Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: social difficulties

February 2021
Transmission Electron micrograph shows mitochondria colored an aqua blue.

Changes to mitochondrial DNA spur autism-like traits in mice

by  /  17 February 2021

Mice with a mutation in their mitochondrial DNA show altered brain activity, repetitive behaviors and reduced sociability, according to a new study.

Comments
January 2021
Mouse brain slices shown in red

Vasopressin relieves social deficits in an autism mouse model

by  /  25 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of MAGEL2 have trouble discerning between a familiar mouse and an unfamiliar one; treating them with the social hormone vasopressin reverses this deficit.

Comments
dopamine neurons in mice show up green in an area of the brain associated with social reward.

Dopamine neurons may dampen social behavior in mouse model of autism

by  /  12 January 2021

Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene PTEN show a reduced preference for social interaction, possibly due to atypically large, overconnected dopamine neurons. Easing the overconnection may alleviate this trait.

Comments
Two rats interacting

Female rats master social recognition later than males do

by  /  12 January 2021

Young male rats can recognize rats they’ve recently met, whereas young females treat new acquaintances like strangers, research shows.

Comments
December 2020
Oxytocin neurons stained pink and green.

Autism-linked gene exerts varied effects on oxytocin circuits in mice

by  /  18 December 2020

Two types of neurons process social information, a new mouse study suggests, but only one is disrupted in mice missing the autism-linked gene FMR1.

Comments
Approximately 24 month old twin girls, one of them reaching for something.

Genes’ influence on social behaviors shifts with age

by  /  14 December 2020

Some social behaviors associated with autism are heritable, but the extent to which genes and the environment influence these behaviors changes as a child grows.

Comments
November 2020
Owen leaving his home for a bike ride, followed by his therapists and teachers.

Owen’s odyssey: A year and a half after an autism diagnosis

by  /  25 November 2020

This is part 2 of Owen’s story. It tracks his early progress in treatment for autism. Part 1 described his difficult path to a diagnosis.

Comments
October 2020
Toddler vocalizing with parent.

Social motivation predicts language skills in autistic children

by  /  8 October 2020

The more children with autism tune in to and communicate with others as toddlers, the stronger their conversation skills are later in childhood.

Comments
September 2020
The knight Perceval leaves his mother in extreme distress, oblivious to his effect, as he rides into the distance.

The perils of suggesting famous historical figures had autism

by ,  /  22 September 2020

Looking for signs of autism in characters from history and literature can offer insight into society’s changing perceptions through time — but it can also increase the risk of stigma against people with the condition.

Comments
Illustration shows a family is watching fireworks, child sees blurry version of the event.

Eyeing the connection between autism and vision

by  /  16 September 2020

Autism is unusually common among blind people, and children with autism are more likely to have vision problems than their typical peers. Understanding why could lead to better therapies for autism for autism.

Comments