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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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September 2011
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Three-dimensional re-creation reveals dendrite shapes

by  /  28 September 2011

Researchers have created detailed three-dimensional reconstructions of the numerous complex branches of dendrites, the signal-receiving ends of neurons.

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Questionnaire distinguishes autism, developmental disability

by  /  21 September 2011

Researchers have optimized an early social screening questionnaire to distinguish autism from other developmental disabilities in preschool-aged children.

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Reference set for Prader-Willi, Angelman syndromes debuts

by  /  14 September 2011

Researchers have developed standard genetic reference samples that clinicians can use to diagnose Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes, two disorders associated with the same chromosomal region.

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Functional imaging studies may be marred by head motion

by  /  7 September 2011

Even small head movements inside a brain scanner can affect results, according to a report published 23 July in Neuroimage.

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August 2011
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Questionnaire rates social skills during play

by  /  31 August 2011

Researchers can use the Manchester Inventory for Playground Observation, a questionnaire that rates children’s interactions with their peers, to reliably measure social skills in children with autism.

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New genetic map of developmental disability

by  /  24 August 2011

By comparing the DNA of thousands of children who have developmental disabilities to that of controls, researchers have identified numerous mutations likely to contribute to disease.

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Scientists aim to create scores of diverse mouse strains

by  /  17 August 2011

Researchers are creating a population of inbred lab mice with the potential to produce thousands of genetically diverse strains. Experiments using the first of these mice are published in the August issue of Genomic Research.

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Modified stem cells make glowing neurons

by  /  10 August 2011

A new technique allows researchers to make stable modifications to neurons by incorporating modified amino acids into the proteins of stem cells. The method permits researchers to investigate neuronal function in live, intact cells.

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Virtual reality helps track body balance in autism

by  /  3 August 2011

With a few screen projectors, a pair of three-dimensional glasses and an 8-foot cubicle, researchers have transported adolescents with autism into shaky virtual worlds and discovered that they have surprisingly stable posture.

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July 2011
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Microscopy reveals central control of neuronal signals

by  /  27 July 2011

An elegant microscopy technique reveals that neurons can regulate how quickly they recycle chemical messengers, according to a study published in July in Nature Neuroscience. This process is believed to be the limiting step in the speed of signaling across neuronal junctions.

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