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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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March 2016
Brain portal: Researchers can trigger and monitor neural activity in real time through a custom-built portal to a monkey’s brain.
News / Toolbox

New tool offers way to ‘light up’ cells in monkey brain

by  /  16 March 2016

A new technique can stimulate and record activity across broad swaths of the monkey brain.

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Shrimp snapshot: A computer algorithm paired with light-splitting technology can simultaneously scan seven layers of tissue in a brine shrimp (right) — a feat traditionally achieved by merging scans from each layer (left).
Weijian Yang, Columbia University
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Imaging tool creates hologram of brain circuits

by  /  2 March 2016

A new tool paints real-time pictures of brain circuits that could reveal altered neuronal activity in mouse models of autism.

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February 2016
Seeing differences: A visual brain center in the mouse contains 42 types of neurons and seven other types of cells, each with their own gene expression signatures.Allen Brain Institute
News / Toolbox

Sequencing approach bares large variety of brain cell types

by  /  24 February 2016

Analyzing gene expression in a vision center of the mouse brain has revealed 49 different classes of cells.

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Neuron finder: A computer program charts the probable positions of neurons in the zebrafish brain, with red areas showing the likely locations of the cells’ nuclei.
News / Toolbox

Precise program traces firing patterns in neural networks

by  /  17 February 2016

By tracking calcium’s movement, a new algorithm simultaneously delineates individual neurons’ shapes as well as their firing patterns.

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Shape shift: Astroctyes grown using a new method form delicate star shapes (left), whereas astrocytes grown in serum from blood turn flat and blobby (right).
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Simple steps let star-shaped brain cells thrive in culture

by  /  10 February 2016

A new method allows researchers to culture cells known as astrocytes from human brains.

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Before and after: In a new method, researchers record electrical signals from an intact neuron (left) and then remove its contents (right) for analysis.Shan Shen
News / Toolbox

Multipurpose tool paints three-layer portraits of neurons

by  /  3 February 2016

A new tool allows researchers to simultaneously study the physical, genetic and electrical properties of individual neurons.

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January 2016
Hot plates: Small plates embedded with electrodes can pick up the firing patterns of thousands of interconnected neurons. 
Philippe Psaila / SCIENCE SOURCE
News / Toolbox

Electrode-laced plates capture patterns of neural firing

by  /  27 January 2016

Growing neurons on tiny plates studded with miniature electrodes allows researchers to map patterns of neuronal activity within circuits.

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Shape shifter: New software converts a picture of a twisted roundworm embryo (top) into a straight one (bottom).
News / Toolbox

Software unravels mysteries of worm nervous system

by  /  20 January 2016

A new computer program allows researchers to follow the formation and movement of all neurons in a developing worm.

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PsychENCODE - Nicolas Ogonosky
News / Toolbox

Massive brain study probes cause of autism, schizophrenia

by  /  13 January 2016

Researchers are studying more than 1,000 postmortem brains with the goal of unearthing shared genetic roots in neuropsychiatric conditions, including autism.

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Death glow: Intense light from a microscope damages protein filaments near the surface of cells (above dotted line) but not those (red) that are farther from the light.
News / Toolbox

Light beams from high-res microscope can trigger cell death

by  /  6 January 2016

Super-resolution microscopy can set off a series of biological processes that lead to cell death, compromising imaging experiments.

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