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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.

August 2021
Colorful illustration of child's brain with electrodes connected EEG wave patterns, DNA strand, and playing siblings.

Connecting autism-linked genetic variation to infant social behavior

by ,  /  10 August 2021

Integrating genetic analyses into studies of babies’ brain development could help us understand how autism-related genes contribute to autism traits.

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Twin boys sleeping on green sheets.

Genetic roots of sleep issues, autism may be entwined

by  /  9 August 2021

The same genetic factors may underlie both autism and autistic people’s tendency to have sleep problems, such as insomnia.

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July 2021
Illustration shows a woman whose mouth is covered by a cloud and whos eyes are covered by a cloud.

Double empathy, explained

by  /  22 July 2021

The double empathy theory challenges the idea that social difficulties are specific to autism and suggests that problems arise from a mismatch in perspective between autistic and non-autistic people.

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Four brown lab mice in a cage, top-down view, with one mouse away from the group.

Autism-linked mutation may blur brain’s boundary between self, others

by  /  15 July 2021

A mutation in the autism-linked gene SHANK3 changes how neurons encode information about social agency in mice.

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Illustration shows yellow landscape with blue sections and a lot of trains on paths with kids on the trains, going different directions.

Mapping the futures of autistic children

by  /  14 July 2021

Researchers can roughly project what autistic children’s lives will look like years down the road. But how good is their crystal ball — and what are its benefits?

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June 2021
Two people having an intense conversation, one unable to make direct eye contact.

Alexithymia, not autism, may drive eye-gaze patterns

by  /  14 June 2021

How autistic people look at a face may be linked more to alexithymia, a condition marked by difficulties recognizing one’s own emotions, than to autism.

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A sheet of paper cut into shreds, and then re-aligned into its original shape.

Copyright claim prompts retraction of study on alexithymia in autism

by  /  9 June 2021

After a study revised a popular measure for alexithymia, it was pulled for copyright infringement because the authors did not pay a $40 fee or obtain permission to use the measure.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

by  /  4 June 2021

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

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May 2021
3D mouse rendering

Virtual mouse helps scientists track behavior

by  /  27 May 2021

An animated mouse reenacts common behavioral experiments and can be used to train algorithms that automatically track lab animals’ movements.

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The first Dutch boy with ‘autism’ — and the nun who cared for him

by  /  25 May 2021

The recognition of autism independently at different times and across different cultures shows the condition has clear boundaries, despite considerable heterogeneity.

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