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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

December 2020
Micrograph of nerve cells being targeted by CRISPR enzyme to activate the silenced gene in Angelman syndrome
Features / Special Reports / Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

Hot topics in autism research, 2020

23 December 2020

The Spectrum team highlights five topics that distinguished autism research in 2020: diversity in data, gene therapies, subtyping, social circuitry and the ‘autism gene’ debate.

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portrait of Dr. Waganesh Zeleke.
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Waganesh Zeleke

by  /  22 December 2020

Waganesh Zeleke studies how cultural views can shape autistic people’s lives, as well as the lives of those around them.

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Week of DecemberDec
7th
2020
News / Spotted

Spotted around the web: Seeing circuits, a new “hitchhiker’s guide” and ‘gectosomes’

by  /  11 December 2020

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 7 December.

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Depressed teenager sitting on floor in darkened hallway.
News

Co-occurring psychiatric conditions put autistic people at risk for self-harm

by  /  11 December 2020

Autistic people are at an increased risk for intentional self-harm and death by suicide, but co-occurring psychiatric conditions may drive those behaviors.

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Global map of 17,800 human proteins.
News / Toolbox

Proteome map identifies more than 90 percent of all human proteins

by  /  9 December 2020

Researchers expand on the already enormous progress made on the Human Proteome Project

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Two children are interacting with a toy in the shape of a brain.
Opinion / Q&A

How redefining autism could improve research on the condition

by  /  8 December 2020

Ami Klin wants researchers, clinicians and policymakers to think of autism as something inborn that only predisposes a child to certain traits. Early intervention can change the course of development.

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Week of NovemberNov
30th
2020
News / Spotted

Spotted around the web: Dance revolution, Angelman trial, predicting proteins

by  /  4 December 2020

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 30 November.

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Portrait of of Kim Kaiser, Director of programming at Color of Autism.
Opinion / Q&A

How autism researchers can better reach Black families

by  /  1 December 2020

Kim Kaiser spoke with Spectrum about the nonprofit organization The Color of Autism, why researchers fail to reach Black families and what’s needed to fix that disparity.

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November 2020
Illustration shows autistic teen stimming while a policeman reaches for handcuffs.
Features / Special Reports

When autism and law enforcement meet

26 November 2020

As many headlines attest, encounters between autistic people and first responders become fraught far too often, leading to violence and lasting trauma. In this special report, we explore what research tells us about these interactions and training to improve them, as well as the challenges autistic people experience in the criminal justice system.

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Illustration shows person talking to boy with autism sitting on the curb while parents or other community members talk to police.
News

Why autism training for police isn’t enough

by ,  /  26 November 2020

Inconsistent and underfunded training programs may hurt more than they help, experts say.

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