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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.

October 2022
Mouse brain slices showing the effects of SHANK2 and SHANK3 deletions.

Double SHANK knockout highlights brain circuit’s social role

by  /  19 October 2022

Mice missing the autism-linked SHANK2 and SHANK3 genes in their retrosplenial cortex have trouble distinguishing between novel and familiar mice.

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A transplanted human organoid labeled with a fluorescent protein in a section of the rat brain.

Human cortical organoids forge functional circuits in rat brains

by  /  12 October 2022

The transplanted cells integrate into living animals’ neural circuitry and influence behavior.

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Conceptual illustration of two DNA helixes with several overlapping portions showing common and differing genes.

Genome scan spots common variant differences between autism and ADHD

by  /  12 October 2022

Common variants in five regions of the genome may determine whether someone has one condition versus the other.

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Still image from a time-lapse video of neuronal development.

Gene in autism hotspot regulates neuronal migration

by  /  10 October 2022

Restoring the gene, TAOK2, in mice missing an autism-linked region of chromosome 16 normalizes neuronal movement during development.

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September 2022
Brain slice of a mouse brain showing cells carrying the fragile X mutation.

Fragile X neurons develop atypically in chimeric mice

by  /  29 September 2022

After a brain transplant of reprogrammed human cells, the animals can for the first time recapitulate some neuronal changes seen in people with fragile X syndrome.

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Conceptual illustration of a door leading from one area of the brain to another area of the brain.

Autism’s genetic heterogeneity evident in brain connectivity patterns

by  /  27 September 2022

The results highlight the importance of subgrouping study participants based on their underlying genetics, the researchers say.

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six images of astrocytes

How star cells’ secretions may stunt neurons: Q&A with Nicola Allen

by  /  26 September 2022

Non-neuronal brain cells called astrocytes secrete proteins that seem to hamper the growth of neurons in people with autism-related syndromes. These proteins could be new drug targets, Allen says.

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A set of 4 multicolored brain scans showing development of cortical surface area.

New mapping method reveals subtleties of brain development

by  /  21 September 2022

The machine-learning approach could help identify how brain structure differs between autistic and non-autistic infants, the researchers say.

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Dr. Edgar helps the participant prepare for the magnetoencephalography (MEG) exam.

Auditory cortex may develop early in autism

by  /  16 September 2022

A well-studied brain response to sound appears earlier than usual in young children with autism.

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Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null and Noteworthy: Brain aging, oxytocin pathways, biomarker back-up

by  /  15 September 2022

Null and replicated results in this month’s newsletter tackle aging, a purported pathway for oxytocin’s effects on autistic people, and a possible autism biomarker.

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