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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.

January 2013

Survey says

by  /  11 January 2013

Parents who have one child with autism would like a genetic test to predict their next child’s risk of the disorder. But it’s not clear how well the tests work.


Rising interest

by  /  8 January 2013

Since 2000, the number of scientific papers published on autism has been growing faster than the overall rate of scientific publications. 


Exploring enigmatic links between mitochondria and autism

by  /  8 January 2013

Mitochondrial deficits may account for the range of symptoms and neurological deficits seen in autism and explain why it preferentially affects boys, says Douglas Wallace.


Clinical research: Death rate high in autism

by  /  8 January 2013

Of the 305 people diagnosed with autism in Utah in the 1980s, 29 have died. This is about ten times higher than the death rate in the general population during the same time period, according to a study published 25 September in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


How can we fix gender bias?

by  /  7 January 2013

Despite improved opportunities for women in science over the past few decades, new evidence confirms that real bias still exists. How would you fix it?

A 3D digital rendering of a human face in profile.

Conversation with avatar teaches social skills

by  /  2 January 2013

In a virtual reality game intended to improve social skills in teenagers with autism, the players must ask computer avatars the right questions while seeming engaged in the conversation. The game was described 27 September in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.

December 2012

Brothers and sisters

by  /  18 December 2012

People with autism have fewer children than average, and so do their brothers, according to a study of Swedes born between 1950 and 1970.


Can we crowdsource autism research?

by  /  17 December 2012

Sebastian Seung launched a new online community game that aims to map the trillions of connections in the human brain. How might crowdsourcing advance autism research?


How to undo stereotypes that hinder women in science

by  /  11 December 2012

Late this summer, a paper from Yale University researchers led by Jo Handelsman delivered some sobering news: There is still a clear bias against female scientists. The findings confirm the impression of many women in science, at all career levels, who feel undervalued.


Coloring book

by  /  10 December 2012

Sebastian Seung invites an online community of citizen scientists to revolutionize neuroscience by mapping connections between the brain’s neurons.