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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
DNMT3A protein attaches a methyl group tag onto the DNA base cytosine.
News

Autism-related conditions converge on same loss of DNA tags

by  /  20 January 2021

Mutations in the autism-linked gene DNMT3A lead to the behaviors and gene-expression changes seen in different neurodevelopmental conditions.

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girl about to catch a ball
News

Autistic children may have trouble predicting movements

by  /  15 January 2021

Autistic children may have a harder time catching a ball than non-autistic children do, possibly because they are less able to predict its trajectory.

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SEM of faecal bacteria.
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Study hints at microbiome differences in children with autism

by  /  14 January 2021

Children with autism may have a subtly different set of bacteria in their gut than their non-autistic siblings do.

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Boy sleeping in low light
News

Brain-wave patterns flag sleep differences in dup15q syndrome

by  /  13 January 2021

Children with dup15q syndrome may have telltale patterns of brain activity during sleep and get less non-REM sleep than neurotypical children do.

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Baby getting an MRI scan
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Imaging study casts doubt on cerebellum’s role in autism during infancy

by  /  13 January 2021

Connections between the cerebellum and brain networks do not seem to contribute substantially to the emergence of autism traits.

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Senior man lying down in scanning machine.
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Studies hint at effects of aging on autistic brains

by  /  12 January 2021

People with autism or autism traits may be especially vulnerable to brain aging and cognitive decline, two studies suggest.

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Two rats interacting
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Female rats master social recognition later than males do

by  /  12 January 2021

Young male rats can recognize rats they’ve recently met, whereas young females treat new acquaintances like strangers, research shows.

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Two teen girls talking on an escalator.
News

Autistic girls, boys differ in how they talk about social groups

by  /  6 January 2021

During conversations, girls with autism use “we,” “they” and other plural personal pronouns differently than autistic boys do.

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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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