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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.

February 2021
Man reaches into cabinet while a woman looks on

Single neurons may power key ‘theory of mind’ skills

by  /  8 February 2021

A subset of brain cells signal when someone tries to infer another person’s thoughts, according to a new study.

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Serotonin proteins

Sensor helps scientists spy on serotonin activity in mice in real time

by  /  5 February 2021

A glowing protein tracks serotonin levels and location in the brains of living mice and could yield clues to the neurotransmitter’s role in autism.

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January 2021
Portrait of André Fenton.

Webinar: André Fenton on rethinking dysfunction in fragile X model mice

10 February 2021

On 10 February, André Fenton spoke about rethinking dysfunction in fragile X model mice.

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Mouse brain slices shown in red

Vasopressin relieves social deficits in an autism mouse model

by  /  25 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of MAGEL2 have trouble discerning between a familiar mouse and an unfamiliar one; treating them with the social hormone vasopressin reverses this deficit.

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Molecular model of histone protein which wraps up DNA strands.

New condition hints at structural protein’s role in autism

by  /  22 January 2021

Mutations in genes that encode a histone, which gives structure to chromosomes, can lead to developmental delay and congenital anomalies.

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In cortical-striatal assembloids, striatal neurons (magenta) derived from individuals with Phelan-McDermid syndrome fire more frequently than neurons from controls.

Brain ‘assembloids’ capture circuit flaws in syndrome tied to autism

by  /  21 January 2021

Merging 3D clusters of neurons that mimic different brain regions models the atypical electrical activity seen in an autism-related condition.

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DNMT3A protein attaches a methyl group tag onto the DNA base cytosine.

Autism-related conditions converge on same loss of DNA tags

by  /  20 January 2021

Mutations in the autism-linked gene DNMT3A lead to the behaviors and gene-expression changes seen in different neurodevelopmental conditions.

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girl about to catch a ball

Autistic children may have trouble predicting movements

by  /  15 January 2021

Autistic children may have a harder time catching a ball than non-autistic children do, possibly because they are less able to predict its trajectory.

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Illustration of firing neurons.

Autism protein may shape neuronal firing patterns

by  /  14 January 2021

Cells with excess UBE3A, an autism-linked protein, have atypical firing properties that can be corrected by limiting the protein’s levels, according to new research.

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Lost sleep sparks lasting social problems in SHANK3 mice

by  /  14 January 2021

Sleep disruption early in life has long-lasting consequences for mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene SHANK3.

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