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Spectrum: Autism Research News

News Archive

February 2022
Many mouths making conversation, with speech bubbles in red and blue.

Community Newsletter: Do tweets help autism research papers take flight?

by  /  13 February 2022

Tweets this week feature research about the increases in downloads and citations papers get through social-media shares, as well as findings that tie three autism-linked genes to a new point of convergence.

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Conceptual illustration of female brain versus male brain.

Searching for the biology behind autism’s sex bias

by  /  11 February 2022

The fact that autism seems to affect more boys than girls is often attributed to diagnostic gaps, but the skew remains largely unexplained. Some scientists are turning to basic biology for answers.

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Illustration of hybrid objects: part light bulb, part lab vial, some in blue and some in red to signify null and replicated results

Null and Noteworthy: Autism and aging, anorexia overlaps, pregnancy effects

by  /  10 February 2022

In this edition of Null and Noteworthy, researchers replicate encouraging findings on autism and aging and shoot down a host of potential links between pregnancy complications and having a child with autism.

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Pregnant woman standing in front of open refrigerator at night.

Anorexia before or during pregnancy linked to having a child with autism

by  /  7 February 2022

The connection is likely mediated by environmental, not genetic, factors, according to a new study.

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Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Community Newsletter: Lessons from lockdowns, screen-time skepticism, protein transport in the brain

by  /  6 February 2022

Pick up threads about how remote learning can benefit autistic students, why a study about screen time deserves scrutiny and how a newly discovered form of cellular communication could yield clues about autism.

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Immune gene tied to social behavior in autism mouse model

by  /  3 February 2022

Activating the immune system blunts social behavior in mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene SHANK3, according to a new study. Blocking TRPV4, which encodes an ion channel involved in inflammatory responses, can reverse this effect.

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Three autism-linked genes converge on tweaks to cells’ timing

by  /  2 February 2022

Mutations in all three accelerate the maturation of inhibitory neurons, which could upset the brain’s balance of excitation and inhibition early in development.

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Enrichment lessens Angelman-like traits in male mice

by  /  2 February 2022

Model animals don’t develop the usual behavioral and motor problems when reared in an enclosure containing exercise wheels, toys and treats.

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January 2022
Illustration shows a road going into the distance, seen from the driver's point of view.

Spectrum Launch: Writing grants, celebrating milestones and interviewing for grad school

by  /  31 January 2022

A researcher and science officer give tips for getting started with grant writing; scientists on Twitter explain why they went tenure-track; and a neurobiologist discusses why the field’s next generation needs to learn to code.

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Micrograph showing distinct RNA species found in CA1 hippocampal neuronal cell bodies (yellow) and dendrites (red) undergoing compartmentalized RNA regulation.

Location prompts fragile X protein to flip its function

by  /  31 January 2022

The protein, FMRP, shapes cell signaling near synapses but switches to regulate genes in the cell body, according to new research.

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