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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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March 2013
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Atlas maps ‘junk’ DNA that may regulate brain development

by  /  6 March 2013

Researchers have cataloged thousands of DNA regions that may act as enhancers — regulating gene expression from afar — in the developing mouse and human brains, according to a study published 14 February in Cell.

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February 2013
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Scientists follow brain activity as fish find their dinner

by  /  27 February 2013

Using a sensitive new imaging molecule, researchers can watch neurons in the larval zebrafish brain spring into action when the fish sees a potential meal, according to a study published 29 January in Current Biology.

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Researchers remove placenta from pregnant mice

by  /  20 February 2013

Researchers have developed a technique that allows them to remove a functioning placenta from a pregnant mouse late in gestation, they reported 8 January in Nature Protocols.

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Researchers carve out map of rodent brain

by  /  13 February 2013

Researchers have divided the rat brain into 26 structures that are present from birth to adulthood and that can be seen using brain imaging, according to a study published 15 February in Neuroimage.

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Robots could fill in for autism therapists

by  /  6 February 2013

Robots may be able to help treat children with autism when qualified therapists aren’t available, according to a study published 3 December in IEEE Translational Neural Systems Rehabilitation Engingeering.

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January 2013
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Imaging database catalogs brain connectivity

by  /  30 January 2013

Researchers can share and compare brain-imaging data on the UCLA Multimodal Connectivity Database, described in the 28 November Frontiers in Neuroinformatics. The resource builds connectivity matrices, which estimate the strength of connections between regions of the brain.

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Mouse stem cells enable study of Rett syndrome

by  /  23 January 2013

Researchers have made neurons from the skin cells of mice that model Rett syndrome, according to a study published in the December issue Molecular Psychiatry.

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Fluorescent fish help track mitochondrial motion

by  /  16 January 2013

Fish engineered to express fluorescent proteins allow researchers to follow the paths of migrating mitochondria, the cell’s energy producers, according to a study published 14 November in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Newer mutations more likely to lead to disorders

by  /  9 January 2013

Of the thousands of DNA variants linked to autism, those that evolved later are the most likely to be harmful, according to a study published 28 November in Nature.

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Conversation with avatar teaches social skills

by  /  2 January 2013

In a virtual reality game intended to improve social skills in teenagers with autism, the players must ask computer avatars the right questions while seeming engaged in the conversation. The game was described 27 September in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.

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