Glutamate

Image of the dorsal raphe area of the brain.

Neurotransmitter switch-up helps fan extreme stress into full-blown fear

The flip occurs when certain neurons in the dorsal raphe start to express the chemical GABA instead of glutamate, a new study shows.

By Claudia López Lloreda
9 April 2024 | 5 min read
Mice socialize in an enclosure

Neurons in thalamus sort new social cues from familiar ones

A subset of thalamic neurons support an aspect of social behavior called social recognition, according to experiments in mice.

By Katie Moisse
20 June 2023 | 4 min read
Photograph of white pills and blister pack on blue pastel colored background.
Spectrum Microphone

Trials of arbaclofen for autism yield mixed results

Autistic children taking the drug showed improvements in some behaviors but not in their social skills.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
5 May 2023 | 5 min read
An adult administers a medication to an infant.

Experimental drug shows promise for autism-linked syndromes

The drug quells seizures in children with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

By Charles Q. Choi
2 September 2022 | 5 min read

New resource maps gene expression, regulation in neuron subtypes

The catalog could help researchers understand the effects of autism-linked DNA variants that fall outside genes.

By Chloe Williams
1 July 2022 | 4 min read

New human neuron assays set stage for high-throughput autism drug screens

The ability to conduct large-scale screening in human neurons could accelerate the discovery of autism treatments.

By Holly Barker
22 March 2022 | 3 min read
Visual stimulus of 4 circles with black and white stripes.

Visual task flags autistic people who respond to GABA agonists

The investigational drug arbaclofen makes autistic people's brains respond to a visual task more like non-autistic people's brains do.

By Peter Hess
5 January 2022 | 3 min read
Mouse neuron recordings showing different levels of activity before and after an encounter with an unfamiliar mouse.

Neural network captures noisy neurons in autism mouse model

Mice missing the autism-linked gene SHANK3 use more neurons to engage in social behavior than control mice do, reflecting a more disorganized, less efficient brain signaling network.

By Peter Hess
18 June 2021 | 4 min read
brainstem of rats in red, green and blue highlight higher levels of GABA.
Spectrum Microphone

GABA agonist rescues auditory hypersensitivity in rats missing autism-linked gene CNTNAP2

The investigational drug arbaclofen may right an imbalance between inhibitory and excitatory signaling in the animals’ brains.

By Peter Hess
3 May 2021 | 2 min read

Family groups, researchers join forces to solve mysteries of autism gene

Families of children with mutations in a gene called SYNGAP1 have spurred research into the effects of the mutations on people — and how to treat them.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
10 July 2019 | 7 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoids overgrowth; DSCAM gene; sleep issues in autism

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 24 June.

By Jill Adams
25 June 2024 | 2 min read
Close-up image of a dead fly with visible growths protruding from its abdomen due to Entomophthora fungus infection.

Mind control in zombie flies: Q&A with Carolyn Elya

A parasitic fungus compels its insect host to behave in strange ways by hijacking secretory neurons and circadian pathways.

By Shaena Montanari
25 June 2024 | 5 min read
Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read