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Spectrum: Autism Research News

TOPIC

The Brain

Charting the structure and function of the brain’s many circuits may unravel autism’s mysteries.

April 2021
Micrograph comparing locus coeruleus of 16p11.2 mutant mice and control mice show less active noradrenergic neurons in mutant mice.

Circuit flaw underlies motor learning issues in autism mouse model

by  /  12 April 2021

Mice missing a copy of chromosomal region 16p11.2 are slow to learn motor tasks and have dysfunction in a brain circuit associated with stress and movement, according to a new study. Normalizing this circuit’s activity corrects the learning deficit.

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Ultrasound of a human fetus.

Slow head growth in utero may augur developmental difficulties

by  /  9 April 2021

The pace of fetal head growth is associated with behavioral outcomes two years later, according to a new study.

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By imaging spheroids in 3D, researchers can see structures called rosettes, in which immature brain cells (green) surround a cavity (pink), of a variety of shapes and sizes.

Airy beams capture 3D structures inside spheroids

by  /  8 April 2021

An imaging approach that captures spheres of brain cells in three dimensions could illuminate processes in early brain development.

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Child in an MEG machine

Making neuroimaging accessible for more autistic children

by  /  6 April 2021

A new protocol aims to help researchers include more autistic people — especially those who are minimally verbal or have intellectual disability — in imaging studies.

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Person itching back of neck.

Sensory issues linked to heart-rate differences in autistic youth

by  /  5 April 2021

Autistic children with sensory issues show more intense physiological reactions to unpleasant sounds and other sensations than their non-autistic peers do, a new study shows.

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Atlas maps distinct cell types during earliest stages of brain development

by  /  1 April 2021

A new atlas profiles gene activity early on during development in the human fetal brain.

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March 2021

Top autism-linked gene has divergent effects on brain growth in mice

by  /  25 March 2021

Mutations in CHD8 lead to brain overgrowth or undergrowth in mice, depending on how they affect the gene’s expression.

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Boy in brain-like tunnel looking towards the light

Puberty and autism: An unexplored transition

by  /  24 March 2021

Researchers are just beginning to learn what happens in the brains of autistic children during adolescence to explain their unique social, cognitive and emotional challenges.

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Innate stress response may link maternal infection to autism

by  /  19 March 2021

A typically protective stress response could help to explain the connection between maternal illness and neurodevelopmental conditions.

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Oligodendrocyte shown orange on black in this scanning electron micrograph.

How oligodendrocytes may shape autism

by  /  15 March 2021

A growing body of evidence shows that brain cells called oligodendrocytes may play a larger role in autism than previously thought.

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