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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.

September 2022
Brain scans demonstrating differences in mice with TBR1 mutations.

Mutation-specific models highlight autism’s heterogeneity

by  /  12 September 2022

The brains of mice carrying different mutations in the autism-linked gene TBR1 display different molecular changes yet similar structural changes, resembling those previously found in autistic people with TBR1 mutations.

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Lost sleep sparks lasting social problems in SHANK3 mice

by  /  12 September 2022

Sleep disruption early in life has long-lasting consequences for mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene SHANK3.

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August 2022
A large MRI scan of a human brain, with a grid of 15 smaller MRI scans to its left

Chromosome 22 mutations leave telltale marks on brain development in autistic people

by  /  24 August 2022

Many brain regions develop differently between people with 22q11.2 duplications and deletions, and those trajectories also vary with a person’s diagnosis.

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Several strands of DNA with different openings at different points to show different functions for the same gene at different points in time

‘Double duty’ autism-linked genes upend conventional characterizations

by  /  23 August 2022

What these genes do and how they affect autism depends on when in development they’re studied, despite what classic ‘gene ontology’ analyses say.

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Woman talks to child in EEG cap

Brain’s response to faces foretells social development in autistic people

by  /  17 August 2022

A delayed brain response to viewing faces may predict lags in social-skill development in autistic people.

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On the left hand side are several abstract and blurry red and blue blobs. On the right hand side are a series of red and blue dots.

Machine learning streamlines neuroimaging data analysis

by  /  15 August 2022

The method could boost reproducibility across brain imaging studies of autism.

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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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