Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Author

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].

Contact Info

[email protected]

February 2022

Immune gene tied to social behavior in autism mouse model

by  /  3 February 2022

Activating the immune system blunts social behavior in mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene SHANK3, according to a new study. Blocking TRPV4, which encodes an ion channel involved in inflammatory responses, can reverse this effect.

Comments
Dr. Hollis Cline at her desk.

Hollis Cline: Leapfrogging over gaps in autism research

by  /  1 February 2022

A basic scientist at heart, Hollis Cline has spent decades pushing the boundaries of what researchers can see in the brain. Her persistence has led to a deeper understanding of how some autism-linked genes influence brain development.

Comments
January 2022

Reimagining the newborn screening system: Q&A with Don Bailey

by  /  27 January 2022

The current system to approve genetic and metabolic conditions for newborn screening can’t keep pace with research on new therapies. Don Bailey wants to bring it up to speed.

Comments
grid of 12 views of mouse neurons.

Loss of autism-linked gene alters synapse development in mice

by  /  25 January 2022

Mice missing a copy of the gene ASH1L have excess synapses and autism-like behavioral differences, some of which are reversed by boosting an ASH1L-regulated gene.

Comments

Researchers retract study of an immune effect on synapse development

by  /  24 January 2022

A failed replication and other problems led autism researcher Beth Stevens and her co-investigator to retract the nearly 10-year-old report.

Comments

FDA cites hair-based autism diagnostic aid as ‘breakthrough’

by  /  17 January 2022

Despite scant publicly available data, makers of the ‘exposome’-based method say it could help with diagnosing autism and identifying subtypes.

Comments
December 2021
Portraits of Cathy Lord and Tony Charman.

Webinar: Tony Charman and Catherine Lord on the Lancet Commission and ‘profound autism’

 /  26 January 2022

On 26 January, Catherine Lord, distinguished professor of psychiatry and education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Tony Charman, chair of clinical child psychology at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, will speak about the Lancet commission’s recommendations and the use of the term ‘profound autism.’

Comments
Parent with toddler and clinician with clipboard.

Reimagining autism screening: A conversation with Roald Øien

by  /  21 December 2021

The questionnaires used to screen for autism are far from perfect, and tweaking them may not be enough. Roald Øien wants researchers to find better solutions.

Comments
Arrows pointing different directions cast black shadows on white and red background.

Autism sleep study pulled because of data errors

by  /  21 December 2021

Researchers requested the retraction of their study linking low vitamin A levels to sleep troubles in autistic children after discovering “fundamental errors” in their data.

Comments

First-of-its-kind commission defines ‘profound autism,’ issues recommendations

by  /  6 December 2021

Use of the term ‘profound autism’ is among the recommendations made by a panel of autism researchers, clinicians, autistic adults and parents of autistic people.

Comments