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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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April 2011
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Researchers make neurons from people with schizophrenia

by  /  20 April 2011

Researchers have taken skin cells from individuals with schizophrenia, bathed them in chemical cocktails and coaxed them to develop into neurons, according to a paper published 13 April in Nature.

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Cell’s own machinery can deliver therapies to the brain

by  /  13 April 2011

Exosomes, the brain’s system for delivering and recycling molecules, can be manipulated to carry therapeutic fragments of RNA or DNA across the blood-brain barrier and into neurons. The ingenious new technique was published 20 March in Nature Biotechnology.

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March 2011
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Researchers trace wiring in the brain

by  /  30 March 2011

Researchers have mapped the architecture of a brain circuit active during vision in the cerebral cortex — a region involved in memory and planning — they reported 10 March in Nature.

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Scientists zap anxiety circuit in mice

by  /  23 March 2011

By shining a beam of light on a single brain circuit, researchers can compel mice to overcome their natural fears and boldly explore a new space, according to a study published 9 March in Nature.

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Postmortem brains hold sequencing potential

by  /  16 March 2011

Researchers have extracted and sequenced DNA from 52 postmortem brains from the Autism Tissue Program, providing a resource to study mutations and gene expression differences in the brains of people with the disorder.

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New technique creates map of synapses

by  /  9 March 2011

A new technique can pinpoint the precise location of individual proteins at a synapse — the junction between neurons — at high resolution in brain tissue, according to a study published 9 December in Neuron.

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Researchers catalog crucial complex in neurons

by  /  2 March 2011

Researchers have identified nearly 1,500 proteins present in the postsynaptic density — a complex collection of proteins that enables quick and flexible signaling across the brain. The results were published 14 January in Nature Neuroscience.

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February 2011
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Database organizes multiple mouse models

by  /  23 February 2011

A genetic database of autism genes, called Autism Database, or AutDB, details curated information for more than 200 mouse models of autism, according to a report in the January BMC Genomics.

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Window into brain reveals real-time growth of neurons

by  /  15 February 2011

A new technique allows researchers to watch the long-term effects of disease on the brain, according to a study published in the February Nature Medicine. The approach could help scientists study changes in the brain that result from neurological disorders such as autism.

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Fly ‘brainbows’ light up neuronal connections

by  /  9 February 2011

Four years after scientists devised a way to paint individual mouse neurons in different colors, two independent groups have adapted the technique for use in the fruit fly. Both papers, replete with stunning images of fly neurons, appeared 6 February in Nature Methods.

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