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Signs & Symptoms

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

December 2020
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.
News

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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Depressed teenager sitting on floor in darkened hallway.
News

Co-occurring psychiatric conditions put autistic people at risk for self-harm

by  /  11 December 2020

Autistic people are at an increased risk for intentional self-harm and death by suicide, but co-occurring psychiatric conditions may drive those behaviors.

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The illustration shows two plates of food, one full of a variety of foods, and another with a few foods arranged in a particular way.
News

Anorexia’s link to autism, explained

by  /  7 December 2020

People with anorexia are more likely to be autistic than those without the eating disorder, but the interplay between the two conditions is complex.

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Cells transporting NCKAP1 protein in and out of nucleus
News

Rare variants tied to neuronal migration, autism traits

by  /  4 December 2020

Many people with mutations in the NCKAP1 gene have autism or autism traits, according to a new study spanning seven countries.

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November 2020
Owen leaving his home for a bike ride, followed by his therapists and teachers.
Features / Deep Dive

Owen’s odyssey: A year and a half after an autism diagnosis

by  /  25 November 2020

This is part 2 of Owen’s story. It tracks his early progress in treatment for autism. Part 1 described his difficult path to a diagnosis.

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Young zebrafish have transparent skin, which allows researchers to track the movements of glowing beads of excrement through their gut.
News

Zebrafish and ‘Smurf cakes’ link autism gene mutation to digestive woes

by  /  24 November 2020

Mutations in a top autism gene called SYNGAP1 slow the rate at which zebrafish digest food and pass waste, and may also disrupt gut function in people.

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Researcher-provided images show experiment that tracks gaze.
News

Autistic people do not shift attention based on social cues

by  /  16 November 2020

A new eye-tracking study highlights how social cues shape attention differently in people with and without autism.

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Photograph shows young woman and older woman discussing paperwork.
News

‘Theory of mind’ does not fade with age among autistic adults

by  /  13 November 2020

Autistic people’s ability to understand another person’s thinking does not diminish with age, as it does for non-autistic people.

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News

Difficulty identifying emotions linked to poor mental health in autistic people

by  /  12 November 2020

Autistic people who have trouble identifying their emotions are also likely to have anxiety, depression and problems with social communication.

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