SFN 2019

Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) showing several unmyelinated (green) and myelinated (green with blue border) axons. Schwann cell cytoplasm is red and a nucleus (bottom left) is yellow. The pink lines are the basement membranes.

Loss of insulation on neurons may contribute to autism

Genes involved in the formation of myelin, a fatty substance that sheathes neurons, are altered in autistic people and in several mouse models.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
6 March 2020 | 3 min read

In brain imaging studies of autism, location may alter results

A new analysis hints at the source of the rampant inconsistency among brain imaging studies in autism: significant differences among study sites.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
27 January 2020 | 3 min read
Micrograph of brain organoid in green and red

Spheres of brain cells may offer crystal ball for autism’s origins

Researchers have monitored the active genome in brain organoids over the course of nearly two years — and may find clues to autism’s roots.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
24 January 2020 | 3 min read
Small child with fever has his temperature checked

Fever’s immune effect on brain may ease autism traits

An immune molecule produced during a fever improves sociability in three mouse models of autism.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
8 January 2020 | 4 min read
Nightime view of the skyline of downtown Chicago

Takeaways from SfN 2019

Thousands of research presentations, five days: Spectrum looks back at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago.

By Claire Cameron
24 October 2019 | 3 min read
Group of 6 brains show sections colored differently

Brain scans from one person build reliable map of brain activity

Mapping brain activity in one person doing multiple tasks creates a more accurate picture of the brain than averaging the brain activity of multiple people doing a single task.

By Alla Katsnelson
24 October 2019 | 2 min read
micrographs of brain areas in red.

Drug counteracts effects of doubled autism gene

An experimental drug tamps down the expression of a gene duplicated in an autism-related condition and restores typical behavior in mice.

By Nicholette Zeliadt
24 October 2019 | 3 min read
Group of four organoid images

Mass-produced organoids hint at diversity of autism

Researchers have analyzed thousands of brain organoids derived from six autistic people, gaining the potential to rapidly screen drugs.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
23 October 2019 | 3 min read
Mitochondrion, coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Mitochondria are a type of organelle found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. They oxidise sugars and fats to produce energy in a process called respiration. A mitochondrion has two membranes, a smooth outer membrane and a folded inner membrane. The folds of the inner membrane are called cristae, and it is here that the chemical reactions to produce energy take place. Magnification: x62,800 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

Leaky mitochondria may play central role in fragile X syndrome

Some traits of fragile X syndrome may be due to problems with mitochondria, the cell’s energy factories.

By Bahar Gholipour
23 October 2019 | 2 min read

Rat model mimics communication problems in Angelman syndrome

Rats missing UBE3A, the gene mutated in people with Angelman syndrome, squeak frequently but tend not to be responsive to the play and squeaks of other rats.

By Alla Katsnelson
23 October 2019 | 2 min read

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

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

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By Charles Q. Choi
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