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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: neural circuits

October 2021
Two mice in cage with one peeping out.

Brain stimulation improves memory in autism mouse models

by  /  15 October 2021

Jolting a bundle of nerve fibers deep in the brain restores learning and memory in mice with mutations of the autism-linked gene CDKL5.

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‘Light beads’ method images activity across the mouse brain

by  /  12 October 2021

The new technique can record hundreds of thousands of neurons firing nearly simultaneously across big swaths of brain tissue in living mice.

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How traits relate to brain activity may differ between autistic boys, girls

by  /  11 October 2021

Scientists should heed these differences when considering resting-state brain activity as a biomarker for autism, the researchers say.

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September 2021
Scientist Ethan Scott takes aim with a bow and arrow in his backyard.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Ethan Scott

by  /  13 September 2021

Ethan Scott packs his lab with math, physics and computer science experts to decode sensory brain networks in zebrafish models of autism.

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A lighthearted, colorful, chaotic lab scene with fruit flies flying in formation, worms peeking out of piles of dirt and zebrafish spilling out of beakers.

What studying worms, flies and fish says about autism

by  /  8 September 2021

Researchers are increasingly turning to simple animals to learn about autism biology and find leads for new drugs.

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August 2021
Illustration of brain showing overexcited and underexcited parts of the brain represented by jagged and loose squiggles.

Disruptions to brain’s ‘thermostat’ may underpin autism traits

by  /  18 August 2021

Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.

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July 2021
Ofer Yizhar in his lab, framed by rectangular window and a red background.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Ofer Yizhar

by  /  26 July 2021

When Yizhar isn’t building new tools to study the neural circuits underlying autism and other complex conditions, you can find him playing the piano, shooting photographs or taking long runs in the desert.

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image shows slice of a mouse brain with genes highlighted

Method tracks neuron paths, gene expression simultaneously

by  /  21 July 2021

A new technique can reveal where thousands of neurons send their axons — and measure the cells’ RNA levels for dozens of genes at the same time — in the mouse brain. It could be used to profile neural circuits underlying autism.

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Illustration shows mouse with colorful wires attached, interacting with another mouse.

How to avoid common pitfalls when parsing circuit control of social behavior

by  /  20 July 2021

When probing the circuits underlying social behavior in animal models of autism, researchers should consider potentially confounding variables, use multiple behavioral assays and report results in a descriptive and unbiased manner.

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New optogenetics technique minimizes thermal damage to neurons

by  /  8 July 2021

Thanks to a new engineered protein for optogenetics experiments, researchers can stimulate neurons with less light than usual and avoid damaging brain tissue.

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