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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Switching neurons on and off to probe autism circuits

A 3D optogenetics method can mimic natural rhythms of neural activity, rendering previously unanswerable questions amenable to inquiry — including questions about autism.

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Mitochondria: An energy explanation for autism

People with autism have more mutations than others do in both mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA that affects mitochondrial function.

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Video: Wearable sensors pick up early signs of autism

Audio and motion-sensor recordings offer a remote window into a baby’s first years and make it easier for families to participate in research.

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The gut’s connection to autism

Autistic children are up to four times as likely as their non-autistic peers to have digestive problems, and several small studies show they may also have atypical microbial communities living in their guts.

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Advancing early interventions for autism

Some therapies use play and other activities to reinforce skills that autistic children often find challenging. Trials show these methods can change a child’s trajectory for the better, but the evidence base remains thin.

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Motion-capture videos reveal atypical grooming in fragile X rats

A Hollywood-inspired video tool that captures movement in three dimensions over extended time periods shows that rats lacking the autism-linked gene FMR1 have different grooming patterns than controls do.

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How the striatum is linked to autism

The repetitive behaviors seen in autism may originate in the striatum, a cluster of neurons involved with initiating and executing movements.

Multimedia

Repetitive behaviors and autism

New thinking about repetitive behaviors suggests they provide stress relief and fun for autistic people; as such, these behaviors deserve careful management.