Postmortem brains

Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read
A research image showing astrocytes and neurons

‘SNAP’ dance of astrocytes and neurons falls out of step with age, disease

The findings add to growing evidence that astrocytes are star players in cognition.

By Laura Dattaro
6 March 2024 | 6 min read
Illustration of two neurons with a shared origin point.

Cortical interneurons derive differently in human brains

Excitatory neurons and some inhibitory neurons in the adult human cortex share parents, challenging the longstanding idea that the two cell types have different origins.

By Elissa Welle
20 December 2023 | 6 min read
Research image of various types of cells.
Cell types Microphone

Vast diversity of human brain cell types revealed in trove of new datasets

The collection offers a glimpse into differences in cell composition — across people and brain regions — that may shape neural function.

By Angie Voyles Askham
12 October 2023 | 6 min listen
Research image of organoids in the forebrain.

Head size parts autism into two major subtypes

An imbalance in the number of excitatory neurons in early brain development may account for the difference.

By Charles Q. Choi
12 September 2023 | 4 min read
A brain slice under a microscope.

Preprint questions validity of postmortem brain studies

But the alternatives, including living-brain biopsies, raise logistical and ethical questions, experts say.

By Katie Moisse
5 June 2023 | 6 min listen
Research diagram of gene clusters.

Atlas of gene activity in prenatal brain holds clues to autism

Genes exert their strongest influence on the brain in the first half of gestation — a key window for autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

By Brendan Borrell
24 April 2023 | 4 min read
A sliced section of a human brain is displayed for a photograph.
Spectrum Microphone

Immunity-linked genes expressed differently in brains of autistic people

Postmortem brain samples from people with one of six conditions, including autism, show distinct signatures of over- and underexpression of immune genes.

By Laura Dattaro
6 January 2023 | 4 min read
Figure showing an analysis of gene expression in cells across development.

Highly expressed genes may buffer against autism-linked mutations in girls

Such high expression levels may account for the condition’s sex bias, a new preprint suggests — but not everyone agrees with that logic.

By Alla Katsnelson
14 December 2022 | 5 min read
Light micrograph of microglia cells stained with Rio Hortega’s silver carbonate method.
Spectrum Microphone

Autism’s sex bias tied to glial, immune cell gene expression

The function of microglia and astrocytes in the brain may mediate the intersection of sex-differential biology and autism biology.

By Angie Voyles Askham
22 November 2022 | 3 min read

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Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

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By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read

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The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch
Research image of white-matter density in brains of people with deletions or duplications in the 16p11.2 chromosomal region.

Double-empathy problem; dup15q syndrome; myelin loss in aging autistic adults

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 17 June.

By Jill Adams
18 June 2024 | 2 min read