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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.

November 2011

Fred Volkmar: A decades-long perspective on autism research

by  /  8 November 2011

Over the past 30 years, autism research pioneer Fred Volkmar says he has learned that researchers should be humble when assigning meaning to autism behavior, and seek to translate their findings into useful applications.  


Young brains

by  /  4 November 2011

A large, centralized bank of brain tissue from young people could greatly accelerate autism research. Thanks to a growing interest from nonprofit organizations, the idea is finally gaining momentum.


Genetics: Size of 22q13 deletion predicts clinical features

by  /  4 November 2011

In a study of people missing an autism-linked region on chromosome 22, researchers have found that the larger the deletion, the more likely the individual is to have severe symptoms, from motor and speech delays to a large head and fleshy hands.


Sequencing technique optimal for postmortem brains

by  /  2 November 2011

A technique for detecting gene expression that detects short RNA messages is better suited than traditional methods for analyzing postmortem brain tissue, according to a study published 10 September in BMC Genomics.


Autistics speak

by  /  1 November 2011

Today marks the second annual Autistics Speaking Day, when people turn to social networks to raise autism awareness.

October 2011

Machine-learning tool offers rapid autism diagnosis

by  /  27 October 2011

A five-minute online questionnaire can diagnose autism with as much accuracy as the so-called gold standard diagnostic tests, according to unpublished findings presented Tuesday at the Autism Consortium 2011 symposium in Boston.


Clinical research: Income has no effect on rates of autism

by  /  25 October 2011

A large epidemiological study in Utah that relies on tax information and health records shows that income level does not affect the odds of having a child with autism or intellectual disability.


Later-born children at higher risk for autism

by  /  24 October 2011

In families that have more than one child with autism, the middle children, particularly those born second, have a higher risk of developing autism than other children in the family, according to a study published 19 October in PLoS One. In families that have only one child with autism, however, risk of the disorder rises with each additional birth, the study found.


Upright citizens

by  /  18 October 2011

Adolescents with autism may not use abstract reasoning to understand why certain acts are wrong, but they know the difference between a moral transgression and a social blunder.


Fast-evolving gene is key player in brain development

by  /  14 October 2011

A gene that changed rapidly after the human genome diverged from that of Neanderthals plays a critical role in brain development, according to unpublished results presented Thursday at the International Congress of Human Genetics in Montreal, Canada.