


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