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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.

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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New benchmark for autism scale may help gauge therapies

by  /  18 May 2021

Researchers have defined a change in score on a popular autism rating scale that signifies a meaningful improvement in core traits. The measure could help scientists assess the effectiveness of autism treatments in clinical trials.

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Two women making eye contact while talking with each other.

Social attention shows sex difference in autism

by  /  14 May 2021

Autistic boys and men are less attuned to social stimuli than autistic girls and women are, according to new unpublished work.

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Humorous photograph shows a young man with plastic sunglasses on that match the patterns around him, surveys a tabletop scene of patterned objects.

Finding strengths in autism

by  /  12 May 2021

Autism comprises a set of difficulties, but growing evidence suggests that certain abilities also define the condition.

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Boy in front of colorful constellation or universe, studying the realms of outer space.

The benefits of special interests in autism

by  /  12 May 2021

Researchers are studying how the intense passions of autistic people shape the brain, improve well-being and enhance learning.

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Fetal brain scans may forecast autism traits in toddlers

by  /  7 May 2021

Children with highly folded and curved brains in utero tend to show autism-linked behaviors at 18 months of age, according to a longitudinal brain-imaging study.

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