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Expert opinions on trends and controversies in autism research.

Previous articles

May 2011
Opinion / Viewpoint

Isabelle Rapin: Lessons from my clinic

by  /  24 May 2011

Autism is diagnosed based on the severity and variety of its symptoms. This makes it very difficult to diagnose and easy to confuse with other disorders, such as language delay and intellectual disability, cautions Isabelle Rapin.

5 Comments
Opinion / Viewpoint

Promises and limitations of mouse models of autism

by  /  10 May 2011

Good mouse models of autism, and accurate tests to assay their phenotypes, are key to both narrowing down a cause and developing effective treatments, argues expert Jacqueline Crawley.

0 Comments
April 2011
Opinion / Viewpoint

Uta Frith: Why I am obsessed with this cognitive thing

by  /  26 April 2011

No matter which of the numerous genetic and environmental risk factors has caused autism, the part of the system that is always affected is most likely to be found at the cognitive level, argues Uta Frith, a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

17 Comments
Opinion / Viewpoint

Imaging biomarkers could signal autism spectrum disorder

by  /  12 April 2011

There does not appear to be a single genetic or environmental cause of autism, and given the heterogeneity of symptoms, coming up with a clear yes or no test for autism is challenging. Timothy Roberts argues that imaging and electrophysiology are key in the search for autism biomarkers.

0 Comments
March 2011
Opinion / Viewpoint

Why fold Asperger syndrome into autism spectrum disorder in the DSM-5?

by  /  29 March 2011

In the new diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders, Asperger syndrome will be folded into autism spectrum disorder. Francesca Happé, a member of the committee that made the recommendation, explains the rationale behind the decision.

21 Comments
Opinion / Viewpoint

False-belief tasks are distinct from theory of mind

by  /  15 March 2011

Languages lacking words for feelings can lead to ‘mind-blindness,’ a feature of autism, according to a 2009 study. Cognitive neuroscientist Helen Tager-Flusberg argues that language delay only partially explains the theory of mind deficits seen in people with autism.

1 Comment
January 2009
Opinion / Viewpoint

The 2003 paper linking neuroligins to autism

by ,  /  12 January 2009

In 2003, Stephane Jamain and his colleagues reached a breakthrough by taking a candidate approach to the X chromosome, and linking members of the neuroligin protein family to autism.

0 Comments
October 2008
Opinion / Viewpoint

In search of meaningful copy number variations

by  /  24 October 2008

In the past few months, researchers have published dozens of reports linking single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with susceptibility to a range of common diseases.

0 Comments
August 2008
Opinion / Viewpoint

Papers that defined diagnostic tools for autism research

by ,  /  14 August 2008

It took 50 years for scientists to develop instruments reliable enough to be considered the gold standards for diagnosing autism. Autism has always been around, but it was not until the mid-1940s that Leo Kanner in the United States and Hans Asperger in Austria, both physicians, independently described children with what we now recognize as autism.

0 Comments
May 2008
Opinion / Viewpoint

1985 paper on the theory of mind

by  /  9 May 2008

In 1985, Simon Baron-Cohen, Alan Leslie and Uta Frith reported for the first time that children with autism systematically fail the false belief task.

6 Comments

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