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The Brain

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

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

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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wireless optogenetic device glowing green on mouse brain.
News / Toolbox

Wireless optogenetic devices sync neurons among mice

by  /  17 June 2021

Researchers say they can synchronize two new devices and control neurons across 256 freely moving animals at once to study social behaviors.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
News

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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News

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.

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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.

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May 2021
News

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.
News

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
News

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.
News

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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