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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

The Brain

Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.

Myelin loss may explain how autism-linked DNA deletion affects cognition

by  /  8 December 2021
Deleting a copy of the gene TBX1 depletes the fatty myelin insulation that surrounds neurons and reduces cognitive speed in mice.
Child with colorful tactile puzzle and clinician or therapist.

Autism without intellectual impairments more common than previously reported

by  /  1 December 2021
Almost 60 percent of autistic people may have an average or above-average intelligence quotient, according to a new longitudinal study.
Dr. Shafali Jeste portrait with a vibrant fuschia background.

Shafali Jeste: Early autism meets its match

by  /  30 November 2021
Shafali Jeste has spent the bulk of her scientific career searching for biological markers of autism. Her goal: to improve lives through early diagnosis and speedy testing of therapies.
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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Synaptic overgrowth, hyperconnectivity may define autism subtype

by  /  18 November 2021

Model mice of the subtype also show hyperactivity in a signaling pathway called mTOR, bolstering the idea that distinct forms of autism have different biological roots and may require different treatment approaches.

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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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Including immune cells in brain organoids improves model’s accuracy

by  /  15 November 2021

Cortical organoids that contain non-neuronal brain cells called microglia may reflect human neurodevelopment more faithfully than those that don’t.

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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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Fragile X theory falters on amygdala test

by  /  10 November 2021

Activating certain receptors in the amygdala — a treatment that runs counter to a leading theory of what causes the condition — can reverse some traits in rats.

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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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Dr. Audrey Brumback in her lab with her hair and lab coat flying out behind her.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Audrey Brumback

by  /  3 November 2021

Audrey Brumback riffs about volunteering in Mexico, having a lab next door to her husband’s and why she sometimes cries at work.

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