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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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March 2011
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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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January 2011
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Scientists debut fruit fly ‘connectome’

by  /  19 January 2011

Using tricks of genetic engineering, researchers in Taiwan have created the first comprehensive map of the myriad neuronal connections in the fruit fly brain. The findings appeared 11 January in Current Biology.

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November 2010
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Mapping the mind

by  /  26 November 2010

Chinese researchers have developed a new imaging system, called micro-optical sectioning tomography or MOST, to generate a three-dimensional image of neurons in a whole mouse brain.

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Pattern recognition

by  /  17 November 2010

MIT researchers are testing a new device that analyzes rocking and other repetitive movements in people with autism.

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