Neural circuits have a large impact on many disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. Understanding them and how to control them could be the key to many possible treatments. As it stands the methods we have to control neural circuits are invasive and can lead to serious brain damage. In efforts to resolve this problem Jerzy Szablowski and some of his fellow colleagues from Mikhail Shapiro’s lab at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena put an interesting spin on one of the current methods, chemogenetics. Chemogenetics uses “a virus to ferry synthetic receptors into neurons” in order to activate or inhibit the targeted neurons. Traditionally the virus is injected directly into the brain to avoid the blood brain barrier and requires surgery that comes with the risk of brain damage. In this new method Szablowski and his colleagues are instead able to inject the virus into the blood and use ultrasound to pass the blood brain barrier. They achieved this by injecting microscopic air bubbles that vibrate in response to ultrasound waves. The vibration puts enough pressure on the blood brain barrier for it to open momentarily and allow the virus to diffuse through. So far they have only applied this method in mice and rats, but it has been a success overall. In the future they hope to keep refining it and one day apply what they find to treatments for autism spectrum disorder and many others.
Full article can be found here on Spectrum News: https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/sound-strategy-enables-precise-control-brain-circuits/
Microsoft is looking for candidates for full time and part time roles at Microsoft Retail Stores locally.
This is not for Developers, Coders, or Data Scientists, but for candidates on the spectrum that are open to working in a customer facing role at a Microsoft Retail Store in Bellevue or University Village (Seattle) for full time or part time positions. They offer a comprehensive benefits package including: healthcare, tuition reimbursement, fitness options and more.
See the below document for more information. Their hiring event is scheduled for March 27–28, 2019.
On Sunday, January 27th from 8-10amthe Museum of Pop Culture (MoPoP) will be hosting their Autism Mornings program. This event allows members of the ASD spectrum and their families free early access to the museum with special sensory accommodations made to ensure an enjoyable museum experience for participants. In order to provide lower sensory experiences for kids with ASD and their families, there will be lower sounds and lighting in exhibits like the Lounge, Demo Lab and Learning Labs.
Other galleries that will be open include the Sound Lab, Science Fiction + Fantasy
Hall of Fame, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, Indie Game Revolution and Sky Church.
If you aren’t able to attend this event, note that the MoPoP hosts ASD Mornings two to three times a year. Check their upcoming events page for updates on when they will be putting on ASD Mornings next at https://www.mopop.org/events
*please note that this blog post does not imply any endorsement of or affiliation with the MoPoP!*
Why does Autism happen? The SPARK study helps us get there. Watch these videos about what the SPARK study does and how it can help us learn about some of causes of autism through gene discovery on a national scale.