The Brain

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


Misfiring visual cells may underlie key sensory problem in fragile X

by  /  17 October 2018
The motion perception difficulties seen in people with fragile X syndrome, a leading cause of autism, may stem from a faulty visual circuit.
Opinion / Viewpoint
Illustration of human brain in brackets suggesting circuit alterations that is associated with certain genetic mutations.

Brain scans of sleeping mice hint at subtypes of autism

by  /  9 October 2018
Mapping the effects of autism mutations on mouse brain circuits may reveal subtypes of the condition in people.
News / Toolbox
Neurons in lab grown brain glow green, red and blue.

New techniques extend tool kit for constructing ‘mini-brains’

by  /  5 October 2018
Two new methods for building 'mini-brains' may help researchers study how early brain development differs in people with autism.
October 2018
Black and white portrait of Christine Nordhal smiling.
Multimedia / Webinars

Webinar: Christine Wu Nordahl reveals new autism brain-imaging strategies

30 January 2019

Register for the next Spectrum webinar, featuring Christine Wu Nordahl, who will discuss new ways to expand participation in autism brain-imaging studies.

Illustration shows two people communicating, word bubble above head show that one person is getting less information.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Separate thinking skills underlie autism, attention deficit

by  /  2 October 2018

Theory of mind difficulties are likely to be more central to autism than to attention deficit hyperactive disorder, whereas executive function problems are more often associated with the latter.

September 2018
Mouse brain photograph shows the area of drug delivery highlighted in red.
News / Toolbox

Brain implant mutes seizure-like activity in mice

by  /  28 September 2018

A new brain implant pumps chemical signals directly into a target region to ease seizure-like activity in mice.

Abnormalities in proteins at synapses are implicated in autism.

Billions of neuronal junctions make up new ‘synaptome’ map

by  /  20 September 2018

Researchers have charted billions of synapses in the mouse brain and sorted them by type.

1 Comment
Features / Deep Dive

Rebooting Becky’s brain

by  /  12 September 2018

An electrical brain implant all but erased the obsessions that had consumed Becky Audette, years after her autism diagnosis. Could similar implants help other people with severe autism?


Autism’s sex bias may originate in brain’s immune cells

by  /  5 September 2018

The brain’s immune cells, called microglia, function differently in male and female rodents. In people, a similar phenomenon may make male brains more vulnerable to autism.

Artwork shows a flock of birds flying inside the head of a boy.
Opinion / Viewpoint

How a ‘pacemaker’ for the brain could ease autism traits

by  /  4 September 2018

Looking at the brain as a whole suggests that nudging flawed sets of neurons to collaborate better might alleviate autism traits.


Charting one cell at a time, scientists reveal brain’s vast diversity

by  /  3 September 2018

How many cell types does the brain contain? Two new mouse studies bring scientists closer to the answer.

August 2018
Neurons glow green in a mouse brain.
News / Toolbox

New tool triggers gene expression in select neurons in rodents

by  /  31 August 2018

Injecting a virus toting snippets of RNA into the rodent brain enables researchers to express genes in specific neuron types.

Two scientists standing in a lab.
News / Profiles

Family ties: Sabatini brothers crack codes that may underlie autism

by  /  30 August 2018

David and Bernardo Sabatini, brothers born just a year and a half year apart, invent their way to answering big questions about autism.