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Signs & Symptoms

Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.

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DNMT3A protein attaches a methyl group tag onto the DNA base cytosine.

Autism-related conditions converge on same loss of DNA tags

by  /  20 January 2021
Mutations in the autism-linked gene DNMT3A lead to the behaviors and gene-expression changes seen in different neurodevelopmental conditions.
News
girl about to catch a ball

Autistic children may have trouble predicting movements

by  /  15 January 2021
Autistic children may have a harder time catching a ball than non-autistic children do, possibly because they are less able to predict its trajectory.
News
SEM of faecal bacteria.

Study hints at microbiome differences in children with autism

by  /  14 January 2021
Children with autism may have a subtly different set of bacteria in their gut than their non-autistic siblings do.
January 2021
Boy sleeping in low light
News

Brain-wave patterns flag sleep differences in dup15q syndrome

by  /  13 January 2021

Children with dup15q syndrome may have telltale patterns of brain activity during sleep and get less non-REM sleep than neurotypical children do.

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Baby getting an MRI scan
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Imaging study casts doubt on cerebellum’s role in autism during infancy

by  /  13 January 2021

Connections between the cerebellum and brain networks do not seem to contribute substantially to the emergence of autism traits.

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Senior man lying down in scanning machine.
News

Studies hint at effects of aging on autistic brains

by  /  12 January 2021

People with autism or autism traits may be especially vulnerable to brain aging and cognitive decline, two studies suggest.

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Two rats interacting
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Female rats master social recognition later than males do

by  /  12 January 2021

Young male rats can recognize rats they’ve recently met, whereas young females treat new acquaintances like strangers, research shows.

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Two teen girls talking on an escalator.
News

Autistic girls, boys differ in how they talk about social groups

by  /  6 January 2021

During conversations, girls with autism use “we,” “they” and other plural personal pronouns differently than autistic boys do.

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Young man at the kitchen sink next to open dishwasher.
News

Daily living skills influence autistic adults’ education, employment options

by  /  5 January 2021

Autistic people’s skill at managing the demands of daily life decline after they leave high school, according to a new study. But those who maintain more abilities are more likely to pursue further education than those who don’t.

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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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White lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand.
Features / Special Reports / Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

Notable papers in autism research, 2020

23 December 2020

Gene therapies and the factors influencing autism traits top Spectrum’s list of the 10 most notable research findings we covered in 2020.

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Stylized DNA molecule
News

Mutations in the same exon linked to similar autism traits

by  /  17 December 2020

People with autism who carry DNA variants in the same protein-coding region of a gene have more similar cognitive abilities and behaviors than those who carry mutations in different regions of the same gene.

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Approximately 24 month old twin girls, one of them reaching for something.
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Genes’ influence on social behaviors shifts with age

by  /  14 December 2020

Some social behaviors associated with autism are heritable, but the extent to which genes and the environment influence these behaviors changes as a child grows.

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