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Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Tonya White

by  /  29 June 2021

When Tonya White isn’t studying brain development, she might be listening to audiobooks or cycling across Europe — but she probably isn’t tweeting.

Featured articles

Opinion / Q&A
Scientist with diagnostic tool, looking at many different choices, including the number 6.

How two graduate students uncovered a critical error in autism screening guidelines

by  /  22 June 2021
Spectrum spoke to the researchers who uncovered an error in autism screening guidelines that have been in use for nearly a decade.
Opinion / Viewpoint
Zemi and her son, 2017

Remembering Zemi Yenus: An ambassador for autism in Africa

by , , ,  /  15 June 2021
Zemi Yenus was the mother of a child with autism, founder of Ethiopia’s first school for autistic children and a tireless advocate for autism awareness and research in Africa.
Opinion / Q&A
Brain and marijuana leaves

Q&A with Eric Hollander: Cannabis treatments for autism

by  /  8 June 2021
As cannabis prohibition slowly lifts in the United States, scientists and families in the autism community are increasingly turning to the drug and its constituent compounds to ease autism-related difficulties, including seizures and irritability.

Latest Opinion

Illustration shows mouse with colorful wires attached, interacting with another mouse.
Opinion / Viewpoint

How to avoid common pitfalls when parsing circuit control of social behavior

by  /  20 July 2021

When probing the circuits underlying social behavior in animal models of autism, researchers should consider potentially confounding variables, use multiple behavioral assays and report results in a descriptive and unbiased manner.

Illustration shows certain states with multiple connections to people and other states
Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Matthew Maenner: Estimating autism prevalence quickly

by  /  13 July 2021

A new method to track autism prevalence in 11 U.S. states is twice as fast as the old approach — and yields similar results.

Brain composed of mulit-colored post-its
Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Richard Bethlehem: What goes into a Brainhack

by  /  9 July 2021

Brainhack conferences offer talks and hands-on tutorials, and unite small groups of interdisciplinary researchers to work on open-source neuroscience projects.

Opinion / Viewpoint

The first Dutch boy with ‘autism’ — and the nun who cared for him

by  /  25 May 2021

The recognition of autism independently at different times and across different cultures shows the condition has clear boundaries, despite considerable heterogeneity.

Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Sébastien Jacquemont and Clara Moreau: Why brain imaging signatures for autism are so elusive

by  /  20 May 2021

The field of neuroimaging will need to combine two strategies before it can find patterns of brain activity or structure unique to autism, the researchers say.

Portrait of Dr. Georgia Panagiotakos on a hill in San Francisco, with a view of the city behind her and her pet dog.
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the bench: A conversation with Georgia Panagiotakos

by  /  11 May 2021

Georgia Panagiotakos reflects on how to keep lab work fun during tough times.

Female mouse with its litter of pups.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Few autism researchers control for the ‘litter effect’ — this needs to change

by ,  /  27 April 2021

Anyone who uses multiple animals from a small number of litters to increase sample size is making a serious mistake. The similarities within individual litters will heavily skew the results.

Macaques on dead trees on Cayo Santiago.
Opinion / Q&A

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

by  /  13 April 2021

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.

Child in an MEG machine
Opinion / Q&A

Making neuroimaging accessible for more autistic children

by  /  6 April 2021

A new protocol aims to help researchers include more autistic people — especially those who are minimally verbal or have intellectual disability — in imaging studies.

Colorful illustration shows two researchers examining messy data.
Opinion / Q&A

How to safeguard online data collection against fraud

by  /  30 March 2021

When autism researcher Clare Harrop tried to recruit survey participants over social media, she received hundreds of fraudulent responses. But there are ways researchers can protect themselves from similar experiences.

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