Flawed protocol for levodopa clinical trial brings retractions | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Screening slip: Two papers based on a trial for the drug levodopa were retracted because the researchers failed to exclude participants who did not meet the trial’s inclusion criteria. Donald Iain Smith / Getty Images Two studies conducted at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City have been withdrawn because the researchers…

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Autism-related genes converge on microglia and dopamine in zebrafish | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Mutations in any of 10 genes strongly linked to autism have several converging effects on brain size, activity and behavior in zebrafish via pathways that involve the proliferation of dopamine neurons and microglia, according to a new study. None of the mutations cause identical changes. But their varied effects on brain size occur largely in…

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Astrocytes fuel erratic firing in fragile X neurons | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Cell accelerator: Neurons (green) fire differently depending on whether the astrocytes (red) they are grown with are cultivated from people with or without fragile X. Courtesy of Rakhi Pal, Bharath Reddy and Sumantra Chattarji A change in the proteins secreted by astrocytes, star-shaped cells that support neurons, may contribute to the atypical firing patterns of…

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Genetic background sways effects of autism-linked mutation | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Background noise: An autism-linked mutation can have significantly different effects when hosted in organoids grown from cells of autistic people versus those made from cells of neurotypical people. Courtesy of Shuai Fu et al. / The American Journal of Human Genetics An autism-linked mutation disrupts the development of clusters of brain cells, or brain organoids,…

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Ruth Carper: Imaging the aging brain in autistic adults | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Research associate professor, San Diego State University For more than a decade, Ruth Carper has noticed a troubling pattern in the neuroimaging literature on autism: Every review article seems to say that scientists don’t know much about older autistic adults. Some studies have identified differences between autistic and non-autistic adults, but typically at only a…

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Heading to INSAR 2023: New research and sessions to address simmering tensions | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Welcome back: This year’s annual meeting of INSAR will be the society’s first 100 percent in-person gathering since 2019. Westend61 / Adobe Stock This week, autism researchers from around the globe are convening in Stockholm, Sweden, for the first fully in-person meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) since 2019. As they head…

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Medley of models reveals misbehaving pathways in autism-linked condition | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Prolific protein: Every tissue in an embryonic mouse expresses KMT5B. Genes involved in axonal guidance and other key pathways are expressed differently in people with mutations in the autism-linked gene KMT5B, according to a new study. KMT5B codes for an enzyme that adds methyl group tags to histones, the protein component of chromosomes. The chemical…

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