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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 2010


by  /  29 December 2010

In her new book, Cordelia Fine argues that the brain is sexed by society, not by biology. But by quoting only studies that support her perspective, she abandons objectivity for polemic.


Robots spark social play in children with autism

by  /  23 December 2010

Children with autism play eagerly with robots — and their social interactions with people improve as a result.


BAP and blue

by  /  22 December 2010

Depression in mothers of children with autism may not be a consequence of their child’s condition, but of their own genetic profile, says a provocative new study.


New technology advances studies of gait in autism

by  /  16 December 2010

A three-dimensional motion-capture system developed for film animation has found subtle differences in hip and ankle movement in children with autism compared with typically developing controls.


Clinical research: Rewards foster creativity in children with autism

by  /  10 December 2010

Positive reinforcement can help children with autism break out of repetitive patterns of play. Results from a study broadly suggest that behavioral intervention can improve creativity in these children.


Calming neurons may ease apnea in Rett syndrome

by  /  9 December 2010

A controversial new approach that quiets the activity of certain neurons in the brain alleviates breathing difficulties in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, according to a study published 4 October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Stimulating research

by  /  6 December 2010

The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), created by the National Institutes of Health to ease data sharing among autism researchers, has released the first batch of data on more than 10,000 participants enrolled in federally funded autism research studies.


Defects in mitochondria linked to autism

by  /  3 December 2010

Cells drawn from a small sample of children with autism show defects in the functioning of their mitochondria — structures that produce energy to power cellular functions — according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Schools of thought

by  /  2 December 2010

Cases of autism in some high-risk areas are leveling off, argues a new study published in November in Pediatrics.

November 2010

Molecular mechanisms: Researchers light up interactions between neurons

by  /  30 November 2010

Researchers have developed a technique to detect interactions in live neurons between neuroligins and neurexins — two proteins known to bind at the junction between neurons, according to a study published 29 October in Cell.