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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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The Brain

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

December 2022
Illustration of a pregnant woman seated next to a large diagram of the brain featuring chromosomes, bacteria and other microbes.

The link between maternal infection and autism, explained

by  /  13 December 2022

Having an infection during pregnancy is tied to a small increase in the chances of having an autistic child, but the connection may not be causal.

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An illustration of doctors examining a larger-than-life DNA strand

Whole-genome trove ties new genes, variants to autism

by  /  12 December 2022

A massive update to the MSSNG dataset gives qualified researchers ready access to explore autism’s genetic architecture on a cloud-based platform.

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Mapping tool reveals microglia’s shape-shifting secrets

by  /  9 December 2022

The approach could help test hypotheses about how atypical function of the brain’s immune cells contributes to autism.

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lllustration of the junction between two nerve cells.

Multi-omics study captures CNTNAP2’s far-ranging effects

by  /  8 December 2022

The in-depth approach shows mutations in the autism-linked gene disrupt neuronal growth and communication, as well as mitochondrial gene expression.

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Image from an open-source programming tool that overlays microscopy images in 3D and pinpoints where neurons connect.

Microscopy mash-up quantifies, maps neural circuits

by  /  7 December 2022

A new method that merges tissue expansion, light-sheet microscopy and automated image segmentation can reconstruct neural circuits in about a week.

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Neural progenitor cells in a culture medium, color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM).

Autism subgroups converge on cell growth pathway

by  /  5 December 2022

Faulty mTOR signaling, implicated in syndromic forms of autism, also hinders cells grown from people with idiopathic autism or autism-linked deletions on chromosome 16.

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Composite image of inhibitory and excitatory neurons.

One-rosette technique grows well-organized organoids

by  /  2 December 2022

The method yields complex organoids that more closely mimic embryonic brain development than do those cultured in other ways.

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November 2022
Image displaying impeded interneuron development.

‘Assembloids’ lay bare autism-linked genes that hamper neuron development

by  /  30 November 2022

The model enables the study of autism-linked genes at the earliest stages of neural development.

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A pattern in the style of genetic sequencing forms into the shape of the African continent.

Africa’s genomic role: Q&A with Conrad Iyegbe and Niran Okewole

by  /  28 November 2022

Psychiatric genomics promises to shed light on the genetic basis of autism, but it’s vital to include Africa in this research, Iyegbe and Okewole say.

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Geometric black-and-white brain model over a grid.

Excess of ‘don’t eat me’ cell signals may drive brain enlargement in autism

by  /  22 November 2022

The signal, called CD47, is disrupted in autistic people who have a larger-than-average head.

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