Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: synaptic plasticity

February 2013

Flexible brain

by  /  8 February 2013

Transcranial magnetic stimulation may provide a noninvasive approach to studying how connections in the human brain change in response to new information, and how that process is altered in autism, says Lindsay Oberman.


Molecular mechanisms: Pruning path links autism, fragile X

by  /  1 February 2013

The protein lacking in fragile X syndrome works with three autism-linked proteins to fine-tune the connections between neurons, according to a study published 21 December in Cell.

January 2013

Hunt for targets of fragile X protein proves perplexing

by  /  31 January 2013

FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, binds to the RNA sequences of 939 genes, 93 of which have been linked to autism, according to a study published 20 December in Nature.

December 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Star cells abnormal in autism brains

by  /  7 December 2012

Postmortem brains from individuals with autism have astrocytes that are smaller but denser than in control brains, according to a study published 21 September in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. The researchers found similar alterations in a mouse that lacks the autism-linked gene NLGN3.

November 2012

Scientists home in on autism candidate gene’s role in brain

by  /  26 November 2012

Four new studies of neuroligin-1 (NLGN1), a gene linked to autism, unravel its complex role in regulating the connections between neurons.

October 2012

Genetics: More SHANK3 mutations in mild autism cases

by  /  26 October 2012

Mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism risk gene, occur in roughly two percent of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, according to a study published 15 August in the European Journal of Human Genetics.


Astrocytes may play starring role in learning

by  /  14 October 2012

Astrocytes, star-shaped brain cells that support neurons, may be needed for mice to learn motor skills, according to unpublished research presented Saturday at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.

September 2012

Model reveals new links between autism and fragile X

by  /  17 September 2012

Mice that lack the autism-linked gene neuroligin-3 show similar deficits in neuronal connections to those seen in fragile X syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation, according to research published 13 September in Science. Restoring the gene in adolescent mice reverses the problem, suggesting a potential pathway for treatment.

July 2012

Molecular mechanisms: Mock virus alters offspring’s brain

by  /  20 July 2012

Pregnant rats exposed to a virus give birth to offspring with significantly altered levels of three proteins important for brain development, according to a study published 9 June in Molecular Brain.

June 2012

Immune cells sculpt brain by pruning neuronal connections

by  /  4 June 2012

Immune cells called microglia may play a central role in trimming synapses, the connections between neurons, according to research published 24 May in Neuron. These modifications are part of a normal developmental process by which excess synapses in the brain are destroyed.