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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

August 2021
Close-up profile of child with focus on eye.

Visual response shows promise as biomarker in autism-linked condition

by  /  23 August 2021

Brain responses to visual stimuli are smaller and weaker in children with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, an autism-linked genetic condition, than in non-autistic children.

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Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Community Newsletter: Parental perceptions of autism over time, a new therapy for anxiety in autistic people

by  /  22 August 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we look at conversations about how parents’ attitudes toward autism have evolved and a therapy for anxiety that focuses on ‘interoception.’

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Pregnant woman holding two white pills in her hand.

Prenatal exposure to antipsychotic medication does not increase odds of autism, ADHD

by  /  20 August 2021

Children born to mothers who take antipsychotic drugs during pregnancy are not more likely to have autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or to be born preterm or underweight.

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Colorful illustration of a pizza / pie chart.

By the Numbers: Coronavirus infection odds, Medicaid waivers, correlating conditions

by  /  19 August 2021

In this edition of By the Numbers, we discuss the outsize burden of COVID-19 among some groups of autistic people, expansions in Medicaid waivers for autism and how an autistic person’s age at diagnosis may affect their risk for other conditions.

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Micrograph showing highlighted genes related to autism in the thalamus.

Brain’s sensory processor may prompt memory problems in autism

by  /  19 August 2021

Mice with autism- or schizophrenia-linked mutations only in the anterodorsal thalamus have problems with long-term and working memory.

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Illustration of brain showing overexcited and underexcited parts of the brain represented by jagged and loose squiggles.

Disruptions to brain’s ‘thermostat’ may underpin autism traits

by  /  18 August 2021

Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.

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Molecular overlap links tuberous sclerosis, fragile X

by  /  16 August 2021

Brain cells from the cerebellums of mice that model tuberous sclerosis show dampened levels of proteins controlled by FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome.

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Many mouths making conversation, with speech bubbles in red and blue.

Community Newsletter: COVID-19 and social isolation, camouflaging and first impressions, more on the controversial JADD study

by  /  15 August 2021

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we take a look at studies on how COVID-19 and social isolation have affected autistic people, how camouflaging and age at diagnosis can shape first impressions, and reactions to our article on the controversial “cost of autism” paper.

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Stack of scientific journals.

Contentious study prompts backlash from autism researchers

by  /  11 August 2021

Conflicts of interest and methodological issues sully a study published 18 July in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, autism researchers say.

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Closeup of tiny newborn hand gripping tip of adult thumb.

Large study strengthens link between autism, preterm birth

by  /  11 August 2021

Premature birth is tied to an increased chance of having autism, according to the largest study yet looking for a potential connection.

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