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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: neurotransmitters

January 2023
Lab images of cilia.

Autism and the cell’s antennae

by  /  4 January 2023

Many autism-linked genes are somehow tied to cilia, the tiny hair-like sensors that stud a cell’s surface. But the question remains whether, and how, cilia differences contribute to the condition.

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December 2022
lllustration of the junction between two nerve cells.

Multi-omics study captures CNTNAP2’s far-ranging effects

by  /  8 December 2022

The in-depth approach shows mutations in the autism-linked gene disrupt neuronal growth and communication, as well as mitochondrial gene expression.

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May 2022
An illustration of a colorful, psychedelic landscape featuring two people standing on a hill speaking to one another

Tripping over the potential of psychedelics for autism

by  /  31 May 2022

Drugs such as LSD act primarily on the serotonin system, which is implicated in autism — and some autistic people who experiment with psychoactive compounds report enhanced social connections, among other benefits. But researchers have more questions than answers.

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September 2021
researcher holds zebrafinch

Fish, frogs, flies and other fauna in scientific firsts

by  /  8 September 2021

Over the past century, scientists have used a variety of animal models to advance their understanding of the developing brain and autism.

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A lighthearted, colorful, chaotic lab scene with fruit flies, worms peeking out of petri dishes, zebrafish in beakers and an octopus creeping out of a cabinet..

Special report: Unusual animal models of autism

by  /  8 September 2021

In the past two decades, some autism researchers have turned to simple animals, such as roundworms, fruit flies and zebrafish, for their investigations. Others have sought answers from experiments with frogs, birds and even octopuses.

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Colorful illustration shows a esearcher with frogs and frog eggs.

Autism research makes the leap to frogs

by  /  8 September 2021

Frogs are useful for autism research for a slew of reasons, including the fact that the animals’ initial development occurs outside of the mother’s body in plain view.

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August 2021

Drugs boost serotonin, socialization in multiple autism mouse models

by  /  6 August 2021

The finding that MDMA and an experimental serotonin agonist increase sociability across six different model mice suggests that disparate autism-linked mutations converge on the same underlying pathways.

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June 2021
Mouse neuron recordings showing different levels of activity before and after an encounter with an unfamiliar mouse.

Neural network captures noisy neurons in autism mouse model

by  /  18 June 2021

Mice missing the autism-linked gene SHANK3 use more neurons to engage in social behavior than control mice do, reflecting a more disorganized, less efficient brain signaling network.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

by  /  4 June 2021

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

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May 2021

Stimulant restores cell signaling, eases behavior issues in animals missing autism gene

by  /  28 May 2021

Worms and zebrafish missing both copies of the gene CHD7 have disrupted cellular signaling, a dearth of inhibitory neurons and behavior changes — all of which are reversed by the stimulant drug ephedrine.

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