A clever new method records brain activity during live, back-and-forth social interactions and could help scientists study joint attention — the act of looking at an object the same time someone else does.
From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.
The challenge of finding jobs for adults with autism is the focus of a special issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. With the right training and tools, the articles suggest, it’s possible for many people with the disorder to be gainfully employed.
Chromosomal microarray analysis, which screens the entire genome for tiny blips in the sequence, should be the first genetic test performed when diagnosing autism, says a consortium of clinical geneticists. The recommendation comes on the heels of a study that found the test is three times more effective at spotting autism variants than are standard clinical methods.
Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.
Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.
Two independent teams have identified the genetic culprits of three rare, inherited diseases by sequencing the genomes of several members of the same family. As the cost of whole-genome sequencing plummets, this family-based approach will reveal candidate genes not just for rare diseases but for common, complex disorders such as autism, experts say.