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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.

October 2022
A young girl rubs her eyes in a dark room.

Autistic people at increased genetic risk of sleep problems

by  /  18 October 2022

Compared with their unaffected siblings and unrelated controls, children with autism harbor more copy number variants in genes that govern the circadian cycle or are associated with insomnia.

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Photograph of a mouse nesting in a pile of hay.

Scoring mouse behaviors: Q&A with Michael Sidorov

by  /  17 October 2022

A new analysis package enables researchers to distill multiple measures of Angelman syndrome mice into a single ‘severity score.’

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A teacher observes young students as they play with toys at a table.

Social-pragmatic difficulties common with autism, other diagnoses

by  /  4 October 2022

A standard questionnaire can help identify social (pragmatic) communication disorder more readily in school-age children.

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September 2022
Brain slice of a mouse brain showing cells carrying the fragile X mutation.

Fragile X neurons develop atypically in chimeric mice

by  /  29 September 2022

After a brain transplant of reprogrammed human cells, the animals can for the first time recapitulate some neuronal changes seen in people with fragile X syndrome.

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Noah Sasson, a thin white man, stands in a courtyard with his hands in his pockets.

Noah Sasson: Connecting with the autistic community

by  /  15 September 2022

Intentional interactions with autistic people led Sasson to refocus his research.

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David Mandell sits on the steps of a school.

How losing a parent helped shape David Mandell’s approach to autism research

by  /  6 September 2022

Autism’s “fearless” researcher takes on the big questions.

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August 2022
Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null and Noteworthy: Mind reading, specialist shortage, sleep problems source

by  /  23 August 2022

This month, a commonly used emotion-recognition test doesn’t perform as expected — nor does a survey of past efforts to train autism specialists or a hunt for the sources of the sleep problems that often accompany the condition.

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A young boy puts plates on a dining table.

Yen for routine seeds anxiety in autistic children

by  /  16 August 2022

Interventions that moderate a need for ‘sameness’ may prevent anxiety traits.

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Toddler stepping towards parent, in front of window.

What developmental milestones say about autism research: A conversation with Susan Kuo and Elise Robinson

by  /  10 August 2022

Shifts in diagnostic criteria have only added to the condition’s bedeviling heterogeneity, an analysis of smiling, sitting, walking and other early milestones in more than 17,000 autistic children reveals.

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July 2022
Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results.

Null and Noteworthy: Metacognition, balovaptan bust, pattern recognition

by  /  21 July 2022

This month, we pore over null results from a study of the accuracy of emotion recognition skills in autistic people, clinical trials of a vasopressin drug called balovaptan, and an analysis of ‘systemizing’ abilities in autistic children.

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