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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

A toy or abacus with emoji-styled yellow faces instead of beads. The faces show different expressions, with many happy faces that are on the outside of the main framework.

‘Flourishing’ measure may not hold up for autistic children

by  /  29 March 2023
Evidence of measurement bias undermines past claims about autistic children’s lower well-being.
Computer-generated image of mountains against a black background.

Detecting a signal amid noise in autism early-intervention research

by , ,  /  28 March 2023
Studies of behavioral treatments for autism are complex and can easily be misunderstood. Here we provide some guidance.
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Community Newsletter: Suicide in autism; neural cell isolation; analysis of autism genes

by  /  26 March 2023
Discussion on social media revolved around a meta-analysis of suicidality in autism, a method to purify neural stem and progenitor cells, and autism-linked genes in zebrafish.
March 2023
Week of MarchMar

Spotted around the web: Connectome resource; GIGYF1 gene; eLife controversy

by ,  /  24 March 2023

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 20 March.

Overhead picture of a racially diverse group of children playing while lying on a blue carpet.

U.S. autism prevalence continues to rise as race and sex gaps shrink, new stats show

by  /  23 March 2023

About 1 in 36 children in the United States has autism, up almost 20 percent from the previous estimate, reflecting improved identification, particularly among girls and Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander children.

Three groups of people meet and mix at a crossroads.

Letter to the editor: Researchers must bridge disconnect at ‘autism crossroads’

Two groups of researchers respond to Spectrum’s article about the power struggle among researchers, self-advocates and families, calling on their autistic and non-autistic colleagues to work collaboratively and promote equity in autism research.

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Community Newsletter: Tracing fruit fly, human connectomes

by  /  19 March 2023

Researchers took to Twitter this week to discuss the most complete map of brain structure to date — that of a larval fruit fly — and the largest-yet human brain connectivity resource.

Week of MarchMar

Spotted around the web: Brain imaging replicability; CRISPR-edited neurons; sex-based variability in mice

by , ,  /  17 March 2023

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 13 March.

Drop of liquid medicine with air bubbles is dripping from a pipette on a light pink background.

FDA approval of trofinetide may spur further drug development for Rett

by  /  16 March 2023

The drug, welcomed by patients, might be just the first of many.

Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null and Noteworthy: Registered reports; motor measurements; viral DNA

by  /  16 March 2023

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, Spectrum talks with a Nature editor about the journal’s move to publish more null results.

Many mouths making conversation, with speech bubbles in red and blue.

Community Newsletter: Two new mouse brain atlases, plus female mouse behavior

by  /  12 March 2023

Three murine studies — two of cell types in the mouse brain plus a look at behavioral sex differences — dominated researchers’ attention on Twitter this week.

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Spectrum Launch: How early-career researchers can use ChatGPT to boost productivity

by  /  9 March 2023

The new tool may pose challenges for the scientific community, but used wisely, it can help researchers save time and resources.

A group of doctors sit and talk in a hospital lounge.

Doctors with autism speak out against stigma

by ,  /  9 March 2023

Autistic clinicians have long hid their diagnosis from colleagues, but some are beginning to share their stories to ignite change.