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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.

December 2012

What does a genetic mosaic tell us?

by  /  10 December 2012

New work suggests that the skin, a common source for deriving induced pluripotent stem cells, is a genetic mosaic. What does this mean for stem cell research? Are there implications for the human brain?

Teachers and students talk with each other while walking through a corridor.

Culture: Diverse diagnostics

by  /  6 December 2012

The study of autism around the globe must account for a variety of behavioural norms in different societies.


Perspective: Imaging autism

by  /  6 December 2012

Several studies in the past two years have claimed that brain scans can diagnose autism, but this assertion is deeply flawed, says Nicholas Lange.


Study allays fears about usefulness of induced stem cells

by  /  6 December 2012

Some of the genetic variability seen in stem cells derived from skin arises from differences in the skin cells themselves, according to a study published 18 November in Nature. The findings have implications for both stem cell research and our understanding of human biology.


Cognition and behavior: Gender influences autism symptoms

by  /  5 December 2012

Men with autism struggle with attention to detail and dexterity, according to a study published 17 October in PLoS One. Men and women with the disorder both have trouble with social skills, however.

Collage of an image of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Sobering sample

by  /  4 December 2012

A survey of health and education professionals finds that about half of them object to the proposed changes in the diagnostic criteria for autism.


Subtle language

by  /  3 December 2012

We now know that people with autism have a much broader range of language ability than previously thought. How can we measure subtle language deficits in this group?

November 2012

Animal assistance

by  /  27 November 2012

There’s little rigorous evidence on whether animals help people with autism become more sociable, or which people with the disorder might benefit the most.


Defining language deficits across autism spectrum

by ,  /  27 November 2012

We are on the verge of a seismic shift in the definition of autism spectrum disorders, says David Skuse. Under proposed guidelines for autism diagnosis, the canard that most people with the disorder cannot speak, or have such disordered language that they cannot sustain a conversation, has been abandoned.


Genetics: Paternal chromosome prime source of Rett mutation

by  /  23 November 2012

Most cases of Rett syndrome in China are the result of mutations on the paternal copy of MeCP2, according to a study published 27 August in the European Journal of Medical Genetics.