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Opinion / Q&A

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.

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

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.
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
Hands of researcher in two colors, one hand with Fragile X and the other with COIVD shapes connected by multicolored dots.

Fragile X researcher takes on COVID-19

by  /  2 March 2021
Cara Westmark has spent the past year building the case that a drug designed for fragile X syndrome might help coronavirus patients, too.

Latest Opinion

Zemi and her son, 2017
Opinion / Viewpoint

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

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.

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.

Doctor or clinician makes notes about patient during diagnosis.
Opinion

Error found in autism screening guidelines

by , , ,  /  24 March 2021

The U.K. clinical guidelines used to screen for autism contain an error, which may have resulted in many delayed or missed diagnoses over the past decade.

Brain made of DNA strands on a background of molecule shapes
Opinion / Viewpoint

There are no autism-specific genes, just brain genes

by ,  /  23 March 2021

There is not yet a single example of a gene that, when mutated, increases the likelihood of autism but not of other neurodevelopmental conditions, including intellectual disability.

Nasal sprayer makes a brain shape out of its spray.
Opinion / Viewpoint

How to improve oxytocin research for autism

by ,  /  9 March 2021

To guard against hype, scientists studying oxytocin’s role in autism and its potential as a treatment need to embrace robust theories, rigorous delivery methods and reproducible research practices.

Oil and water with colors behind: blue, green, yellow and red.
Opinion / Q&A

How microscopic ‘condensates’ in cells might contribute to autism

by  /  23 February 2021

A controversial idea about how cells compartmentalize their contents into droplets — like beads of oil in water — could be key to understanding autism, says Julie Forman-Kay.

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