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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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August 2011
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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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Implant can target treatments to neurons

by  /  20 July 2011

An ingenious new technique may allow small brain implants to release chemicals when and where they are needed, according to a study published 2 June in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

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Computer algorithm boosts power of sequencing studies

by  /  13 July 2011

A new computer algorithm has identified the gene responsible for a newly discovered human disease, researchers report this week in The American Journal of Human Genetics. Unlike traditional methods, the algorithm takes into account both the odds of a particular genetic variant being associated with the disorder and the variant’s effect on protein function.

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Magnet reveals differences in Asperger syndrome brains

by  /  6 July 2011

A powerful magnet that alters brain activity has shown that a brain region responsible for language may function differently in adults with Asperger syndrome than in controls, according to a study published in the July issue of the European Journal of Neuroscience.

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June 2011
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Researchers make neurons directly from skin cells

by  /  29 June 2011

Human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons, bypassing a reprogramming step that is part of the typical procedure, according to a study published 26 May in Nature.

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Interactive virtual reality system teaches social skills

by  /  22 June 2011

A virtual reality system equipped with an eye-tracking device helps teenagers with autism learn to engage with others, according to a study published 23 May.

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Database reveals lineage of laboratory mouse strains

by  /  15 June 2011

A new online database that compiles genomic sequence information for 162 mouse strains shows that classical laboratory strains have limited genetic diversity, according to a report published 29 May in Nature Genetics.

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Video monitoring could identify autism behaviors

by  /  8 June 2011

Video surveillance combined with computer algorithms could provide an objective method to monitor the success of autism interventions, according to a study published 3 May in the Journal of Medical Systems.

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