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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.

August 2022
Scientist Gül Dölen smiles while looking towards the window in her lab's office.

In deep water with Gül Dölen

by  /  3 August 2022

A researcher’s existential crisis led to a scientific breakthrough.

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Of mice and human interneurons: A Q&A with Moritz Helmstaedter

by  /  1 August 2022

People’s brains have a larger network of inhibitory interneurons than mouse brains do, according to a new study. Changes to that network could contribute to autism or other conditions, says lead investigator Moritz Helmstaedter.

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July 2022
A brain scan displays images of the amygdala with different sections highlighted in blue, red, orange and other colors.

Anxiety drives amygdala differences in autistic youth

by  /  27 July 2022

Regions of the brain’s fear center expand in autistic children and teenagers with anxiety, but not in their autistic or non-autistic peers without anxiety.

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Ann Kennedy stands against the wall of a brightly lit hallway wearing a black and red dress.

Rising star: Ann Kennedy bridges gap between biology, computational theory

by  /  26 July 2022

A theoretical neuroscientist, Kennedy uses a blend of computational modeling and real-world experiments to understand how brain activity shapes the behaviors of animals that model autism and other conditions.

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Sequencing trick identifies brain cells affected by large autism-linked mutation

by  /  25 July 2022

The method, called Orgo-Seq, reveals that a deletion of genes on chromosome 16 increases the proportion of immature neurons and neural precursors in brain organoids derived from people with the mutation.

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Concept illustration of DNA deletion: 2 DNA strands extend horizontally across a burnt orange background. The bottom is intact, while there are gaps in the top strand.

Deletions on chromosome 22 have ripple effects across genome

by  /  20 July 2022

Deletion of the 22q11.2 chromosomal region alters the expression of numerous autism- and schizophrenia-linked genes, most of which are not contained within the deleted region, a new study suggests.

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Genetic underpinnings of brain activity may differ in autism

by  /  19 July 2022

The expression levels of certain genes that track with brain activity are different in autistic people than in their non-autistic peers.

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Illustration shows calcium signaling astrocytes, which are star-shaped and change color from light blue to purple.

Portrait of a research field: astrocytes in autism

by  /  14 July 2022

Long cast in supporting roles in the brain, astrocytes are now emerging as primary players in certain characteristics of autism and related conditions.

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A cross-section of the human brain and limbic system

Amygdala-linked brain areas grow differently in autism

by  /  13 July 2022

The growth differences vary between autistic boys and girls and are most apparent among children with prominent social difficulties.

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Mouse study links dopamine in cerebellum to social behavior

by  /  6 July 2022

The signaling molecule’s social role in the ‘little brain’ involves Purkinje neurons in the Crus I and Crus II regions, a new study reveals.

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