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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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The latest developments in autism research.

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Illustration of a binocular microscope with an X Chromosome in one eyepiece and cancer cells in the other.

The cloudy connection between fragile X and cancer

by  /  28 September 2022

People with the autism-linked syndrome lack a protein implicated in several cancers, but it’s unclear whether — or how — they are protected from malignancies.

Conceptual illustration of a door leading from one area of the brain to another area of the brain.

Autism’s genetic heterogeneity evident in brain connectivity patterns

by  /  27 September 2022
The results highlight the importance of subgrouping study participants based on their underlying genetics, the researchers say.
A pregnant woman lies in a hospital bed.

Registry review casts doubt on causal link between maternal infection and autism

by  /  23 September 2022
The long-standing link between maternal infection during pregnancy and having a child with autism may reflect common genetic or environmental factors instead.
A patient sits in the waiting room of a doctor's office.

Autism diagnosis in adulthood tied to increased burden of psychiatric conditions

by  /  19 September 2022
Mood, anxiety, personality and eating disorders more commonly affect autistic people diagnosed in adulthood than those diagnosed in childhood.

Latest News

Brain slice of a mouse brain showing cells carrying the fragile X mutation.

Fragile X neurons develop atypically in chimeric mice

by  /  29 September 2022

After a brain transplant of reprogrammed human cells, the animals can for the first time recapitulate some neuronal changes seen in people with fragile X syndrome.

Two globe and chat bubble hybrids overlap against a blue background.

Community Newsletter: Neuroscience game changers, genetics meeting highlights

by  /  25 September 2022

The talk of the Twittersphere turned around two influential neuroscience papers, plus a virtual trip to the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics.

Set of 6 scans shows mice recovering MECP2 protein in their brainstem after being treated with RNA-editing viruses.

RNA rewrite improves breathing, survival in Rett mice

by  /  22 September 2022

The technique involves editing the cellular instructions to make MECP2 protein and partially restores its levels in the brainstem.

A brown brain model made of paper set against a dark green background.

Community Newsletter: Python primer, pandemic friendship effects, human brain power-up

by  /  18 September 2022

Tickling our brains on Twitter this week were threads about helping neuroscientists learn the programming language Python, a study about autistic schoolchildren, and the possible root of modern humans’ brain power.

Dr. Edgar helps the participant prepare for the magnetoencephalography (MEG) exam.

Auditory cortex may develop early in autism

by  /  16 September 2022

A well-studied brain response to sound appears earlier than usual in young children with autism.

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

Null and Noteworthy: Brain aging, oxytocin pathways, biomarker back-up

by  /  15 September 2022

Null and replicated results in this month’s newsletter tackle aging, a purported pathway for oxytocin’s effects on autistic people, and a possible autism biomarker.

David Geschwind stands in his lab.

Autism researcher Daniel Geschwind nets top National Academies prize

by  /  15 September 2022

The prize recognizes Geschwind’s contributions to our understanding of autism genetics.

A brown lab mouse perches on a researcher's hand.

Largest-yet fragile X mutation in mice confirms model’s shortcomings

by  /  14 September 2022

A 341-repeat mutation from a person with fragile X does not lead to the syndrome’s traits or function the same way in mice, highlighting a need for different animal models.

Brain scans demonstrating differences in mice with TBR1 mutations.

Mutation-specific models highlight autism’s heterogeneity

by  /  12 September 2022

The brains of mice carrying different mutations in the autism-linked gene TBR1 display different molecular changes yet similar structural changes, resembling those previously found in autistic people with TBR1 mutations.

Lab mice (Mus musculus), tribe Balbc, three 13 day old babies with eyes still closed, laying side by side

Sleepy mice with autism-linked mutation struggle to fall asleep

by  /  12 September 2022

Mice with a mutated copy of SHANK3 fail to establish normal sleep patterns during development.

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