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Conversations with experts about noteworthy topics in autism.

Macaques on dead trees on Cayo Santiago.

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.

Previous articles

April 2021
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.

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March 2021
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.

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

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.

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February 2021
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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Maria Chahrour and Leah Seyoum-Tesfa framed by a window at Maria's home.
Opinion / Q&A

How two researchers built the first genetics cohort of African children with autism

by  /  16 February 2021

In this recorded interview, Maria Chahrour and Leah Seyoum-Tesfa talk about how they work closely with immigrant communities to increase diversity in genetic studies of autism.

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January 2021
Opinion / Q&A

How polygenic scores can improve predictions about autism, schizophrenia

by  /  19 January 2021

Jacob Vorstman wants to help people who have rare mutations tied to autism, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental conditions set expectations about outcomes.

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December 2020
portrait of Dr. Waganesh Zeleke.
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Waganesh Zeleke

by  /  22 December 2020

Waganesh Zeleke studies how cultural views can shape autistic people’s lives, as well as the lives of those around them.

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Two children are interacting with a toy in the shape of a brain.
Opinion / Q&A

How redefining autism could improve research on the condition

by  /  8 December 2020

Ami Klin wants researchers, clinicians and policymakers to think of autism as something inborn that only predisposes a child to certain traits. Early intervention can change the course of development.

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Portrait of of Kim Kaiser, Director of programming at Color of Autism.
Opinion / Q&A

How autism researchers can better reach Black families

by  /  1 December 2020

Kim Kaiser spoke with Spectrum about the nonprofit organization The Color of Autism, why researchers fail to reach Black families and what’s needed to fix that disparity.

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October 2020
Illustration shows young woman surrounded by the confusion of puberty and body changes.
Opinion / Q&A

Puberty may arrive early for some autistic girls

by  /  27 October 2020

Girls with autism tend to start puberty earlier than their peers do, which may intensify their social difficulties and put them at an increased risk for bullying and mental health conditions such as depression.

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