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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: mouse models

November 2021
Stylized illustration combines flat color and 3D forms make up a mitochondria with human heads inside it.

Meet the ‘mitomaniacs’ who say mitochondria matter in autism

by  /  22 November 2021

Clues that problems with mitochondria contribute to autism have been accumulating for decades. In the past five years, a mutant mouse and a flurry of findings have energized the field.

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Illustration shows a cartoon-like simple figure made out of a switchboard, with colorful cables converging on an area deep in the brain.

Brain’s sensory switchboard has complex connections to autism

by  /  15 November 2021

An atypical thalamus may underlie not only sensory issues in autism but also difficulties with social skills, attention and memory.

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New studies reveal how autism might alter synapse formation, pruning

by  /  12 November 2021

The work fills in gaps about how synapses change before and after birth — essential knowledge for understanding whether synapse development differs in autism.

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Dispatches from SfN 2021: Mitochondria, Rett therapy and oxytocin

These short reports from Spectrum journalists highlight some of the autism-related findings that caught our attention at the meeting this past week.

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Auto-antibodies shape brain development in myriad ways

by  /  8 November 2021

Animal models of autism rooted in exposure to maternal antibodies hint at different mechanisms.

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Mouse neurons in red and pink on black.

Mouse model reveals root of breathing issues in rare form of autism

by  /  5 November 2021

Dysfunctional circuits and a rogue sodium channel in the brainstem may explain the disordered breathing pattern seen in children with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, a form of autism.

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Photo: A scientist wearing a green shirt and white gloves holds two black laboratory mice. The viewer is looking over the scientist's shoulder at their cupped hands holding the mice.

Sex bias emerges in new mouse model with autism-linked mutation

by  /  3 November 2021

Compared with a previous mouse strain, a new model better reflects some of the difficulties that people with a rare autism-related syndrome experience, and may help identify biomarkers of the syndrome.

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October 2021

Serotonin shapes social memory signals

by  /  26 October 2021

Social memory, which may be altered in autism, depends on serotonin-sensitive neurons that send signals from the medial septum to the hippocampus.

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Autism-linked gene SYNGAP1 molds synaptic plasticity, learning

by  /  21 October 2021

Even partial loss of the gene impairs the mouse brain’s ability to respond to sensory experiences, which may explain why people with SYNGAP1 mutations tend to have learning difficulties and a high pain tolerance.

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Illustration: microbes clumped together forming the shape of a brain. The microbes are pink, blue, aqua, and red. Set against a dark blue background.

Despite flurry of findings, doubts dog gut microbes’ role in autism

by  /  19 October 2021

The possibility of microbial treatments for autism has inspired a burst of research and nascent clinical trials, but new research suggests these efforts rest on shaky scientific ground.

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