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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

January 2022
mouths forming a conversation

Community Newsletter: Making MRIs more comfortable for autistic people, long-term potentiation and learning

by  /  16 January 2022

Twitter is talking about a review of how to make autistic people more comfortable during magnetic resonance imaging scans, and a study that upends a popular idea about learning — namely, that it requires long-term potentiation of synapses.

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Control panel made with pills as buttons and switches.

Introducing Spectrum’s Autism Drug Trial Tracker

by  /  12 January 2022

The tool provides interactive, curated information on more than 200 clinical trials for autism and related conditions.

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Autism Drug Tracker: User Guide

by  /  12 January 2022

Learn how to use the autism drug tracker, with specific examples and detailed explanations for each data column.

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Adult autism diagnoses don’t routinely follow other diagnoses in childhood

by  /  11 January 2022

Among thousands of Danish adults diagnosed with autism after age 18, less than half were diagnosed with a psychiatric condition as children, a new study shows.

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Normal mouse brain (left) vs brain in mouse lacking POGZ gene (right)

Top autism-linked gene boosts DNA accessibility during development

by  /  10 January 2022

Loss of the POGZ gene in mice makes certain genes inaccessible and prevents their expression.

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Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Community Newsletter: Post-traumatic stress in older autistic people, Michael Rutter’s legacy

by  /  9 January 2022

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we look at conversations around a study of trauma and autism traits in older adults, and an editorial that looks back at late child psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter’s contributions to the field.

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Cerebral cortex transcript

Alternate RNA versions of genes may shape autism

by  /  7 January 2022

Autism may involve different levels of RNA isoforms encoded by genes in the brain, which express many more proteins than previously thought.

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The connection between oxytocin and autism, explained

by  /  6 January 2022

Oxytocin, cemented in the popular imagination as the “love molecule,” could serve as a treatment for some autistic people who naturally have low levels of the hormone, researchers say.

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Visual stimulus of 4 circles with black and white stripes.

Visual task flags autistic people who respond to GABA agonists

by  /  5 January 2022

The investigational drug arbaclofen makes autistic people’s brains respond to a visual task more like non-autistic people’s brains do.

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Series of micrographs of synapses in stressed mice with mutated SHANK3 gene showing high expression of HOMER1A protein and loss of SHANK3.

Autism-linked gene primes stress vulnerability in mice

by  /  3 January 2022

In mice with a mutated copy of SHANK3, stress induces social deficits and alters gene expression in certain excitatory neurons. But eliminating a stress-related protein that regulates SHANK3 restores typical social functioning in the animals.

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