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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Laura Dattaro

Senior News Writer

Laura Dattaro is a senior reporter for Spectrum, where she covers genetics, mental health, public policy and other areas of autism research. She proposed and writes the Null and Noteworthy newsletter, a monthly recap of studies with null results and replications. She joined Spectrum in 2020. Dattaro has worked as a science journalist and editor for 10 years and has written for the Columbia Journalism ReviewPopular MechanicsSlate and The New York Times, among other publications. Before joining Spectrum, she also worked as associate producer for the World Science Festival. Dattaro has an M.A. in science and health journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in English and music from the University of Delaware. You can find her on Twitter at @LauraLauraDat or reach out to her at [email protected].

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June 2020

Beyond the bench: A conversation with Jack Gilbert

by  /  9 June 2020

Jack Gilbert is teasing out how microbes transform their home environments, from the comfort of his own.


Autism traits in childhood linked to eating disorders in adolescence

by  /  4 June 2020

Children with social difficulties are more likely than those without to develop problems with eating by age 14.


Amidst the pandemic, autism’s largest conference moves online

by  /  1 June 2020

Organizers of the International Society for Autism Research’s annual meeting will host digital offerings on 3 June.

May 2020

Reversing SHANK3 mutations in mice mitigates autism-like traits

by  /  28 May 2020

Correcting an autism gene mutation in fetal mice lessens some autism-like behaviors after birth.

brain shown in four distinct, colorful layers

New mapping technique reveals unexpected brain cell diversity

by  /  13 May 2020

Star-shaped cells called astrocytes may play a greater role in brain development than previously thought.


Diagnosing autism with a camera and an algorithm

by  /  12 May 2020

Robert Schultz hopes to use technology to change how autism is studied, diagnosed and treated.

Close up view of human eye.

Autistic people may have trouble tuning out distractions

by  /  4 May 2020

Pupil response suggests autistic people have atypical activity in a part of the brain that regulates attention.

April 2020
Researcher talking on phone and working on computer at home.

Autism researchers adapt studies for a socially distant world

by  /  30 April 2020

Locked out of labs during the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are moving their investigations to virtual and online formats, a shift that may bring lasting changes to autism research.

Baby looking up at father's face.

Siblings of children with autism may process faces their own way

by  /  16 April 2020

Children who have autistic older siblings have bigger neural responses than controls do in the brain networks that process faces.

Side view of the human brain, area highlighted at the back of brain is activated by visual stimuli.

Visual, sensory brain regions in autistic children may have weak links

by  /  6 April 2020

Areas of the brain involved in processing vision are more weakly connected to those that process sensory information in autistic children than in controls.