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The Brain

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

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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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Brain activity patterns may distinguish girls with autism

by  /  2 June 2021
Atypical patterns of neuronal activity and gene expression in the striatum may characterize autism in girls, according to a new study.
News / Toolbox

Mini probe records neuronal activity in mouse brain over months

by  /  1 June 2021
A new miniature iteration of a popular probe enables researchers to record activity at thousands of sites across the mouse brain and track the activity of individual neurons over months — providing long-term recording at an unprecedented scale.
May 2021
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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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Researcher in red plaid shirt and blue nitrile gloves holds a lab mouse fitted with a fiber optic cannula, a needle-shaped glass piece that goes into the mouse's brain surrounded by a metal sleeve to which researchers attach a fiber optic patch cord.
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How artificial intelligence is shaking up animal behavior studies in autism

by  /  24 May 2021

Next-generation machine-learning tools are poised to upend how scientists study behavior in animal models of autism — and not everyone is happy about it.

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Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Sébastien Jacquemont and Clara Moreau: Why brain imaging signatures for autism are so elusive

by  /  20 May 2021

The field of neuroimaging will need to combine two strategies before it can find patterns of brain activity or structure unique to autism, the researchers say.

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brains of different sizes in colorful, radiant space with echoing shapes
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Brain structures grow differently in boys, men with autism

by  /  19 May 2021

Autistic boys and men show notable differences in brain development, according to magnetic resonance imaging scans taken over a 16-year period.

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Microglia activity seen in red, green and blue.
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Autism mutation may cause big brain via ‘don’t eat me’ signals

by  /  17 May 2021

An autism-linked mutation could make the brain grow unusually large by prompting cells to express a chemical signal better known for its connection to cancer.

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Visual stimulus of 4 circles with black and white stripes.
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Visual task flags autistic people who respond to GABA agonists

by  /  14 May 2021

The investigational drug arbaclofen makes autistic people’s brains respond to a visual task more like non-autistic people’s brains do.

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Neurons in green
News / Toolbox

New unified toolbox traces, analyzes neurons

by  /  13 May 2021

‘SNT’ helps researchers sift through microscope images to reconstruct and analyze neurons and their connections.

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Neurons in red and green
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‘Neurons on a chip’ reveal patterns across autism-linked conditions

by  /  7 May 2021

Activity patterns of neuronal networks link different genetic subtypes of autism that have similar traits, according to new unpublished research.

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Fetal brain scans may forecast autism traits in toddlers

by  /  7 May 2021

Children with highly folded and curved brains in utero tend to show autism-linked behaviors at 18 months of age, according to a longitudinal brain-imaging study.

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Brown rat mother and pup in rustic setting with burlap and wheat.
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Maternal antibodies tied to autism bind to budding rat neurons

by  /  6 May 2021

Certain antibodies may shape neurodevelopment by attaching to and invading new neurons in the brain.

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