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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.

July 2011

Lonely hunters

by  /  8 July 2011

Cognitive traits associated with autism may have helped our ancestors survive, according to a fascinating new study. But those traits are no longer an advantage.

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Autism as alibi

by  /  5 July 2011

Some computer hackers are pleading their autism diagnosis to avoid jail time.

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Studying infant sibs of children with autism spectrum disorder

by  /  5 July 2011

Studying the infant siblings of children who have autism to identify early signs of the disorder is expected to have enormous impact on the field from a clinical and a basic science standpoint, says psychologist Karen Dobkins.

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Reclassification of Rett syndrome diagnosis stirs concerns

by  /  4 July 2011

A plan by an American Psychiatric Association revision committee to remove Rett syndrome from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has sparked concern among some parents and researchers. But proponents of the change say the plan has been widely misunderstood, and their goal is better treatment for people with the neurodevelopmental disorder.

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June 2011

Genetic roadmap

by  /  28 June 2011

Sequencing an individual’s entire genome may be the key to tailoring treatments for heterogeneous disorders, suggests a study published 15 June in Science Translational Medicine.

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Diagnostic tests for autism may miss many girls

by  /  27 June 2011

The symptoms of Asperger syndrome look slightly different in girls than in boys, according to a new study. However, gender differences in autism are poorly understood, and the results are preliminary, say other researchers.

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Geek squads

by  /  24 June 2011

A new study pinpoints an autism hotspot in an information technology-rich region in the Netherlands.

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Interactive virtual reality system teaches social skills

by  /  22 June 2011

A virtual reality system equipped with an eye-tracking device helps teenagers with autism learn to engage with others, according to a study published 23 May.

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Left out

by  /  21 June 2011

Under the proposed guidelines for autism diagnosis, some people with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism may lose their diagnosis and, as a result, their access to services, according to a new study.

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Diagnostic brain scans: hope or hype?

by  /  16 June 2011

In the past year, several studies have suggested that brain scans will soon help clinicians diagnose autism. But many experts say these scans are far from — and may never be — ready for use as diagnostic tests.

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