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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion

Conversations on the science of autism research.

Featured Opinions

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.
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.

Latest Opinion

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.’

six images of astrocytes

How star cells’ secretions may stunt neurons: Q&A with Nicola Allen

by  /  26 September 2022

Non-neuronal brain cells called astrocytes secrete proteins that seem to hamper the growth of neurons in people with autism-related syndromes. These proteins could be new drug targets, Allen says.

A group of rectangles placed against a colorful background contains diverse colors and patterns.

Broadening the autism spectrum: Q&A with Oluwatobi Abubakare

by  /  20 September 2022

Too often, people outside the margins of what’s considered classic autism are left out of research agendas, Abubakare says.

Constantina Theofanopoulou strikes a dancer's pose in her lab.

Beyond the bench: Learning new moves with dancer-scientist Constantina Theofanopoulou

by  /  13 September 2022

Theofanopoulou shares how flamenco stepped up the pace of her social-communication research, and what’s behind the ‘no fear’ ethos in her new lab.

Human silhouettes are seen against a colorful, abstract representation of a genetic sequence.

How geneticists can gain greater buy-in from the autistic community

by  /  9 September 2022

My recommendations aim to foster a collaborative relationship between researchers and the Autistic community, resulting in an increase in the availability of genetic data.

Oxytocin lessons from autism-linked syndromes: A chat with Christian Schaaf and Ferdinand Althammer

by  /  7 September 2022

Oxytocin therapies have failed to consistently benefit autistic people, but their effects in people with two autism-linked conditions may yield new insights, experts argue.

A mother and child stand, dwarfed by giant alphabet blocks spelling ABA.

Applied behavior analysis and autism: Flawed application of a proven science

by  /  1 September 2022

The field of ABA needs more compassion and individualization.

Researcher on path in space that leads to open, shared data network.

Open science in autism research: A chat with Amy Pearson and Daniel Poole

by  /  26 August 2022

The two psychologists share tips to help autism researchers adopt established methods and make their work more transparent and reproducible.

Conceptual illustration of chromosomal abnormalities

Lumping versus splitting with autism-linked variants: A conversation with Vanessa Vogel-Farley and Yssa DeWoody

by  /  22 August 2022

Researchers have long studied subgroups of people who share genetic variants, but the newly formed ‘CNV Commission’ is also looking at people with shared traits across different neurodevelopmental conditions.

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.

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