Prefrontal cortex

Research image of excitatory synapses in the prefrontal cortex.

Synaptic anomalies in autistic people support imbalance hypothesis

Increased excitatory and decreased inhibitory synapses in the prefrontal cortex of autistic people suggest broader impacts on brain function and connectivity.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
27 June 2024 | 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
Brain scans displaying activity in areas linked with social behavior.
Spectrum Microphone

People’s perceptions of ‘social’ animations don’t always square with researchers’ labels

The finding calls into question differences between autistic and non-autistic people on a decades-old theory-of-mind test involving interacting geometric shapes.

By Charles Q. Choi
22 February 2023 | 6 min read
an image of a neuron
Spectrum Microphone

Neurons struggle to spike without fragile X gene

FMR1 loss impairs sodium channels, hindering mouse neurons from generating the electrical signals needed to transmit information.

By Laura Dattaro
17 February 2023 | 3 min read
lllustration of the junction between two nerve cells.
Spectrum Microphone

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
Spectrum Microphone

Autism-linked mutation disrupts brain circuit to change social behavior

Therapies that target the circuit could boost social activity, new findings suggest.

By Charles Q. Choi
24 June 2022 | 4 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Histone-modifying drug improves autism-like behaviors in mice

The experimental compound, called GSK-LSD1, enhances social preferences and reduces repetitive grooming in mice, according to a new study.

By Chloe Williams
18 April 2022 | 4 min read
Illustration shows a cartoon-like simple figure made out of a switchboard, with colorful cables converging on an area deep in the brain.

Brain’s sensory switchboard has complex connections to autism

An atypical thalamus may underlie not only sensory issues in autism but also difficulties with social skills, attention and memory.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
15 November 2021 | 9 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
Man reaches into cabinet while a woman looks on

Single neurons may power key ‘theory of mind’ skills

A subset of brain cells signal when someone tries to infer another person’s thoughts, according to a new study.

By Angie Voyles Askham
8 February 2021 | 4 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

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

Accounting for a mosaic of sex differences: Q&A with Nicola Grissom

Breaking the binary view of sex traits can enable researchers to represent the broader complexity of behavior and cognition.

By Olivia Gieger
10 July 2024 | 7 min read