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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.

Researchers publish new dataset on minimally verbal autistic people

by  /  18 May 2022
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published the first repository of vocalizations from minimally verbal autistic people. Those with few or no spoken words still produce a range of phonemes, or units of sound, that may serve as developmental markers or intervention targets.
Child in dark room with thermometer showing 100.8.

Fever doesn’t ease challenging traits in most autistic children

by  /  17 May 2022
The findings contradict a previous study, whose design may have been biased to find an effect.
Scientist Lucia Peixoto portrait.

Rising star: Lucia Peixoto, breaking down the interplay between sleep and autism

by  /  9 May 2022
The young researcher from Uruguay uses her expertise in genetics — and discipline as a former athlete — to untangle sleep's role in neurodevelopmental conditions, one experiment at a time.
April 2022
Book cover conceptual illustration of chromosome superimposed with genetic tree.

A whisper of autism: Fragile X carriers and the autism phenotype

by  /  21 April 2022

Among people who carry the fragile X premutation, about 14 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls meet the criteria for autism, but the ‘broad autism phenotype’ may be far more common.

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Faulty inhibition foils long-term memory in Rett mice

by  /  11 April 2022

The animals recall fear more readily if a set of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus is switched on.

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Autism and menopause: Q&A with Rachel Moseley and Julie Turner-Cobb

by  /  7 April 2022

Menopause poses significant challenges for autistic people, according to a small survey published in 2020 — the first to explore the transition among people with autism traits.

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March 2022

Web-based autism screening service raises a host of concerns

by  /  21 March 2022

Neurona Health, a company in San Francisco, California, backed away from part of its newly launched services after Spectrum started reporting about them.

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A family of Macaques aat the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Macaques’ social skills tied to variation in autism-linked genes

by  /  7 March 2022

Genetics strongly influences some aspects of the monkey’s social behavior, including tendencies to solicit grooming and sit or play alone.

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February 2022
Woman going over homework with distracted child.

Early language loss in autistic children not tied to later communication problems

by  /  28 February 2022

Many autistic children experience language regression for about three months in early childhood, but this lapse does not appear to foretell future communication issues.

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Conceptual illustration of child sleeping under blanket with multiple EEG waves overlaid on top and a window on left showing it is daytime and window on right showing nighttime.

Cracking autism’s sleep conundrum

by  /  25 February 2022

Sleep problems may contribute to or derive from autism traits — or both. After decades of work, researchers are beginning to uncover the biological connections between the two conditions, revealing new paths to potential treatments.

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January 2022
Overhead view of crowd of people walking in Copenhagen city square.

Population study downgrades some copy number variants’ impact on autism

by  /  28 January 2022

Some copy number variants may boost a person’s chances of having autism, but to a lesser extent than previously thought.

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December 2021

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.

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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.

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