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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.

An illustration of a colorful, psychedelic landscape featuring two people standing on a hill speaking to one another

Tripping over the potential of psychedelics for autism

by  /  2 June 2022
Drugs such as LSD act primarily on the serotonin system, which is implicated in autism — and some autistic people who experiment with psychoactive compounds report enhanced social connections, among other benefits. But researchers have more questions than answers.

Structural brain changes foretell language skills in autistic infants

by ,  /  19 May 2022
Increased white-matter maturation tracks with stronger language abilities later in childhood, but the relationship with cortical thickness is less clear.

Organoids hint at origins of enlarged brains in autistic people

by  /  13 May 2022
The size of the cerebral cortex seems to depend on when neural progenitor cells multiply or differentiate into glial cells and neurons.
May 2022
MRIs

Growth charts map brain changes across lifespan

by  /  12 May 2022

The new resource is the first to chart human brain development from before birth to 100 years of age.

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White lab mice bunched up in corner of cage.

Mouse models mirror cerebellum patterns seen in autism

by  /  12 May 2022

Animals with different autism-linked mutations share disruptions to the mTOR signaling pathway, pointing to a potential molecular mechanism for the atypical cerebellar development seen in some autistic people.

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Color-coded brain images showing reduced thickness of superior frontal gyrus and other regions associated with presence of increased levels of inflammatory moleucle IL-6.

Inflammation may reshape brain regions tied to autism

by  /  6 May 2022

Having a genetic predisposition to inflammation is linked to structural changes in brain regions implicated in neurodevelopmental conditions.

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Two people in cafe seen through window, crowded street beyond.

Autistic adults in Japan stay active in their communities, households

by  /  5 May 2022

A new longitudinal study paints a favorable picture of the outcomes for many autistic adults in the city of Yokohama.

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3D rendering of a mouse brain showing axons coming from the prefrontal cortex in various colors.

New atlas maps neuronal wiring in mouse brain

by  /  3 May 2022

The ‘projectome’ charts axonal pathways between individual cells in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region implicated in autism.

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April 2022

Mini biopsies point to source of lethal seizures in model mice

by  /  26 April 2022

Interneurons that fail to propagate electrical signals in mice that model Dravet syndrome may cause the animals, like people with the autism-linked condition, to die suddenly.

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organoids in early stages of development.

Organoids show how mutations in top autism gene may lead to brain overgrowth in people

by  /  19 April 2022

The loss of CHD8, a top autism gene, speeds up the production of certain neurons and leads to overgrowth in spheres of cultured brain cells.

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Micrographs comparing mouse striatal neurons missing TSHZ3 and wildtype striatal neurons.

Two groups of neurons govern autism-like traits in model mice

by  /  15 April 2022

Together, the neurons are part of the corticostriatal circuit, which has been implicated in autism.

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Faulty inhibition foils long-term memory in Rett mice

by  /  11 April 2022

The animals recall fear more readily if a set of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus is switched on.

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Biases skew behavioral predictions from brain scans

by  /  6 April 2022

Models trained on datasets that lack racial and ethnic diversity perform less accurately on brain scans from Black Americans than their white counterparts.

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