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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.

October 2013
Photograph of a young girl laying in bed with her eyes open.

Sleep deprivation

by  /  18 October 2013

Children with autism go to sleep later, wake up earlier and have less restful sleep than other children their age, reports an 11-year study published 23 September.


Automated tool spies on multiple mice simultaneously

by  /  16 October 2013

Researchers have developed software that can automatically track and catalog the behavior of up to four mice at once, according to a study published 16 September in PLoS One.


ESSENCE: From defined categories to broad understanding

by  /  8 October 2013

Clinicians should place children under age 5 who have developmental delay into a broad diagnostic category, called ESSENCE, which may then resolve into any number of individual diagnoses over time, says Christopher Gillberg. 


Conflicting messages

by  /  4 October 2013

Two contradictory studies prompt questions about the reliability of self-report questionnaires in autism.


Superior math skills may accompany autism, study suggests

by  /  3 October 2013

Some children with autism show unique patterns of brain activation while solving math problems, particularly in a brain region normally used for face processing, suggests a study published 15 August in Biological Psychiatry.


Screen test

by  /  1 October 2013

Age-based cutoff scores for BISCUIT, an early diagnostic tool for children with autism traits, help clinicians accurately identify children who also have other disorders, says Johnny Matson.

A crowd of people viewed from above forms the shape of a DNA helix.

Genetics: Common variants key in psychiatric inheritance

by  /  1 October 2013

More of the common variants implicated in schizophrenia are also linked to bipolar disorder than to autism, according to a study published 28 August in Nature Genetics.

September 2013

Mind the gender gap

by  /  27 September 2013

Autism may be male-biased in prevalence, but our understanding of it should not be, argues Meng-Chuan Lai.


New method uses light to toggle gene expression

by  /  25 September 2013

Researchers have modified optogenetics — a technique that activates neurons in mouse brains with beams of light — to toggle a gene on or off. They reported the advance 22 August in Nature.


What does the existence of long genes tell us?

by  /  23 September 2013

Long genes, and their relationship to a class of enzymes that regulate gene expression, raise intriguing questions about the risk for neuropsychiatric disorders.