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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Signs & Symptoms

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

Trends in autism research 2021

23 December 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, Spectrum recaps some of the biggest trends in autism science this year: studies of sex differences, noncoding regions of the genome and points of convergence, as well as efforts to improve screening and participatory research.
wooden pebble shapes stacked on top of each other, at varying heights, and according to colors of the spectrum.

Autism by the numbers: Explaining its apparent rise

by  /  22 December 2021
For Spectrum’s fourth annual book, we offer a guide to prevalence estimates.

Cluster of traits tied to rare mutations in autism-linked gene

by  /  20 December 2021
Developmental delay, intellectual disability and behavioral issues are common among people who have mutations in MYT1L, a gene with strong ties to autism.
December 2021

Artificial intelligence system categorizes interactions between mice

by  /  17 December 2021

New software can automatically identify and quantify mouse social behavior from videos, saving researchers time.

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Myelin loss may explain how autism-linked DNA deletion affects cognition

by  /  8 December 2021

Deleting a copy of the gene TBX1 depletes the fatty myelin insulation that surrounds neurons and reduces cognitive speed in mice.

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October 2021

How an understudied trait has skewed autism studies for decades

by  /  27 October 2021

Many autistic people have a little-known trait called alexithymia, defined as having difficulty identifying one’s own emotions. New research suggests that the overlap has been confounding studies of emotional issues in people with autism for decades.

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Photo: A boy in a yellow long-sleeve shirt washes his hands in a public restroom.

Inflexible thinking in adolescence linked to emotional, behavioral issues in adulthood

by  /  22 October 2021

Treating cognitive inflexibility — for example, by practicing problem-solving — might help ease anxiety and depression in autistic people.

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How traits relate to brain activity may differ between autistic boys, girls

by  /  11 October 2021

Scientists should heed these differences when considering resting-state brain activity as a biomarker for autism, the researchers say.

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A black and white photo of Zachary J. Williams

Webinar: Zachary J. Williams on autism, alexithymia and outcome measurement

28 October 2021

On 28 October, Zachary J. Williams, a medical and doctoral student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, spoke about measuring alexithymia in autistic people and the importance of developing and validating measures for specific populations.

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September 2021
Researcher hands on three brain images taken at different ages, of different conditions.

The search for a link between autism and neurodegenerative conditions

by  /  28 September 2021

Autistic people have a higher-than-average chance of developing a neurodegenerative condition, according to a few studies. Some scientists are searching for proof — work that could also improve care for older autistic adults.

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Person with documents and a green pen.

New screen assesses suicidality in autistic adults

by  /  22 September 2021

A short questionnaire created in consultation with autistic people is the first of its kind to accurately gauge suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adults on the spectrum.

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Child makes a row of flowers on the ground.

Repetitive behaviors wax and wane among autistic youth

by  /  20 September 2021

Some types of restricted and repetitive behaviors become more prevalent among autistic children and teenagers over time, depending on their age and intellectual ability, whereas others decrease.

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Scientist Ethan Scott takes aim with a bow and arrow in his backyard.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Ethan Scott

by  /  13 September 2021

Ethan Scott packs his lab with math, physics and computer science experts to decode sensory brain networks in zebrafish models of autism.

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