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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.

November 2010

Postmortem analysis pinpoints role of cerebellum in autism

by  /  17 November 2010

People with autism have fewer Purkinje cells in a region of the cerebellum that has undergone rapid recent evolution, according to a postmortem study presented Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Allen Institute charts gene expression in brain development

by  /  17 November 2010

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has released whole-genome expression data from one-and-a-half adult human brains, and is gathering information from samples at different stages of development, from four weeks after conception to adulthood. The data were described at poster sessions Saturday and Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Tuberous sclerosis mice have fewer synaptic proteins

by  /  17 November 2010

A study of mice with tuberous sclerosis — a single-gene disorder that is related to autism — suggests that most forms of autism share a common feature: an imbalance of proteins at the synapse, the junction between neurons. The work was presented Monday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Brains of children with autism change as they grow up

by  /  17 November 2010

The brains of children with autism show differences in gene expression compared with those of healthy controls, especially in genes that control cell growth. Adults with autism also have aberrant gene expression, but in different pathways, researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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People with autism assign negative emotions to photos

by  /  16 November 2010

People with autism take longer to decide whether emotionally ambiguous facial expressions are positive or negative — and are more likely than healthy controls to choose the latter, say researchers who reported their results in a poster Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego in San Diego.

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Large postmortem brain study traces spine shapes

by  /  16 November 2010

The brains of people with autism have abnormally dense and stubby dendritic spines, the neuronal projections that receive electrical signals, according to data presented Monday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Video: Drosophila model of fragile X syndrome bears fruit

by  /  16 November 2010

The fruit fly is a good model for some of the cognitive defects in fragile X syndrome — but researchers sometimes find themselves having to defend their choice.

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Autism brains characterized by fewer excitatory neurons

by  /  16 November 2010

People with autism have structural differences in the temporal cortex — a brain region involved in sound and language processing — compared with controls, according to a postmortem study presented Monday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Researchers make ‘normal’ neurons in a dish

by  /  16 November 2010

A new model system allows scientists to watch human neurons develop outside of the brain, researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

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Video: Of mice and men

by  /  16 November 2010

If you give most mice a choice between sniffing a new playmate and a new object, most will choose the new playmate every time. But not BTBR or SHANK3 mutant mice, which spend less time engaging in social interactions with other mice. Does that mean these mice have autism?

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