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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Friends of friends: How monkey island’s residents bonded after Hurricane Maria

On 20 September 2017, Hurricane Maria passed over Puerto Rico’s Cayo Santiago Island, home to more than 1,500 non-native rhesus macaques. After the storm, the monkeys formed new, unexpected relationships in ways that could offer clues about autism.


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.


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.


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.


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.


How the cerebellum is linked to autism

In this video, professors Sam Wang and Peter Tsai explain the role of the ‘little brain’ in cognition, social skills, emotion control and repetitive behaviors.


Striatum, the brain’s reward hub, may drive core autism traits

Associated primarily with its role in movement, the striatum may also influence the social difficulties of autistic people.


Brain organoids may shed light on seizures in Angelman syndrome

The mutation that causes Angelman syndrome makes neurons hyperexcitable, which may explain the frequent seizures that most people with the syndrome have.


New technique follows single neurons from birth to brain circuit

A new technique lets researchers watch brain circuits as they're being built, starting from the individual neurons birth.


Augmented-reality app brings research images to life

A new mobile app enhances scientific images by displaying augmented-reality renderings of the complete data over printed figures.