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Conversations on the science of autism research.

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Portrait of Judy Van De Water at her home in Fort Bragg, CA, with her paintings.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Judy Van de Water

by  /  12 August 2022

When Van de Water isn’t busy mentoring “the next generation of scientists” in her lab, she finds time to paint, watch HGTV and hang out with her horse, Hank.

Scientist examining DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) results on a screen in a laboratory.

How an expert panel evaluates genes for autism genetic tests

by  /  22 July 2022
About 15 percent of genes currently included in clinical genetic tests for autism or intellectual disability don’t have enough evidence to support their ties to the conditions, the panel found.
An abstract "funding mechanism" featuring dollar bills alongside tubes, beakers and wires

New program offers $35K grants to study ‘profound autism’

by  /  18 July 2022
People who have ‘profound autism’ — those with severe intellectual disability, limited communication abilities or both — tend to be excluded from research. The Autism Science Foundation seeks to change that.
Toddler stepping towards parent, in front of window.

What developmental milestones say about autism research: A conversation with Susan Kuo and Elise Robinson

by  /  10 August 2022
Shifts in diagnostic criteria have only added to the condition’s bedeviling heterogeneity, an analysis of smiling, sitting, walking and other early milestones in more than 17,000 autistic children reveals.

Latest Opinion

Of mice and human interneurons: A Q&A with Moritz Helmstaedter

by  /  1 August 2022

People’s brains have a larger network of inhibitory interneurons than mouse brains do, according to a new study. Changes to that network could contribute to autism or other conditions, says lead investigator Moritz Helmstaedter.

hand points to pause button shape made from pills

Forging a path for vasopressin drugs for autism: Q&A with Suma Jacob

by  /  5 July 2022

After the vasopressin antagonist balovaptan flopped in a late-stage clinical trial, Suma Jacob and her colleagues took stock of all the factors that might have complicated the results.

Illustration shows widening circles to symbolize inclusion.

Ways to make autism research more diverse and inclusive

by  /  14 June 2022

Scientists must focus on the importance of representative study samples and of engaging with diverse autism community members.

Prioritizing physical health in autism: Q&A with Alice Kuo

by  /  6 June 2022

The principal investigator of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health wants to encourage more researchers to study physical health issues in autistic children and adults.

Researcher stands in spotlight that is the shape of a monkey's head.

Why monkey researchers are seeking the spotlight: Q&A with Cory Miller

by  /  25 May 2022

For decades, many researchers who study nonhuman primates kept quiet about their work, concerned about the extreme actions taken by some animal welfare activists. But a growing number are speaking more openly about the importance of their work in an attempt to take back the narrative.

Autism and the complete human genome: Q&A with Evan Eichler

by  /  10 May 2022

Scientists have at last filled in the missing gaps — an advance likely to inform every aspect of autism genetics research, Eichler says.

Illustration of colorful compass

Ethical gaps in autism genetics: A conversation with Holly Tabor

by  /  29 April 2022

Genetics research has largely failed to generate concrete benefits for autistic people, and its values and goals are due for reassessment, Tabor says.

Book cover conceptual illustration of chromosome superimposed with genetic tree.

A whisper of autism: Fragile X carriers and the autism phenotype

by  /  21 April 2022

Among people who carry the fragile X premutation, about 14 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls meet the criteria for autism, but the ‘broad autism phenotype’ may be far more common.

The placenta and neurodevelopment: A conversation with Anna Penn

by  /  19 April 2022

The temporary organ may hold clues about the origins of autism and brain development, Anna Penn says — if only researchers would study it.

Autism and menopause: Q&A with Rachel Moseley and Julie Turner-Cobb

by  /  7 April 2022

Menopause poses significant challenges for autistic people, according to a small survey published in 2020 — the first to explore the transition among people with autism traits.

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