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Emerging tools and techniques that may advance autism research.

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February 2016
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.

1 Comment
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.

1 Comment
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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December 2015
Branching maps: By tracing the physical outlines of neurons and measuring how they connect, researchers have built a detailed atlas of brain connectivity in mice.
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New atlas displays meticulous maps of brain connectivity

by  /  23 December 2015

Researchers have documented the shape and electrical activity of more than 2,000 neurons in the mouse brain, and charted the connections between them.

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Bright idea: Beams of light can temporarily shut down specific receptors for chemical messages in the brains of mice. ©iStock.com / ktsimage
News / Toolbox

Molecular switch lets light shut off subsets of brain signals

by  /  16 December 2015

A tool kit of light-sensitive proteins allows researchers to mute communication between specific sets of neurons in mice.

2 Comments
Intricate inspection: A new method detects slight differences between copies of the same region of DNA.© iStock / BlackJack3D
News / Toolbox

Method marks variants among repeated DNA segments

by  /  9 December 2015

A new tool trawls sequencing data to reveal single-letter DNA swaps within large duplications.

0 Comments
Gender balance: More than one-quarter of children in the Autism Inpatient Collection are girls. 
©iStock.com / JynMeyerDesign
News / Toolbox

New database holds clues to severe end of autism spectrum

by  /  2 December 2015

A new collection stores genetic and behavioral information about children with autism in inpatient psychiatric units.

7 Comments
November 2015
Fast fluorescence:  A neuron in the brain of an awake mouse emits a glow as it fires.
News / Toolbox

Sensitive, superfast sensor detects brain activity in real time

by  /  25 November 2015

A new tool marries an unusually bright fluorescent protein to a light-sensitive pigment to illuminate individual neurons as they fire.

0 Comments

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