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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Author

Charles Q. Choi

Contributing Writer, Spectrum

Charles Q. Choi is a science reporter who has written for Scientific American, The New York Times, Wired, Science, Nature, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Newsday, Popular Science and National Geographic News, among others. He writes news articles for Spectrum. 

For his work, he has hunted for mammoth DNA in Yukon, faced gunmen in Guatemala, entered the sarcophagus housing radioactive ruins in Chernobyl and looked for mammal fossils in Wyoming based on guidance from an artificial intelligence. In his spare time, Charles has traveled to all seven continents, including scaling the side of an iceberg in Antarctica, investigating mummies from Siberia, snorkeling in the Galapagos, excavating ancient Maya ruins in Belize, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, camping in the Outback and avoiding thieves near Shaolin Temple.

Contact Info

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July 2021

Sleep problems in autism may stem from leaky brain barrier

by  /  23 July 2021

Problems with falling and staying asleep are common in autism, and they may be due in part to leaks in the blood-brain barrier, according to a new study in fruit flies.

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Micrograph showing fewer neurons in fetal mice whose mothers have only one functional copy of PTEN.

Maternal genetics may contribute to autism-like traits in mice via inflammation

by  /  2 July 2021

A mouse model hints that genes linked to inflammation in some women may increase the likelihood of autism in their children.

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June 2021
Mouse brain cells seen in red

Autism-linked mutation may disrupt brain cell migration

by  /  23 June 2021

Mutations in CUL3, a leading autism gene, may disrupt the movements of neurons during development; correcting this misdirection could lead to an autism therapy.

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Enzyme blockers may counteract excess protein levels in fragile X syndrome

by  /  7 June 2021

Investigational drugs that inhibit an overactive enzyme could partially normalize how brain cells mature in boys with fragile X syndrome.

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April 2021
Young girl in kindergarten classroom, concentrating.

Age 6 may represent key turning point in autism

by  /  7 April 2021

Many autistic children show continuous improvement in trait severity until they are school-age, at which point progress often levels off.

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February 2021
DNA mutation

Proteins linked to top autism gene might aid early diagnosis

by  /  26 February 2021

Blood levels of PTEN protein and associated molecules could eventually help diagnose autism and other neurological conditions — and predict their outcomes.

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January 2021
A mosaic made of different colors of maize (corn) kernels depicting DNA.

Two studies highlight role of ‘mosaic’ mutations in autism

by  /  11 January 2021

Mutations seen in only some of the body’s cells often affect gene activity in the brains of people with autism, and can involve large segments of DNA, according to two new studies.

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Two teen girls talking on an escalator.

Autistic girls, boys differ in how they talk about social groups

by  /  6 January 2021

During conversations, girls with autism use “we,” “they” and other plural personal pronouns differently than autistic boys do.

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November 2015

Rising Star: André Fenton, playful problem-solver

by  /  9 November 2015

André Fenton is teasing out the role of the brain’s memory hub in autism to better understand why affected individuals may have trouble adapting to changing circumstances.

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September 2015

Genetic tests, physical exam forecast autism diagnosis

by  /  17 September 2015

Combining two genetic tests with a physical exam may flag young children at risk for autism years earlier than behavioral assessments do.

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