Meet the man who is unlocking the secrets of autism and sending mini-brains into space

THIS BLOG IS ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIO CAST Normally if you meet someone who has a mini-fridge filled with brains, your first thought is to call the police. But when that someone is Dr. Alysson Muotri, a professor at U.C. San Diego, your second thought is “do tell me more.” Alysson is a researcher … Continue reading Meet the man who is unlocking the secrets of autism and sending mini-brains into space

Ask the Stem Cell Team About Autism

Do an online search for “autism stem cells” and you quickly come up with numerous websites offering stem cell therapies for autism. They offer encouraging phrases like “new and effective approach” and “a real, lasting treatment.” They even include dense scientific videos featuring people like Dr. Arnold Caplan, a professor at Case Western Reserve University … Continue reading Ask the Stem Cell Team About Autism

“Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

Rett syndrome is a rare form of autism spectrum disorder that impairs brain development and causes problems with movement, speech, and even breathing. It is caused by mutations in a gene called MECP2 and primarily affects females. Although there are therapies to alleviate symptoms, there is currently no cure for this genetic disorder. With CIRM … Continue reading “Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

CIRM funded study links rapid brain growth in autism to DNA damage

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that comes in broad ranges and primarily affects communication and behavior. Many people with ASD also have macrocephaly, or unusually large heads. Unfortunately, understanding the underlying causes of this disorder and development of potential treatments has been slow. However, Dr. Rusty Gage and his team at the … Continue reading CIRM funded study links rapid brain growth in autism to DNA damage

CIRM supported study finds that a gene associated with autism influences brain stem cells

In a previous blog post, we discussed new findings in a CIRM supported study at the Salk Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a developmental disorder that comes in broad ranges and primarily affects communication and behavior. This week, a new study, also supported by CIRM, finds that a gene associated with ASD, intellectual disability, … Continue reading CIRM supported study finds that a gene associated with autism influences brain stem cells

Genetic defect leads to slower production of brain cells linked to one form of autism

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability in children, and has also been linked to a form of autism. Uncovering the cause of FXS could help lead to a deeper understanding of autism, what causes it and ultimately, it’s hoped, to treating or even … Continue reading Genetic defect leads to slower production of brain cells linked to one form of autism

“Brains” in a dish that can create electrical impulses

For several years, researchers have been able to take stem cells and use them to make three dimensional structures called organoids. These are a kind of mini organ that scientists can then use to study what happens in the real thing. For example, creating kidney organoids to see how kidney disease develops in patients. Scientists … Continue reading “Brains” in a dish that can create electrical impulses