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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.

September 2021
Illustration shows two octopi interacting on a yellow background.

Getting eight arms around autism

by  /  8 September 2021

Octopuses can solve some of the same problems as people but do so in unusual ways.

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A lighthearted, colorful, chaotic lab scene with fruit flies flying in formation, worms peeking out of piles of dirt and zebrafish spilling out of beakers.

What studying worms, flies and fish says about autism

by  /  8 September 2021

Researchers are increasingly turning to simple animals to learn about autism biology and find leads for new drugs.

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Portrait of Dr. Eric Fombonne at home.

Eric Fombonne: Crossing continents to expand autism science

by  /  7 September 2021

A Paris-born child psychiatrist, Fombonne has advanced bold positions on the cause, prevalence and nature of autism during a career spanning four countries.

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Stack of journals.

Autism study earns ‘expression of concern’ over unavailable data

by  /  3 September 2021

An autism brain imaging study published seven years ago received an expression of concern last month after its authors failed to uphold a promise to make their raw data freely available.

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August 2021

Validating autism subtypes: A crucial but often overlooked step in research

by ,  /  31 August 2021

Studies of autism subtypes rarely validate their results, and this has led to a proliferation of autism subtypes of questionable utility. But reliable subtyping can help improve the prognosis for and care of autistic people.

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Mom and toddler with audio recording device

Video: Wearable sensors pick up early signs of autism

by  /  30 August 2021

Audio and motion-sensor recordings offer a remote window into a baby’s first years and make it easier for families to participate in research.

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Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria cultured from a sample of human faeces.

New library catalogs the human gut microbiome

by  /  25 August 2021

Researchers put hundreds of gut bacteria strains through their paces to chart the compounds each creates — and to help others explore the flora’s potential contribution to autism.

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Illustration shows a woman thinking as she is surrounded by signs with feelings on them and question marks.

Measuring alexithymia in autistic people

by ,  /  24 August 2021

Despite the growing interest in alexithymia in autism research, the tools commonly used to measure this trait may not work reliably in autistic populations. A new scoring method fills that gap.

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Illustration of brain showing overexcited and underexcited parts of the brain represented by jagged and loose squiggles.

Disruptions to brain’s ‘thermostat’ may underpin autism traits

by  /  18 August 2021

Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.

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Closeup of tiny newborn hand gripping tip of adult thumb.

Large study strengthens link between autism, preterm birth

by  /  11 August 2021

Premature birth is tied to an increased chance of having autism, according to the largest study yet looking for a potential connection.

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