Neurotransmitters

Research images of the human motor cortex

What happens when a histopathologist teams up with computational modelers?

Answers emerge in my chat with Nicola Palomero-Gallagher, a rare example of someone who connects the brain’s microscopic constituents and macroscopic features.

By Mac Shine
11 December 2023 | 7 min read
Research image of neurons.

Abundant motor proteins disrupt cries in FOXP2 mice

Knocking down the gene that codes for the proteins normalizes the vocalizations.

By Laura Dattaro, Maaisha Osman
28 July 2023 | 3 min read
Lab images of cilia.
Spectrum Microphone

Autism and the cell’s antennae

Many autism-linked genes are somehow tied to cilia, the tiny hair-like sensors that stud a cell’s surface. But the question remains whether, and how, cilia differences contribute to the condition.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
4 January 2023 | 6 min read
lllustration of the junction between two nerve cells.
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Multi-omics study captures CNTNAP2’s far-ranging effects

The in-depth approach shows mutations in the autism-linked gene disrupt neuronal growth and communication, as well as mitochondrial gene expression.

By Charles Q. Choi
8 December 2022 | 4 min read
An illustration of a colorful, psychedelic landscape featuring two people standing on a hill speaking to one another

Tripping over the potential of psychedelics for autism

Drugs such as LSD act primarily on the serotonin system, which is implicated in autism — and some autistic people who experiment with psychoactive compounds report enhanced social connections, among other benefits. But researchers have more questions than answers.

By Alla Katsnelson
31 May 2022 | 10 min read
Colorful illustration shows a esearcher with frogs and frog eggs.
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Autism research makes the leap to frogs

Frogs are useful for autism research for a slew of reasons, including the fact that the animals' initial development occurs outside of the mother's body in plain view.

By Laura Dattaro
8 September 2021 | 3 min read

Drugs boost serotonin, socialization in multiple autism mouse models

The finding that MDMA and an experimental serotonin agonist increase sociability across six different model mice suggests that disparate autism-linked mutations converge on the same underlying pathways.

By Peter Hess
6 August 2021 | 4 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
Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
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After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

By Grace Huckins
4 June 2021 | 9 min read

Stimulant restores cell signaling, eases behavior issues in animals missing autism gene

Worms and zebrafish missing both copies of the gene CHD7 have disrupted cellular signaling, a dearth of inhibitory neurons and behavior changes — all of which are reversed by the stimulant drug ephedrine.

By Peter Hess
28 May 2021 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Illustration of a scientist attempting to wrangle many forms of data at once: a pile of charts and graphs threatens to knock them off of their feet as they attempt to prop it up.

Neuroscience graduate students deserve comprehensive data-literacy education

Despite growing requirements around how to handle and share data, formal training is lacking.

By Letisha R. Wyatt
15 July 2024 | 6 min read

10 standards for brain electrode-array recordings enhance reproducibility

Electrophysiology findings can vary widely from lab to lab, even among those using identical protocols. New guidelines set forth in a preprint should help.

By Elissa Welle
12 July 2024 | 5 min read
A hand holds a stack of speech bubbles.

Leveraging the power of community to strengthen clinical trials for rare genetic syndromes

Families can become not only participants but champions of these research efforts.

By Shafali Spurling Jeste
11 July 2024 | 7 min read