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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Four pairs of figures reach toward each other with both arms, creating four closed ovals.
Illustration by James Lambert

2022: The year in quotes

by  /  22 December 2022

“Every aspect of life that we encounter is concentrated in the study of autism — everything from behavior, biology, physiology and hardcore science to politics and ethics.”

Lisa Croen, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, on why she finds autism research so fascinating.

“Most people with autism don’t live in rich countries. They live in poor countries. And we have an enormous task to figure out what it is that they need.”

Petrus de Vries, University of Cape Town, on why he is working to expand autism research and services in Africa.

“I had spent three years feeling like I had a boot on my chest, and when the octopus paper came out, instead of an elephant wearing that boot, it was a horse.”

Gül Dölen, Johns Hopkins University, on how she found joy in science again.

“At the institution level, we typically value things such as speed and big findings. People need to be able to value null results and negative results, too.”

Damien Fair, University of Minnesota, on reproducibility issues in neuroimaging studies.

“If you don’t have an understanding of culture, you might wind up assessing and evaluating and diagnosing people in ways that aren’t necessarily accurate.”

Courtney Ray, Array Psychological Assessments, on the implications of the lack of diversity among neuropsychologists.

“If we start having trials that are genuinely positive experiences for people … that’s going to be what ends up changing lives for the better.”

Zachary Williams, Vanderbilt University, on the importance of designing autism-friendly clinical trials.

“I had never touched a mouse in my life! I was the most inexperienced person. I got bitten a lot.”

Lucia Peixoto, Washington State University, on feeling out of place as a postdoctoral researcher.

“We need to understand that our threshold of evidence for declaring something evidence-based is rock-bottom low.”

Kristen Bottema-Beutel, Boston College, on the lack of data supporting autism interventions.

“All this time we were looking at neurons … and then suddenly we discovered that maybe the guys that we should look for were the astrocytes.”

Patricia Braga, University of São Paulo, on the ability of astrocytes from autistic people to stunt neuronal growth.

“As a scientist, I see my role as being the greatest skeptic of my own work.”

Tomasz Nowakowski, University of California, San Francisco, on his initial disbelief about his lab’s findings on neuron development in the human brain.

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TAGS:   autism