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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

January 2023
Research image showing neuronal activity in mice exposed to high-frequency sounds.

Missing mechanism helps solve fragile X protein mystery

by  /  24 January 2023

Cells from people with fragile X syndrome overproduce — but don’t accumulate — proteins. New work suggests that excessive protein breakdown may account for this discrepancy, and explain some of the syndrome’s traits.

Illustration of a signature being signed on a form.

Decisional capacity and informed consent, explained

by  /  23 January 2023

To include more autistic people in research, here’s what scientists need to know about informed consent procedures for study participants who have impaired decision-making capacity.

Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Community Newsletter: Null on biomarkers; dopamine; sleep issues; funding

by  /  22 January 2023

This week, researchers discussed a search for autism biomarkers, a surprising explanation for how the brain organizes spontaneous behavior, and sleep disturbances in children with genetic neurodevelopmental conditions. Also, four new projects on profound autism received funding from the Autism Science Foundation.

Cultured kidney cell with spike-like structures protruding from it.

Mutations in autism-linked gene cause membrane mischief

by  /  19 January 2023

Inactivating TAOK1 prompts tentacle-like protrusions to form all over a neuron’s surface, revealing the gene’s role in molding the membrane.

Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null & Noteworthy: Intervention flops; neural noise; gender care

by  /  18 January 2023

This edition takes aim at the autism-intervention evidence base with a slew of null results, plus findings that challenge a prevailing autism brain theory.

Many mouths making conversation, with speech bubbles in red and blue.

Community Newsletter: An evidence problem; cells’ interior design; repetitive movements

by  /  15 January 2023

Discussion on Twitter this week swirled around the evidence base for autism interventions, a new tool for visualizing cells, and the relationship between attention problems and repetitive movements.

A hand holds a compass against a blue background.

Spectrum Launch: What makes a good graduate school interview?

by  /  11 January 2023

‘Tis the season for grad school meet and greets. But what are interviewers looking for, and how can early-career researchers bring their best?

Several people stand around a comments box that is dispensing speech bubbles in a futuristic digital landscape.

‘Science working as it should’: Autism blood signature study earns open post-publication review

by  /  10 January 2023

Shortly after the study’s publication, experts critiqued it on PubPeer and other online platforms.

Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Community Newsletter: Confounding head motion; monkey moves; motor speech in autism

by  /  8 January 2023

Moving into the new year, researchers on Twitter talked about motion as a confounder for brain-imaging studies, connections between macaque brain activity and body movements, and the importance of motor-speech research in autism.

A sliced section of a human brain is displayed for a photograph.

Immunity-linked genes expressed differently in brains of autistic people

by  /  6 January 2023

Postmortem brain samples from people with one of six conditions, including autism, show distinct signatures of over- and underexpression of immune genes.