Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Opinion /

Viewpoint

Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles
September 2021
Steve Warren

Remembering Steve Warren (1953-2021): A giant in the field of genetics

Steve Warren co-discovered the genetic mechanism that underpins fragile X syndrome and was a generous, inspiring mentor to many.

0 Comments
August 2021

Validating autism subtypes: A crucial but often overlooked step in research

by ,  /  31 August 2021

Studies of autism subtypes rarely validate their results, and this has led to a proliferation of autism subtypes of questionable utility. But reliable subtyping can help improve the prognosis for and care of autistic people.

0 Comments
Illustration shows a woman thinking as she is surrounded by signs with feelings on them and question marks.

Measuring alexithymia in autistic people

by ,  /  24 August 2021

Despite the growing interest in alexithymia in autism research, the tools commonly used to measure this trait may not work reliably in autistic populations. A new scoring method fills that gap.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments

Browse Articles by Topic

Click on the arrows or swipe to view topics.
  • Genes

    Genes

  • The Brain

    The Brain

  • Diagnosis

    Diagnosis

  • Signs and Symptoms

    Signs & Symptoms

  • Treatments

    Treatments

  • Environment

    Environment

  • Science and Society

    Science & Society