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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion

Conversations on the science of autism research.

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An illustration of a questionnaire that is slightly visually distorted

Tempering tales of a new autism measure: A conversation with Thomas Frazier

by  /  20 January 2023

The questionnaire, designed to screen children for autism, isn’t ready for clinical use without further validation, contrary to what some overblown newspaper headlines reported.

Several scientists standing under a spotlight greet scientists who are entering the spotlight.

Autistic psychiatrists are an asset to medicine — but we need to better support them

by  /  18 January 2023
Autistic psychiatrists report experiencing prejudice, stigmatization and career barriers during their training and day-to-day practice. Workplaces can make some simple adjustments to better support them and enhance equality and inclusivity.
Image of neurons during a seizure.

Calming neurons to quell seizures: Q&A with Gabriele Lignani and Dimitri Kullmann

by  /  3 January 2023
A new gene therapy approach for epilepsy tamps down neural activity on demand.
Jill Silverman sits at her desk with her dog.

Beyond the bench: Finding solitude with Jill Silverman

by  /  17 January 2023
The people-focused researcher shares her secrets to carving out time for grant writing, creating work-life balance and letting go of unread emails.

Latest Opinion

Headshots of Melissa Licari, Somer Bishop, Jana Iverson, Anjana Bhat and Audrey Thurm.

Should motor impairment be added to the diagnostic criteria for autism?

by  /  11 January 2023

In light of growing evidence that motor challenges are common among people with autism, we asked five researchers how these problems fit into the definition of the condition.

Collage illustration of several people constructing a city with a Brazilian flag visible.

How to plan policies that support the autism community in Brazil: Lessons from a U.S. experience

by  /  21 December 2022

Brazil could learn from the challenges and successes of other nations to become a leader in planning for the needs of autistic people.

A young woman sits alone in a doctor’s office.

How scientists can counteract their unwitting contributions to autism’s sex bias

by  /  20 December 2022

Common diagnostic and research practices may be adding to autism’s sex bias, but there are some simple steps scientists can take to counteract it.

Gavin Rumbaugh stands on a beach with his family: his wife, dog and child.

Beyond the bench: Finding balance with Gavin Rumbaugh

by  /  15 December 2022

Rumbaugh, who studies how the autism-linked gene SYNGAP1 shapes brain development, describes how he has embraced coastal living and which aspects of his career he wouldn’t do over.

A pattern in the style of genetic sequencing forms into the shape of the African continent.

Africa’s genomic role: Q&A with Conrad Iyegbe and Niran Okewole

by  /  28 November 2022

Psychiatric genomics promises to shed light on the genetic basis of autism, but it’s vital to include Africa in this research, Iyegbe and Okewole say.

Lone figure treads a central path that splits into two, surrounded on both sides by an uncertain, shifting landscape in murky colors.

It’s time to embrace ‘profound autism’

by  /  27 October 2022

My experience at the Autism-Europe International Congress — and as a parent of a child with profound autism — makes me more convinced than ever that we need to bifurcate the diagnosis of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and add a new diagnosis of ‘profound autism’ to better serve this vulnerable population.

Conceptual illustration of a group of brain scans.

Boosting brain power: A conversation with Damien Fair

by  /  25 October 2022

Collecting brain scans from thousands of people can be challenging in autism research; data-sharing and collaborative efforts can help drive results that stand up to statistical scrutiny.

Beyond the bench: Mastering meaningful movement with Karen Chenausky

by  /  21 October 2022

The competitive rower-turned-researcher spoke to Spectrum about how trying out for the U.S. national rowing team and a subsequent coaching position shaped her study of speech development.

Photograph of a mouse nesting in a pile of hay.

Scoring mouse behaviors: Q&A with Michael Sidorov

by  /  17 October 2022

A new analysis package enables researchers to distill multiple measures of Angelman syndrome mice into a single ‘severity score.’

An illustration of a scientist sitting at a desk with abstract shapes representing ideas floating above her.

Designing autism-friendly trials: Q&A with Caroline Averius and Zachary Williams

by  /  7 October 2022

The pair’s new guidebook offers practical steps to make clinical trials easier and more meaningful for autistic participants.

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