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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Marcus A. Banks

Marcus Banks is an intern at Spectrum and a 2019 graduate of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University. He has also worked at Nature Medicine and TCTMD.
Before becoming a journalist, Marcus was a health sciences librarian, most of the time in management roles. His first position was as associate fellow of the National Library of Medicine, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He has also worked at New York University, the University of California, San Francisco, and Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California.  He has a B.A. in English from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.
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May 2020

Coronavirus threatens autistic people living in group homes

Living in close quarters, with rotating staff and sometimes inadequate protective equipment, group-home residents are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.


Social brain may differ between men and women

by  /  20 May 2020

Brain imaging data reveal sex differences in regions linked to social contact.

Doctor checking pregnant woman's blood pressure.

Common pregnancy complication linked to increased autism odds

by  /  15 May 2020

High blood pressure during pregnancy may raise a woman’s chances of having an autistic child.

April 2020
Preteen girl taking test with assessor sitting nearby

Cognitive tests may help characterize intellectual disability

by  /  29 April 2020

Standardized tests can reliably assess memory, language ability, executive function and other traits in people with intellectual disability linked to autism.


New atlas maps gene expression throughout the brain

by  /  22 April 2020

A comprehensive atlas of gene expression by brain region could spur new research on autism.

three children in profile with speech bubbles: one is empty, one contains one letter, and one contains the word 'hi" to illustrate various levels of verbal ability.

How to define verbal ability in autistic children

by  /  14 April 2020

Researchers use a variety of measures and definitions to characterize autistic children who speak few or no words.

March 2020

Implant scans brain activity in mice as they move freely

by  /  25 March 2020

A new device takes continuous brain images without restricting animals or altering their behavior.

Little girl lying awake

New model may help assess sleep problems in autistic children

by  /  13 March 2020

Analyzing five sleep-related factors reveals associations between sleep troubles in autistic children and problem behaviors during the day.

a grid of scientific journals including Cell

Many science journals have unclear policies on preprints, peer review

by  /  11 March 2020

Most research journals have unclear policies for many aspects of their publishing process.

Color-coded mouse brain scans

Machine designed for mouse brain imaging may help autism studies

by  /  6 March 2020

A custom-built machine can scan the brains of awake mice and may improve our understanding of conditions such as autism.