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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Deborah Rudacille

Former News Editor,

Deborah Rudacille earned an M.A. in science writing from Johns Hopkins University in 1998. She worked as a research writer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and as senior science writer at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Rudacille is the author of three books: The Scalpel and the Butterfly (2000), The Riddle of Gender (2004) and Roots of Steel (2010). She joined’s team as news editor in 2010.

March 2017
An image of an abstract, colorful playground set against a dark and mysterious background. The image conveys a sense of mystery.

The twenty-something free fall

by  /  29 March 2017

Young adults with autism face many new expectations and challenges — with none of the support that is available during high school.

November 2016
Boy looking in mirror sees girl reflected back

New clinical guidelines address gender dysphoria in autism

by  /  7 November 2016

New recommendations urge clinicians to screen teenagers for autism when they seek treatment at gender clinics, and evaluate those with autism for gender concerns.

April 2016

Living between genders

by  /  13 April 2016

‘Trans’ people with autism express a gender at odds with societal expectations, or reject the male-female divide entirely. Many are breaking new ground on how identity is defined — and what it means to also have autism.

October 2013

Nobel goals

by  /  7 October 2013

On the occasion of Thomas Südhof winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,’s former news editor recalls their first meeting.

October 2011

Autism rates higher among adults with low birth weight

by  /  31 October 2011

Autism prevalence is five times higher in young adults born weighing 2,000 grams or less compared with controls, according to a study published 17 October in Pediatrics.


Later-born children at higher risk for autism

by  /  24 October 2011

In families that have more than one child with autism, the middle children, particularly those born second, have a higher risk of developing autism than other children in the family, according to a study published 19 October in PLoS One. In families that have only one child with autism, however, risk of the disorder rises with each additional birth, the study found.


Facial features provide clue to autism severity

by  /  20 October 2011

Boys with autism have a distinct facial structure that differs from that of typically developing controls, according to a study published 14 October in Molecular Autism.


Growth factor improves autism symptoms in mice

by  /  19 October 2011

Mice lacking a copy of SHANK3, a gene associated with autism and intellectual disability, show marked improvements in brain signaling after being treated with insulin-like growth factor 1, according to unpublished findings presented Saturday at the International Congress of Human Genetics in Montreal, Canada.


Upright citizens

by  /  18 October 2011

Adolescents with autism may not use abstract reasoning to understand why certain acts are wrong, but they know the difference between a moral transgression and a social blunder.


Researchers debut mice with links to Williams syndrome

by  /  17 October 2011

Mouse pups with a duplication of GTF2I, a gene linked to Williams syndrome and autism, show extreme separation anxiety when separated from their mothers, according to unpublished findings presented Thursday at the International Congress of Human Genetics in Montreal, Canada.