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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion /

Q&A

Conversations with experts about noteworthy topics in autism.

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.

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September 2022
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.

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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.

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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.

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August 2022
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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July 2022
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.

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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.

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  • Genes

    Genes

  • The Brain

    The Brain

  • Diagnosis

    Diagnosis

  • Signs and Symptoms

    Signs & Symptoms

  • Treatments

    Treatments

  • Environment

    Environment

  • Science and Society

    Science & Society