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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.

June 2013

Registered reports

by  /  14 June 2013

The more researchers poke around, the more likely they are to find a significant effect — and the more likely that the effect they end up reporting is just a fluke. A new kind of journal article, the ‘registered report,’ may address this problem, says Jon Brock.

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Virtual public speaking assesses social attention in autism

by  /  12 June 2013

To study attention in people with autism during complex social situations, researchers have developed a virtual reality version of public speaking, according to a study published 20 May in Autism Research.

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Comparing prevalence

by  /  11 June 2013

Cultural factors may explain why attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is diagnosed less frequently in the U.K. than in the U.S., and autism more frequently, suggests a study published 30 May in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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What can studying white matter reveal about autism?

by  /  10 June 2013

Advanced imaging techniques may reveal more precise pictures of how of the brain’s regions communicate with one another. How much of the neurodevelopmental riddle of autism lies in these tracts?

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New imaging techniques probe brain’s long-range connections

by  /  10 June 2013

New techniques to scan the brain can produce exquisitely detailed views of white matter, which contains the long cellular fibers that connect neurons. Many of the advances are emerging from the Human Connectome Project, a five-year push to map the brain’s wiring.

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Sarkis Mazmanian explores probiotics for autism

 /  12 June 2013

Watch the complete replay of Sarkis Mazmanian discussing new findings that support a connection between the gut microbiome and the autism brain. Submit your own follow-up questions.

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May 2013

Music for maladies

by  /  31 May 2013

The lack of substantial evidence to support the use of music therapies for autism limits its implementation in schools and clinics, says Anjana Bhat.
 

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How would you spend $9 million?

by  /  27 May 2013

The National Institute of Mental Health’s $9-million bet on aggressive autism drug development reflects the dearth of treatment options for the disorder. Will this ‘fast-fail’ approach pay off?

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Funding agency shifts focus away from diagnostic groups

by  /  27 May 2013

The National Institute of Mental Health is moving away from research proposals that hew closely to clinical diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder. The announcement has struck many autism researchers as an attack on the already-controversial new diagnostic criteria for the disorder.

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Fast-fail pipeline

by  /  24 May 2013

A $9 million grant to the University of California, Los Angeles aims to drive clinical trials for autism that would quickly rule out ineffective compounds.

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