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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion /

Viewpoint

Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles
August 2021
Colorful illustration of child's brain with electrodes connected EEG wave patterns, DNA strand, and playing siblings.

Connecting autism-linked genetic variation to infant social behavior

by ,  /  10 August 2021

Integrating genetic analyses into studies of babies’ brain development could help us understand how autism-related genes contribute to autism traits.

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July 2021
Illustration shows mouse with colorful wires attached, interacting with another mouse.

How to avoid common pitfalls when parsing circuit control of social behavior

by  /  20 July 2021

When probing the circuits underlying social behavior in animal models of autism, researchers should consider potentially confounding variables, use multiple behavioral assays and report results in a descriptive and unbiased manner.

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June 2021
Zemi and her son, 2017

Remembering Zemi Yenus: An ambassador for autism in Africa

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.

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May 2021

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.

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April 2021
Female mouse with its litter of pups.

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.

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March 2021
Brain made of DNA strands on a background of molecule shapes

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.

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Nasal sprayer makes a brain shape out of its spray.

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.

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February 2021

Autism in girls: Jumping hurdles on the path to diagnosis

by  /  3 February 2021

The barriers to an autism diagnosis are especially challenging for women and girls. A big part of the problem is still the perception of autism as a ‘male’ condition.

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November 2020
Young boy looking upset, sits on couch with crossed arms.

Errors of omission: Why we are deeply concerned about research on autism therapies

Studies of autism treatments rarely report adverse events, and the scientists involved often fail to disclose their conflicts of interest.

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Illustration shows woman in profile with her voice forming a large diverse group of people including those with disabilities.

Autistic people are coming into their own as political players

by  /  17 November 2020

With the election of Jessica Benham and others to U.S. state legislatures, autistic politicians stand poised to advocate for policy and research on priorities that matter most to them.

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