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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.

February 2022
Conceptual illustration of child sleeping under blanket with multiple EEG waves overlaid on top and a window on left showing it is daytime and window on right showing nighttime.

Cracking autism’s sleep conundrum

by  /  25 February 2022

Sleep problems may contribute to or derive from autism traits — or both. After decades of work, researchers are beginning to uncover the biological connections between the two conditions, revealing new paths to potential treatments.

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January 2022
Overhead view of crowd of people walking in Copenhagen city square.

Population study downgrades some copy number variants’ impact on autism

by  /  28 January 2022

Some copy number variants may boost a person’s chances of having autism, but to a lesser extent than previously thought.

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December 2021

Trends in autism research 2021

 /  23 December 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, Spectrum recaps some of the biggest trends in autism science this year: studies of sex differences, noncoding regions of the genome and points of convergence, as well as efforts to improve screening and participatory research.

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wooden pebble shapes stacked on top of each other, at varying heights, and according to colors of the spectrum.

Autism by the numbers: Explaining its apparent rise

by  /  22 December 2021

For Spectrum’s fourth annual book, we offer a guide to prevalence estimates.

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Cluster of traits tied to rare mutations in autism-linked gene

by  /  20 December 2021

Developmental delay, intellectual disability and behavioral issues are common among people who have mutations in MYT1L, a gene with strong ties to autism.

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Artificial intelligence system categorizes interactions between mice

by  /  17 December 2021

New software can automatically identify and quantify mouse social behavior from videos, saving researchers time.

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Myelin loss may explain how autism-linked DNA deletion affects cognition

by  /  8 December 2021

Deleting a copy of the gene TBX1 depletes the fatty myelin insulation that surrounds neurons and reduces cognitive speed in mice.

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October 2021

How an understudied trait has skewed autism studies for decades

by  /  27 October 2021

Many autistic people have a little-known trait called alexithymia, defined as having difficulty identifying one’s own emotions. New research suggests that the overlap has been confounding studies of emotional issues in people with autism for decades.

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Photo: A boy in a yellow long-sleeve shirt washes his hands in a public restroom.

Inflexible thinking in adolescence linked to emotional, behavioral issues in adulthood

by  /  22 October 2021

Treating cognitive inflexibility — for example, by practicing problem-solving — might help ease anxiety and depression in autistic people.

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How traits relate to brain activity may differ between autistic boys, girls

by  /  11 October 2021

Scientists should heed these differences when considering resting-state brain activity as a biomarker for autism, the researchers say.

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