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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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December 2013

Sharp microscope captures growing embryos, changing brains

by  /  11 December 2013

Researchers have developed a new way to perform high-resolution microscopy in a moving, changing organism, they reported in November in Nature Biotechnology. They used the method to follow the development of a live embryo and its brain.


Child-sized brain imaging device improves data collection

by  /  4 December 2013

A small, customized magnetoencephalography device records signals in children’s brains better than the typical adult-sized machine does, reports a study published 8 October in Molecular Autism.

November 2013

Neurons made directly from skin cells model autism mutations

by  /  27 November 2013

Skin cells taken from mice with an autism-linked mutation and transformed directly into neurons have the same properties as neurons from the brains of these mice. The study, published 8 October in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, validates an efficient technique to study disease-linked mutations.


Miniature cable reads a mouse’s sense of reward

by  /  20 November 2013

A tiny fiber-optic probe inserted into the reward center of the mouse brain monitors how the mouse feels about meeting a peer — or a golf ball. The unpublished technique was presented last week at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.


Neurons made from teeth may aid autism research

by  /  13 November 2013

Cells extracted from baby teeth, which fall out on their own, may be better suited than skin cells for making induced neurons to use in autism research, suggests a study published 3 October in PLoS One.


Medical record mining helps clarify complex diseases

by  /  6 November 2013

Researchers have mined the medical records of more than 100 million people and found close to 3,000 associations between single-gene diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, and complex genetic disorders such as autism. The results were published 26 September in Cell.

October 2013

Spinning system turns stem cells into mini-brains

by  /  30 October 2013

Researchers have coaxed human stem cells to develop into simplified mini-brains, with regions resembling discrete brain structures, they reported 19 September in Nature.


New sequencing technique may reveal recessive mutations

by  /  23 October 2013

A new method of genetic analysis allows researchers to identify regions that are identical on both copies of a chromosome, according to a study published 20 September in Molecular Cytogenetics.


Automated tool spies on multiple mice simultaneously

by  /  16 October 2013

Researchers have developed software that can automatically track and catalog the behavior of up to four mice at once, according to a study published 16 September in PLoS One.


Researchers grow large batches of neurons for drug screening

by  /  9 October 2013

Researchers have optimized the production from stem cells of large numbers of a subtype of neurons involved in cognitive function. The technique, published 20 August in Translational Psychiatry, could generate enough neurons for large-scale screening of drugs.


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