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The Brain

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

November 2008
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Size of infant’s amygdala predicts language ability

by  /  21 November 2008

A child’s language ability correlates with the volume of his or her amygdala ― the small, deep brain region that is strongly associated with emotion processing ― according to an unpublished five-year longitudinal study presented Wednesday afternoon at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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Beyond mirror neurons

by  /  20 November 2008

High-functioning children with autism may understand another personʼs intention when, for example, that person reaches for a glass of water ― a simple, goal-directed task ― without help from the mirror neuron system, according to research reported Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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Finding the right (synaptic) partners

by  /  19 November 2008

Researchers are narrowing in on a pool of genes that may be involved in helping neurons find their targets, according to unpublished work presented today in a poster session at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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A drug that lasts for days

by  /  19 November 2008

A new slow-release form of the drug risperidone ― an antipsychotic given to people with schizophrenia, autism and other psychiatric conditions ― lasts in the blood days instead of hours, according to research presented today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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Pathways to plasticity

by  /  18 November 2008

The molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity ― the ability of neurons to change the strength of their connections ― can vary across different inhibitory neural circuits as much as they can vary across excitatory neural circuits, according to research presented this morning at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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Lithium’s effect on fragile X mice

by  /  18 November 2008

Lithium treatment reverses some of the behavioral and brain-cell abnormalities in mouse models of fragile X syndrome ― an inherited form of mental retardation that includes learning deficits, aggressiveness, and social withdrawal ― according to research presented today at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

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Creating stem cells to study autism

by  /  18 November 2008

A team of scientists is reprogramming adult stem cells generated from tiny skin samples of people with autism to form nerve cells, creating a powerful research tool for the disorder.

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A simple behavioral test for mice

by  /  17 November 2008

Researchers at the Society for Neuroscience today described a new test for animal behavior that doesn’t interfere with normal mouse behavior, doesn’t require human interaction, and makes it simple to take long-term measurements: the ‘licking testʼ.

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GAP43 mutant mice mimic autism

by  /  17 November 2008

Mice missing a copy of GAP43, a gene involved in the development of axons ― the thin strands that conduct electrical signals between nerve cells ― show biological and behavioral parallels to autism, according to unpublished research presented in a poster session today at the Society for Neuroscience conference.

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Treating Rett syndrome

by  /  17 November 2008

Treatment with the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) greatly improves the health of mouse models of Rett syndrome ― a regressive genetic disorder that causes mental retardation, seizures, and autistic features ― according to unpublished researched presented this morning at the Society for Neuroscience conference.

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