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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Ann Griswold

Science writer

Ann Griswold is a San Francisco-based freelance science writer specializing in biotechnology and health. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Slate and The Atlantic. She was a staff news writer for Spectrum from 2015 to 2017, and continues to contribute news and Deep Dive articles.

Ann has a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Florida and an M.S. in science journalism from the Johns Hopkins University.

May 2017
A man and woman kiss under a sunset within a surreal environment, suggesting the surreal nature of studying romantic love within the autism spectrum.

Sex and other foreign words

by  /  3 May 2017

People with autism fall in love. They marry. They even (gasp) have sex. Yet these deeply human needs have mostly gone ignored by scientists.

February 2017

Many people with harmful genetic variants show no ill effects

by  /  22 February 2017

Most adults with genetic variants tied to certain conditions, such as heart disease or cancer, go undiagnosed.


This is a story of autism in small-town America

by  /  1 February 2017

Rural living can be wonderful: community, friendly faces, a slower pace of life. But when there’s autism in the family, it can be tough.


Autism, fragile X follow different developmental paths

by  /  1 February 2017

Children with autism show an increase in restricted interests in their preteen years that is not seen in those with fragile X syndrome.

January 2017

Autism gene may double as pain processor

by  /  25 January 2017

SHANK3, a leading candidate gene for autism, helps sensory neurons in mice respond to pain.


In immature brain cells, RNAs hitch ride with fragile X protein

by  /  18 January 2017

A clue to the origins of autism may exist among the molecules that transport RNA in the developing brain.


Some autism risk may arise from sex-specific traits

by  /  11 January 2017

Genetic variants that shape physical features that vary with sex, such as waist-to-hip ratio, may alter autism risk.


Compulsions, anxiety replace autism in some children

by  /  2 January 2017

Most children who lose their autism diagnosis develop related psychiatric conditions.

December 2016
Illustration: A child looks up at an overhead light while less saturated figures walk around her.

For autism researchers, mundane moments spark ‘Eureka’ insights

by  /  26 December 2016

Autism researchers reflect on the unusual episodes that spawned significant scientific projects.


Mutations in mitochondria genes may raise autism risk

by  /  22 December 2016

Some children with autism carry harmful mutations in the DNA found in mitochondria, the cell’s energy producers.