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The Brain

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

January 2021
Face stimuli displaying neutral emotions and EEG electrode recording sites.
News

Brain response to facial features may lag in autistic people

by  /  13 January 2021

Looking at eyes, noses and mouths may prompt slower recognition in the brains of autistic people than in those of non-autistic people.

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Baby getting an MRI scan
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Imaging study casts doubt on cerebellum’s role in autism during infancy

by  /  13 January 2021

Connections between the cerebellum and brain networks do not seem to contribute substantially to the emergence of autism traits.

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Neurons in cerebella of mice with fewer branches and spines.
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Cerebellum alterations crop up in mice missing autism gene

by  /  12 January 2021

Deleting the autism-linked gene CNTNAP2 from mice leads to distinct cellular and electrical changes in the cerebellum, according to two unpublished studies presented virtually today at the 2021 Society for Neuroscience Global Connectome.

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Senior man lying down in scanning machine.
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Studies hint at effects of aging on autistic brains

by  /  12 January 2021

People with autism or autism traits may be especially vulnerable to brain aging and cognitive decline, two studies suggest.

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dopamine neurons in mice show up green in an area of the brain associated with social reward.
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Dopamine neurons may dampen social behavior in mouse model of autism

by  /  12 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene PTEN show a reduced preference for social interaction, possibly due to atypically large, overconnected dopamine neurons. Easing the overconnection may alleviate this trait.

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Two rats interacting
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Female rats master social recognition later than males do

by  /  12 January 2021

Young male rats can recognize rats they’ve recently met, whereas young females treat new acquaintances like strangers, research shows.

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Proteins present at neuronal junctions.
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Repeat labeling helps reveal synaptic proteins

by  /  12 January 2021

A novel microscopy technique offers the most detailed look to date at the proteins present at neuronal junctions.

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twins seated at a table in bright red chairs.
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Environment may have outsized effect on brain structure in autism

by  /  12 January 2021

Environmental factors influence brain structure in autistic children more than in non-autistic children, according to an analysis of imaging data from twins.

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A mosaic made of different colors of maize (corn) kernels depicting DNA.
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Two studies highlight role of ‘mosaic’ mutations in autism

by  /  11 January 2021

Mutations seen in only some of the body’s cells often affect gene activity in the brains of people with autism, and can involve large segments of DNA, according to two new studies.

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grid of clocks showing different times
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Missing autism gene may affect time perception in mice

by  /  11 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene NRXN1 appear to perceive some time intervals as shorter than control mice do, according to a new study.

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