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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Environment

From parental age to infection during pregnancy, environmental elements can influence autism risk.

A pregnant woman and another figure are obscured by shadows

Maternal genetics may confound studies of autism’s link to prenatal factors

by  /  2 August 2022
Women who carry genetic variants tied to autism have an elevated chance of experiencing pregnancy-related events linked to the condition in their children.

The placenta and neurodevelopment: A conversation with Anna Penn

by  /  19 April 2022
The temporary organ may hold clues about the origins of autism and brain development, Anna Penn says — if only researchers would study it.

Lisa Croen: Autism’s first dedicated epidemiologist

by  /  28 March 2022
Inspired by watching her autistic nephew grow up, Croen has also been an advocate for bolstering research and services for autistic adults.
February 2022
Conceptual illustration of female brain versus male brain.

Searching for the biology behind autism’s sex bias

by  /  11 February 2022

The fact that autism seems to affect more boys than girls is often attributed to diagnostic gaps, but the skew remains largely unexplained. Some scientists are turning to basic biology for answers.

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Enrichment lessens Angelman-like traits in male mice

by  /  2 February 2022

Model animals don’t develop the usual behavioral and motor problems when reared in an enclosure containing exercise wheels, toys and treats.

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January 2022
Micrograph of intestinal bacteria.

Infection in pregnant mice ups risk of gut problems in pups

by  /  18 January 2022

Infection during pregnancy can tweak a mouse’s gut microbiome in ways that have lasting effects on her pups’ immune system and increase their chances of gut inflammation, a new study suggests.

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FDA cites hair-based autism diagnostic aid as ‘breakthrough’

by  /  17 January 2022

Despite scant publicly available data, makers of the ‘exposome’-based method say it could help with diagnosing autism and identifying subtypes.

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December 2021
wooden pebble shapes stacked on top of each other, at varying heights, and according to colors of the spectrum.

Autism by the numbers: Explaining its apparent rise

by  /  22 December 2021

For Spectrum’s fourth annual book, we offer a guide to prevalence estimates.

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Illustration of DNA helix highlighting the methylation process.

DNA methylation in autism, explained

by  /  13 December 2021

How chemical tags called methyl groups position themselves on genetic sequences may hint at some of the causes of autism.

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October 2021
Illustration: microbes clumped together forming the shape of a brain. The microbes are pink, blue, aqua, and red. Set against a dark blue background.

Despite flurry of findings, doubts dog gut microbes’ role in autism

by  /  19 October 2021

The possibility of microbial treatments for autism has inspired a burst of research and nascent clinical trials, but new research suggests these efforts rest on shaky scientific ground.

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Rising star: Brian Lee pushes the limits of autism epidemiology

by  /  14 October 2021

Brian Lee has transformed the science of linking prenatal experiences to a child’s chances of having autism; his work taps social skills as well as statistical acumen.

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September 2021

No link between epidurals and autism, two studies confirm

by  /  28 September 2021

Children born to people given an epidural during labor do not have an increased chance of having autism, according to two new studies.

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A concerned man holds his toddler close

Severe infection may raise odds of autism in some children

by  /  17 September 2021

Mock viral infections impair social memory in mice with a mutation tied to autism, and autistic boys are more likely than their non-autistic peers to have had serious infections early in life.

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