Signaling imbalance

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 research image of a mouse hippocampus

Some social issues in DYRK1A model mice stem from faulty inhibitory circuits

Alterations in inhibitory circuits and difficulties in social recognition characterize mice missing one copy of DYRK1A, a gene linked to autism.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
11 October 2023 | 4 min read
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
Research image of neurons in mice.

Skewed signaling in striatum may spawn repetitive behaviors

Synaptic changes in the brain region could drive a core trait of fragile X syndrome, a new mouse study suggests.

By Holly Barker
6 September 2023 | 3 min read
Research images of protein synthesis in mice.

Neuronal deafness to stress may add to protein surplus in fragile X

A protective pathway that pauses protein synthesis is muted in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, according to a new study.

By Holly Barker
29 August 2023 | 3 min listen
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
Research image of cultured neurons.
Epilepsy Microphone

Cannabis compound rebalances signaling to quell seizures in mice

Cannabidiol (CBD) blocks the action of a molecule that drives an overexcitability feedback loop in a rodent model of epilepsy.

By Peter Hess
22 March 2023 | 5 min listen
Figure shows cultured human kidney cells and cultured rat cortical neurons responding to light exposure.

Unconventional optogenetics technique spurs long-lasting changes in neuronal activity

Conventional optogenetic manipulations to excite or inhibit neurons stop when the light switches off. A new approach makes the changes last.

By Peter Hess
9 January 2023 | 4 min read

Of mice and human interneurons: Q&A with Moritz Helmstaedter

People’s brains have a larger network of inhibitory interneurons than mouse brains do, according to a new study. Changes to that network could contribute to autism or other conditions, says lead investigator Moritz Helmstaedter.

By Angie Voyles Askham
1 August 2022 | 7 min read

Portrait of a research field: astrocytes in autism

Long cast in supporting roles in the brain, astrocytes are now emerging as primary players in certain characteristics of autism and related conditions.

By Lauren Schenkman
14 July 2022 | 14 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoid size matches intensity of social problems in autistic people

Overgrown organoids could point to mechanisms underlying profound autism.

By Holly Barker
18 July 2024 | 5 min read

Persistent protein pairing enables memories to last

The complex of two memory proteins, rather than the individual molecules acting independently, underlie month-long memories in mice, a new study suggests.

By Elissa Welle
17 July 2024 | 5 min read
A digitally distorted image of a file folder against a blue gradient background.

Data access changes to UK Biobank stir unease in neuroscientists

“I feel a little bit in limbo,” says neuroscientist Stephanie Noble, who has paused a study using Biobank data after the repository shifted from a data download to a cloud-only access model.

By Calli McMurray
16 July 2024 | 7 min read