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Signs & Symptoms

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

January 2021
Young man at the kitchen sink next to open dishwasher.
News

Daily living skills influence autistic adults’ education, employment options

by  /  5 January 2021

Autistic people’s skill at managing the demands of daily life decline after they leave high school, according to a new study. But those who maintain more abilities are more likely to pursue further education than those who don’t.

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December 2020
Micrograph of nerve cells being targeted by CRISPR enzyme to activate the silenced gene in Angelman syndrome
Features / Special Reports / Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

Hot topics in autism research, 2020

23 December 2020

The Spectrum team highlights five topics that distinguished autism research in 2020: diversity in data, gene therapies, subtyping, social circuitry and the ‘autism gene’ debate.

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White lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand.
Features / Special Reports / Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

Notable papers in autism research, 2020

23 December 2020

Gene therapies and the factors influencing autism traits top Spectrum’s list of the 10 most notable research findings we covered in 2020.

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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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