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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.

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.

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.

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.
September 2021
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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August 2021
Pregnant woman holding two white pills in her hand.

Prenatal exposure to antipsychotic medication does not increase odds of autism, ADHD

by  /  20 August 2021

Children born to mothers who take antipsychotic drugs during pregnancy are not more likely to have autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or to be born preterm or underweight.

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July 2021
Young child sitting at table with head down, asleep.

Autistic children’s sleep problems linked to behavioral regulation issues

by  /  5 July 2021

Young autistic children with sleep troubles tend to have difficulty regulating their behavior later in childhood.

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April 2021
Baby in utero surrounded by pills, on bright blue background

The link between vitamins, supplements and autism, explained

by  /  14 April 2021

Too little — or too much — of certain substances during pregnancy may increase the odds of having a child with autism. Here we explain what scientists know about these associations.

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Twin sisters spending their time using laptop and smart phone at home

Genes drive autistic people’s reactivity to environmental cues

by  /  2 April 2021

Genes influence how autistic people react to sights, sounds and other sensory cues, whereas environmental factors shape their tendency to notice and seek out such stimuli, a new study in twins suggests.

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March 2021

Innate stress response may link maternal infection to autism

by  /  19 March 2021

A typically protective stress response could help to explain the connection between maternal illness and neurodevelopmental conditions.

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Operating room scene shows baby being guided out of belly of mother during a c-section.

Cesarean delivery unlikely to sway child’s likelihood of autism

by  /  17 March 2021

Autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions are more common among children born by C-section than those delivered vaginally, but the procedure itself does not underlie the association, according to a new study.

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October 2020
Collecting blood sample from bottom of newborn's foot for blood test.

Immune markers in newborns show complex relationship with autism odds

by  /  19 October 2020

Newborns with either above- or below-average levels of an immune-system marker, among other differences, have increased odds of being autistic.

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August 2020
Woman rolling a marijuana joint.

Researchers urge caution over study linking marijuana to autism

by  /  18 August 2020

Women who use marijuana while pregnant may be more likely to give birth to an autistic child. But investigators call for a cautious interpretation of the results.

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June 2020

Decade of data dents idea of a ‘female protective effect’

by  /  12 June 2020

Brothers and sisters of people with autism are both about two to three times more likely than the general population to have an autistic child themselves.

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