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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.

January 2011

Gender bias

by  /  13 January 2011

Doctors are more likely to miss autism in girls, even when their symptoms are as severe as those of boys, adding to the gender bias that exists in autism.


IQ scores not a good measure of function in autism

by  /  6 January 2011

Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists. The assumption underlying the use of high IQ as a synonym for high functioning is suspect because social and communicative abilities may have a far greater impact on an individual’s daily interactions.


High-tech national project set to trace brain’s connections

by  /  4 January 2011

Over the next five years, dozens of researchers funded by the $40 million ‘NIH Human Connectome Project’ will map the circuits of the human brain, tracing neural pathways and learning how different regions work together in synchrony.

December 2010

The culture of gender

by  /  29 December 2010

Delusions of Gender takes issue with sexism disguised as scientific fact. I think the book is a provocative cautionary tale for autism researchers.



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.