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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.

March 2019
Microscope image of microbes.

Genome catalog bolsters global microbiome research

by  /  22 March 2019

The largest-yet attempt to characterize the global diversity of the human microbiome — the population of microbes that live in our bodies — has found 4,930 species, 77 percent of which were previously unknown.

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Does vitamin use in pregnancy alter autism risk? Maybe, maybe not

by  /  4 March 2019

Despite the hype around a new study, it may be too soon to conclude that taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy lowers the child’s chances of autism.

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February 2019
baby in utero, with placenta and antibodies and molecules

What the placenta could reveal about autism

by  /  19 February 2019

Understanding the interactions between the placenta and the uterine lining could explain how maternal immune activation leads to autism.

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Lab-grown placentas, cell atlas may aid study of early pregnancy

by  /  1 February 2019

A cell atlas and a cell-culture method promise to advance scientists’ understanding of the placenta and its effects on a fetus.

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January 2019

Gut microbes may treat social difficulties in autism mice

by  /  16 January 2019

Consuming Lactobacillus reuteri, a gut microbe found in yogurt and breast milk, may enhance social interactions in three mouse models of autism.

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December 2018
Siblings, a baby and a toddler, play together at home.

How pregnancy may shape a child’s autism

by  /  5 December 2018

Autism is predominantly genetic in origin, but a growing list of prenatal exposures for mother and baby may sway the odds.

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November 2018
Two white mice, one on a wheel, sniff noses.

Infection during childhood may aggravate autism risk from mutation

by  /  7 November 2018

Triggering an immune defense in newborn male mice missing a copy of TSC2, a gene linked to autism, impairs the mice’s social memory.

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Inflammation in womb may spawn autism-like traits in males

by  /  6 November 2018

Chronic exposure to inflammation in the womb alters autism gene expression and disrupts social behavior in male mice, but not females.

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Illustration shows a maze of elements: human brain, medicine, chromosome, factory, clouds and lightning bolts

Environmental risk for autism, explained

by  /  5 November 2018

Autism results from an interplay between genetics and the environment, but it has been tough to nail down the environmental factors involved.

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A white lab rat on a grey background.

Brain scans of rats reveal molecular clues to autism’s link

by  /  4 November 2018

Rats exposed prenatally to a cocktail of ‘autoimmune’ molecules have altered levels of two types of compounds needed for brain development.

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