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The Brain

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

April 2021
Colorful RNA in mouse brain slice
News / Toolbox

Tissue-swelling method divulges RNA locations, sequences in cells

by  /  28 April 2021

A technique that expands tissue before spotting and sequencing RNA — the molecular messenger for DNA — enables researchers to see where particular genes are expressed in cells.

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News

Loss of CHD8 from cerebellum disrupts movements, not social behaviors

by  /  26 April 2021

Deleting the autism-linked gene CHD8 from specific cells in the cerebellum, a brain region important for movement, leads to motor deficits but does not alter social behaviors in mice.

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Brains scans reveal sharper boundaries between white and gray matter in autistic people.
News

Thin insulation may explain atypical cortical thickness seen in autism

by  /  23 April 2021

Differences in myelin, the insulation that surrounds neuronal projections, may shade measurements of cortical thickness on brain scans, a new study suggests.

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Mouse brains carrying CUL3 gene mutation reveal unusually thin cortical tissue.
News

Neuron ‘skeleton’ may explain impact of autism-linked gene mutation

by  /  16 April 2021

Mutations in CUL3, a gene strongly linked to autism, may cause differences in brain structure by disrupting cytoskeleton proteins, according to a new study.

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Baby in utero surrounded by pills, on bright blue background
News

The link between vitamins, supplements and autism, explained

by  /  14 April 2021

Too little — or too much — of certain substances during pregnancy may increase the odds of having a child with autism. Here we explain what scientists know about these associations.

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Micrograph comparing locus coeruleus of 16p11.2 mutant mice and control mice show less active noradrenergic neurons in mutant mice.
News

Circuit flaw underlies motor learning issues in autism mouse model

by  /  12 April 2021

Mice missing a copy of chromosomal region 16p11.2 are slow to learn motor tasks and have dysfunction in a brain circuit associated with stress and movement, according to a new study. Normalizing this circuit’s activity corrects the learning deficit.

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Ultrasound of a human fetus.
News

Slow head growth in utero may augur developmental difficulties

by  /  9 April 2021

The pace of fetal head growth is associated with behavioral outcomes two years later, according to a new study.

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By imaging spheroids in 3D, researchers can see structures called rosettes, in which immature brain cells (green) surround a cavity (pink), of a variety of shapes and sizes.
News / Toolbox

Airy beams capture 3D structures inside spheroids

by  /  8 April 2021

An imaging approach that captures spheres of brain cells in three dimensions could illuminate processes in early brain development.

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Child in an MEG machine
Opinion / Q&A

Making neuroimaging accessible for more autistic children

by  /  6 April 2021

A new protocol aims to help researchers include more autistic people — especially those who are minimally verbal or have intellectual disability — in imaging studies.

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Person itching back of neck.
News

Sensory issues linked to heart-rate differences in autistic youth

by  /  5 April 2021

Autistic children with sensory issues show more intense physiological reactions to unpleasant sounds and other sensations than their non-autistic peers do, a new study shows.

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