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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.

December 2016

Questions for Joshua Gordon: Circuit solutions for autism

by  /  13 December 2016

The new director of the National Institute of Mental Health says work on brain circuits may yield treatments for autism.


Autism features common in people with rare genetic syndrome

by  /  7 December 2016

More than 80 percent of people with Sotos syndrome show signs of autism, such as social anxiety and restricted interests.


Cozy cage offers natural setting for mice to socialize

by  /  6 December 2016

New cages for mice mimic the animals’ natural burrows, providing a realistic environment for studies of social behavior.

November 2016
Pregnant woman on scale

Maternal obesity, genetics may cooperate to up autism risk

by  /  24 November 2016

Women who are overweight or obese when pregnant increase their risk of having a child who is later diagnosed with autism by about 30 percent.


New tool takes rapid genetic snapshot of people’s neurons

by  /  17 November 2016

A new approach quickly captures an individual’s gene expression pattern at the level of a single neuron.


Faulty electrical activity keeps Angelman syndrome cells apart

by  /  16 November 2016

A new stem cell model of Angelman syndrome delivers evidence for three molecular mechanisms underlying the condition — and one potential treatment.


Diverse paths to autism may converge on shared cellular features

by  /  16 November 2016

Neural stem cells derived from boys with autism of unknown cause may share genetic, chemical and physical features absent in cells from their typical brothers.


Autism-like behaviors crop up in pesticide-exposed rats

by  /  15 November 2016

Female rats exposed to the pesticide chlorpyrifos show little interest in social interaction.


Marijuana ingredient sparks social behavior in epilepsy model

by  /  15 November 2016

Cannabidiol alleviates seizures and restores social ability in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome by soothing overexcitement in the brain.


Microglia-neuron chatter may raise autism risk

by  /  15 November 2016

Three studies suggest that microglia, the brain’s immune cells, join forces with neurons in a sex-specific manner.